Founded in 1986 under the umbrella of Exco Technologies, Castool Precision Turning and Honing started out as a small job shop that specialized in custom tooling. They prided themselves on their precision work, short lead times and dependable deliveries. As the business evolved, so did the name, changing to Castool Precision Tooling, then again to Castool Tooling Systems, as it is known today.
Castool is now recognized as a leading tooling and equipment supplier to light metal extruders and die casters around the globe. They are known for their unmatched expertise and ability to create customized solutions for their clients. With locations in Canada and Thailand, and recent expansions in Morocco and Mexico, Castool employs more than 170 employees.
Castool in Uxbridge, Ontario processes more than 4 million pounds of tool steel per year, all of which needs to be heat treated. They previously outsourced this work to a subcontractor; but with business growing, along with the size of tooling equipment, they decided to bring heat treating in-house.
Over the last few years, Castool has seen increased business in the automotive industry, specifically in electric vehicle production using light metal alloys. With the use of massive casting machines, known as Giga Presses, auto manufacturers can make car bodies with just a few casted parts. In some cases, a single piece can replace 70 or more different parts. Not only does this simplify the manufacturing process, but also reduces the weight of vehicles, which reduces fuel consumption.
A shot sleeve is a critical element in the aluminum die cast process. It contains the molten aluminum being pushed into the mold by the plunger tip. With the use of Giga Presses, the length of shot sleeves is increasing, necessitating the use of larger heat-treating furnaces with work zones in excess of 80 inches long.
Forging a Partnership
Castool approached Ipsen in 2017 to begin discussions about their equipment needs. Castool was not looking for just a supplier, but a partner to help them through the process of building a heat-treating division from the ground up. As a full-solution provider, Ipsen not only recommended the best furnaces for their needs, but also assisted with building specifications, layout planning, utility requirements and process development.
After extensive collaboration with Ipsen engineers and metallurgical experts, Castool placed an order for seven furnaces in 2021. The order consisted of three TurboTreater® vacuum furnaces and four temper furnaces, all manufactured at Ipsen’s Vacuum Technology Excellence Center in Cherry Valley, Illinois.
The Winning Outcome
Castool built a brand-new heat-treating factory, which was completed in the spring of 2023. Located in Newmarket, Ontario, the facility is approximately 6,000 sq. ft. and houses several brand new, state-of-the-art heat-treating furnaces.
Of particular importance is a redesigned Ipsen Global V TurboTreater® 12-bar vertical vacuum furnace built to process large H13 dies. The furnace has a load weight capacity of 20,000 pounds and a work zone size of 60 inches in diameter by 90 inches tall. It also features 400 HP nitrogen gas quenching, convection assisted heating, and an engineered heavy-duty bottom-head lifting mechanism.
By bringing heat treating in-house, Castool has greater control over part quality and lead time, allowing them to provide superior service to their expanding customer base. In partnering with Ipsen, they chose an organization with similar values to their own. Much like Ipsen, Castool focuses on high-quality products and services, values long-term relationships with customers, and is always innovating for the future.