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Lead-free engine bearings: a challenge for foundries?

Since January 2022, EU engine makers have been required to use lead-free bearings in larger diesel engines, extending a regulation that was already in place for light vehicles. In this blog, we discuss the challenge this poses for casters of engine components and how the latest generation of SEMCO IC coatings can help.  

Key takeaways

  • Ensure casting residues do not damage new lead-free bearings
  • Minimise post-casting residue in inaccessible parts
  • Reduce rework and cleaning costs
  • Improve engine performance and reliability, and extend service intervals
  • Lower CO2 emissions during casting

Lead-free bearings and the demand for ultra-clean castings


Casting residues: what are they and where do they come from?

Castings for engines and related systems include complex internal geometries, which are inaccessible to post-casting cleaning operations. These areas are therefore most likely retain particles left over from the casting process.

But where do these residues comes from?

As part of the casting process, foundries apply a coating to the sand cores that create a casting’s inner geometries. These coatings help to protect the core from the molten metal, and facilitate knock-out; they may however leave a ceramic residue on the surface of the casting. This ceramic residue is generally harder than the bearings used by engine makers and, without lead’s protective properties, may damage the bearing and impede engine performance.


SEMCO IC offers a solution 

To solve the problem of casting residues and lead-free bearings, a coating formulation must do two things: firstly, ensure the minimum possible residual particles are left in the casting; and secondly, ensure that any particles that do remain will not damage the engine.

Launched in 2019, SEMCO IC coatings from Foseco have proven to significantly improve the inner cleanliness of the casting: in fact, one customer has gone as far as giving SEMCO IC the ‘new world record in terms of the super-low quantity of particles found after casting’. Ultimately, this improves engine performance and extends service intervals, as fewer particles accumulate in the oil and coolant system.  

Meanwhile, the latest generation of SEMCO IC specifically addresses the challenge posed by the switch to lead-free bearings. It is formulated so that any ceramic residue which does remain in the casting is softer than the bearing. This eliminates the risk of damage to the bearing by the residue.



Free white paper

For more information check out our white paper.