With a history stretching back to the 1880s, Foster’s lager is available in more than 150 countries, making it the highest selling Australian beer brand in the world. When it required a new bar-facing frontage for one of its beer pumps, Foster’s called on IMI Cornelius – the world’s leading supplier of beverage dispensers and cooling equipment – to create a stylish die design in line with the brand’s laid back Australian image.
When it came to the creation of the die itself, IMI Cornelius looked to long-time supply partner BSC to assist in every stage of the diecasting process, from consultation through to finishing.
The main challenge facing BSC was the unconventional size and shape of the die. The design was far taller than standard frontages and featured a slight twist at the top, posing the issue of how to get the metal into the unusually large die without degrading the finish. The art of perfect casting is reliant on speed and dexterity; if the feeding were to take any longer than 20 milliseconds there was a risk that part of the casting could become porous, creating an ‘icicles in water’ effect on the final product.
The unusual shape and size of the casting also presented a problem with pressure in terms of how to hold the top slide in position – vital for creating the bottom of the casting where it fastens to the base. On most tools the die surface is flat, but in this instance the die surface was around 240mm below the general die face. This discrepancy, coupled with the sheer weight of the specified tool, would lead to considerable pressure on the top slide – around 5-6,000 PSI – that would force it backwards and out of position.
For most body castings BSC injects the metal along one side of the die, but the Foster’s pump called for a more innovative approach. For this unusual casting engineers devised a special method that involved feeding the metal around both the bezel area (where the Foster’s badge would be situated) and partway down the side form. This allowed the die to be cast in 10 milliseconds, guaranteeing zero defects.
To solve the pressure issue, BSC designed a specially weighted device to fit onto the top of the die, holding down the slide. Thus, when the die closed and the two angled die faces came together, the slide would not be forced backwards against the metal pressure.
In keeping with the rest of the project, the finishing aspect of the Foster’s job also required specialist attention. With the frontage requiring four separate shades of colour, each fading into one another, BSC employed their state-of-the-art robot technology to ensure absolute precision.
The final result was a casting with perfect structural integrity and a flawless painted and polished cosmetic appearance.
Since finishing the job in August 2011, 9,000 units have been sent out to Foster’s and the final product can be seen on bar tops across the UK.
“At Cornelius we referred to the Foster’s body casting as ‘project perfect,’ and BSC lived up to that name with the fantastic results they achieved. It was one of the most complicated castings that we’ve ever handled, so it’s a real testament to their expertise that everything was absolutely spot on. Foster’s was delighted.” Martin Bailey, IMI Cornelius