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innovations CASTING


Mold Innovation Cuts Cost, Production Time for Automotive Customer


A


supplier to the automo- tive market, Waupaca Foundry Inc., Waupaca, Wis., requires innova- tion to stay competitive.


It relied on this innovation for a recent casting for a hybrid car engine bedplate. Its automotive customer had stringent cost and lead time requirements, along with quality standards. To produce the 23-lb., 14.715 x 2.402-in. casting, Wau- paca developed a coremaking method to produce two parts within the space typically used for one part. “T e innovation that Waupaca


has done and continues to do is what drives this and other products,” said James Newsome, Waupaca Foundry director of marketing. “[It’s not just tied to] this particular part, but more to Waupaca’s culture.” Waupaca Foundry uses a version of


the coremaking method on a variety of parts, but the bedplate casting off ered unique challenges, according to Plant 2/3 plant manager, Jeff Walters. “T is core package really allowed us


to put two parts within a smaller space because of the design of the splitter core,” he said. T e total number of castings in one


green sand vertical molding chamber increased from two to four. Previously, one casting was produced using six cores. T e new design requires eight total cores for two castings. T is allowed Waupaca Foundry to reduce its internal processing time for the casting. To meet tight tolerances and


customer demand, significant pro- cess changes were made to the core production cycle, resulting in a cast- ing with fewer core components and increased quality. “T e development process was three


to four months,” Walters said. “We met here, and our customer’s customer came in with them to meet with their engineers and ours.” T e eight components of the core


assembly previously were assembled manually, requiring time and man- power to handle, de-fi n and assemble


Sept/Oct 2012 | METAL CASTING DESIGN & PURCHASING | 49


Waupaca Foundry produces four of these 23-lb. gray iron castings in a single vertical molding chamber.


each component. To streamline the process, the production team installed a conveyor belt between two robotic cells, which now produce the core package. “We are removing the process of human hands touching the core and concentrating on automating han- dling,” Walters said. “T e cores are less exposed to process damage.” Prior to using a conveyor belt, cores


were stacked on a rack, which increased the likelihood of dings and damage. T e conveyor, in eff ect, protected the surface of the core assembly. A vacuum


plate used to extract core assemblies proved more consistent than human workers and ensured the surface of the core would not be damaged. Using robotics to de-fi n the core was more precise and contributed to a higher quality core and casting. “Because we have the ability to inte-


grate this part into the cell in-house, we were able to accomplish getting this to an economical level for the customer and


meeting their timeline,” Walters said.  Visit www.waupacafoundry.com for more information.


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