Aloys Heuvers: Inventor of the Circle Method
by Andre Bergmann-Kremer
The Heuvers Circle Method is one of the first published techniques for controlling solidification and evaluating the castability of a component. It is so easy to use that it is still frequently applied today despite all the advanced technical possibilities.
Aloys Heuvers was a German mechanical engineer born on December 15th 1888 in Dreierwalde, today a district of Hörstel. Throughout his life, Heuvers had a strong connection to religion: first, as a boy, he wanted to join the Jesuits, then, after graduating from high school, he began studying Catholic theology in Münster. After two semesters, however, he dropped out of these studies and transferred to Leibniz University in Hanover, where he completed his studies in mechanical engineering.
Heuvers had a steep career at Bochumer Verein - a mining group based in Bochum, where he worked for more than 40 years. He started as an assistant and by the end of his working life was head of the steel foundry operation. During his time at the Bochumer Verein, Heuvers made extremely important advances in casting mold technology, especially for bell casting, reaffirming his connection to religion. Among the bells cast under his direction are the centennial bell for Frankfurt's Paulskirche church and the Olympic bell for the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.
Aloys Heuvers' most famous achievement, known as the "Heuvers Circle Method", revolutionized the production of large castings worldwide and is still used today to control the solidification behavior of castings. The method spread quickly because it is very practical and easy to use. It consists in inscribing a series of circles of increasing diameter up to the feeder head. The larger the diameter of the circle, the longer it takes for this area to solidify.
At the end of his career, Heuvers was made an honorary member of the Association of German Foundrymen. He was also honored by Pope Pius XII for his services to the Roman Catholic Church. During his lifetime, Aloys Heuvers was able to realize his two passions: Foundry and religion. Thanks to his research, the foundry industry was able to develop rapidly and pave the way for new technologies such as Visiometa.