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innovations CASTING


T e company’s VRC/PRC process reportedly off ers advantages that include multiple cavity capability, multiple in-gates, tranquil fi ll, fl exibility for complex designs and high yield. T e Model S is built from the


ground up as an electric vehicle designed to off er the responsive- ness and agility of a sports car while providing the ride quality of a luxury performance sedan. Tesla’s suspen- sion design included large wheels and signifi cant spacing between the upper and lower control arms. As a result, the front knuckle was re- quired to be greater than 23.622 in. (600mm), taller than many full-size pickup knuckles. “T e spacing facilitates excel-


lent handling characteristics,” Borns explained, “but it requires a very stiff and strong knuckle to connect the arm ends and support the wheel.”


Vacuum/pressure riserless casting (VRC/ PRC) enabled a fl exible gating arrangement that allowed designers to put the material in the most structurally effi cient locations.


C asting par tnerships for over 140 years


to the lower ball joint, with an exten- sion into the steering arm, providing a fully hollow arrangement. “Solid knuckle designs, by


the nature of many casting process limitations, result in products that contain significant material [that is] unnecessary for the part’s structural requirements,” Borns said. “Most of the unnecessary material is in the gooseneck, which must be very stiff to meet vehicle handling requirements.” A second area of structural inef-


fi ciency in solid castings of this type of part, according to Born, is the “hoop,” which extends around the lower control arm ball joints. It is designed to be very strong as well as stiff . “Sand core technology, and a unique and fl exible gating arrange- ment possible with VRC/PRC, allowed the designers of the Model S knuckle to put the material in the most structurally effi cient locations, resulting in a design with structural effi ciency near 100%,” Borns said.


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Contact Tom Kayser: 740-354-3183 Tkayser@oscoind.com www.oscoind.com


Jan/Feb 2013 | METAL CASTING DESIGN & PURCHASING | 49


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