Differences Between Shuttle and Index Casting Machines

There are two types of castings machines, index and shuttle.

Shuttle machines are very flexible because: they can be used to produce a variety of part sizes. This feature, coupled with the ability to make quick tool changes, allows our customers to utilize them for short or medium-sized runs where they can change over from die to die in less than 10 minutes.

The Shuttle Machine Technology:

  • A rotor core is loaded onto the lower mold which is then shuttled under the clamping cylinder.
  • Once the guard is in place, the machine will activate by injecting the molten metal
    into the die cavity.
  • After the part is solidified, the clamp and the shot cylinder will both retract and detach the left-over aluminum, (or biscuit) from the actual part itself while the shuttle table goes back to its original position, (which is the forward position of the machine) where the part can be removed.
  • After proper lubrication, spray or mold release of the tooling, piston and shot sleeve, the cycle repeats itself and molten metal is transferred into the machine.

An Index machine is set up for multi-cavity, long production runs of a similar family of production parts. The machine utilizes two rotating tables.

Index Machine Technology

The first table is a “mold” table and has four stations: 

  • Loading station
  • Casting station
  • Unloading station
  • Spray station

These stations rotate in 90 degree segments while various functions are being performed.

The advantage of an index machine is that functions can be performed at the different stations during the dwell/solidification (lockup) time of the part. For example: when the machine is locked up, the second piston and sleeve on the shot table has the ability to remove the biscuit, lubricate the piston and introduce molten metal into the shot sleeve. Once the dwell time is complete, the shot table will rotate underneath the clamp position bringing new molten metal to the casting position. At the same time, the piston sleeve that was previously cast will be bringing the biscuit to the rear of the machine.