The 3 Main Cast Stone Manufacturing Processes You Have To Choose From
The production of cast stone is a difficult process and manufacturers have to be careful to ensure that the finished product is both aesthetically pleasing and structurally robust. If you're interested in sourcing cast stone, you have a number of options to choose from:
The most common and most basic manufacturing method is semi-dry casting. With this method, aggregate is compacted with a low water content and the mixture is shaped into moulds. The low water content means that the finished product has a rather grainy texture, which can give a very pleasing surface on the components.
One of the main advantages of semi-dry casting is the vast number of components that can be constructed in a short period of time. Due to the low water content used in the mixture, the compaction process is relatively pain-free and the mould can be refilled a number of times in one day. This makes semi-dry casting a great method for constructing a number of similar parts, such as headstones or pillars.
Once the stone has been allowed to cure, a number of different finishes can be applied in order to improve the aesthetics of the element, such as etching into the material or shot blasting to clean the surface.
Wet-cast manufacturing is a slower process that involves a much higher moisture content than semi-dry casting. This higher moisture content means that a longer period of time is required in order to allow the mixture to achieve a suitable consistency to be moulded into a component or structure. This longer period of curing can be particularly beneficial, though, as it allows the decorative aggregate to blend into the entire unit as opposed to only being on the outer surface.
Due to the high water content in wet-cast mixtures, the material naturally flows much more freely than semi-dry mixtures. As such, manufacturers are able to complete much larger structural elements than the semi-dry process and can also install components that allow the part to be lifted into place.
When creating cast stone products, it is possible to incorporate structural reinforcement into the component. Stone is naturally very good in compression, but the granular texture of the material means that it does not respond well in tension. This is mitigated by incorporating fibre reinforcement into the mixture before casting into a mould. The mixture is left to cast around the fibres, creating a robust material that is able to take tensile loads with ease.