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Ductile Iron and Ductile Iron Casting

 by General Kinematics,

What is Ductile Iron?

Ductile iron, also known as ductile cast iron, is a durable, fatigue-resistant metal due to its spherical graphite structure. First patented in 1948, ductile iron is today’s version of cast iron. Like cast iron, modern ductile iron contains small pieces of graphite which slightly change the properties of the iron. 

What’s the difference between Ductile Iron and Cast Iron? 

The difference between traditional cast iron and modern-day ductile iron is the shape of the graphite. While cast iron has small flakes of graphite, ductile iron contains spherical graphite nodules. Because of the spherical shape of the graphite, ductile iron is often called spheroidal iron or nodular cast iron. The spherical shape is key in making ductile iron extremely tough, malleable (it can be twisted and otherwise manipulated without cracking), and durable, meaning it’s a great metal to use for machine parts. 

General Kinematics offers expertly engineered foundry systems for both ductile iron and cast iron to improve efficiency and casting quality. Our experts have decades of experience providing unique solutions determined by your application. GK’s ductile foundry systems often feature DUCTA-SERIES™ Rotary Drums. These rotary drums are ideal in ductile foundries where gates, runners, and sprue need to be removed from castings prior to blast. 

How is Ductile Iron Made?

Rather than being cast from iron or steel scrap, ductile iron is made primarily from the crude iron that’s produced by smelting ore in a blast furnace, commonly called ‘pig iron.’ Pig iron is about 90% iron with high carbon content, and its chemical properties are very stable. Using a blast furnace, the pig iron is melted down and has carbon forced into the material beyond its normal capacity. Silicon, sulfur, and manganese help the excess carbon form the spherical graphite nodules as the metal cools in its cast. This process creates a durable, wear-resistant metal. General Kinematics offers vibratory systems for ductile iron casting that optimize system performance and improve casting quality.   

One of the major advantages of this production process is how easy ductile iron is to cast, and how cheap it is compared to other similar metals, such as steel. 

What is Ductile Iron Used For?

Because of its strength and malleability, ductile iron is used widely in many different industries. It’s most commonly used by plumbing manufacturers in pipes and pipe fittings. It’s also popular in the automotive industry as it’s used in engine connecting rods, cylinders, crankshafts, truck axles, and gears, as well as other parts. Ductile iron is also often found in piano harps, machine frames, and cable drums. 

No matter the industry, if you’re looking for a strong, stable material that can withstand tough conditions over a long period of time, ductile iron is a great choice. 

General Kinematics Solutions 

General Kinematics offers a wide range of industrial equipment to aid in ductile iron production and other manufacturing processes. GK offers vibratory and rotary foundry machinery, feeders, conveyors, and more equipment to improve any line of production. 

GK even offers a Ductile Iron Stabilizer/Rocker Leg designed to withstand the harshest environments. This Stabilizer/Rocker Leg works on GK or other brands of vibratory equipment. It provides the optimal leg design with the strongest material for minimal wear and tear. 

General Kinematics offers additional equipment for various industries to improve and enhance productivity. Reach out to General Kinematics for more information about how GK can help improve your system or learn more about our products


General Kinematics Corporation, incorporated in 1960, was established to market, design, and custom fabricate innovative vibratory equipment for the foundry, recycling, mining, and processing industries. Today the company continues as one of the world’s largest suppliers of vibratory processing equipment and has evolved into an industry-leading EPC firm. Headquartered in Crystal Lake, IL, General Kinematics has seven global locations providing engineering and support to a world-wide customer base. GK is a third generation, family-owned company and is ISO 9001 certified.