What is the "lifetime" of one Sampling Cup? Can a smart end-user extend this lifetime? Can SinterCast meet the future demand for the Sampling Cup production with the current production capacity or will new tooling investment be required?

Shareholder, name withheld

The SinterCast thermal analysis measurement is comprised of the Sampling Cup and the Thermocouple Pair. The Sampling Cup is used to hold the 200 gram sample of liquid iron while the Thermocouple Pair records the temperature of the iron at two different locations within the Cup. The Thermocouple Pair is inserted in a protective tube within the Sampling Cup and can be re-used approximately 200 times. The Sampling Cup itself is ‘welded’ into the iron sample during the measurement process and can only be used one time. It is not possible to re-use the Sampling Cup or otherwise extend its lifetime.

During series production, the foundry conducts one SinterCast thermal analysis measurement for each ladle (batch) of liquid iron. The ladle capacity varies in every foundry, but for automotive cylinder blocks and heads, is typically 1 to 2 tonnes of liquid iron. SinterCast’s total range of ladle capacity varies from 300 kg at Grainger & Worrall for prototype production to 13 tonnes at the VDP foundry for industrial power generation applications.

The SinterCast Sampling Cup is assembled from drawn and stamped steel sheet that is crimped and folded together like a 3-dimensional puzzle. When the development of the current Sampling Cup was completed during 1999, we made the strategic decision to invest in high-volume production tooling. The tooling provides for a production capacity of over 500,000 Sampling Cups per year and the lifetime can be extended by making re-conditioning and other standard refurbishment of the tooling. We do not anticipate any significant tooling investment in the near-term.