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was approached by a past customer about producing a plug component for an oil drilling application, he knew his facility’s investment casting opera- tion would be the perfect match. An anchor that is placed in an oil well cas- ing, the component needed to be able to expand as much as 250%, meaning each of its 36 pieces must fi t precisely with each other. Because of the required precision


and complexity of design, investment casting proved to be the only process that could produce such a compo- nent, at least in a way that wouldn’t be entirely cost-prohibitive. Invest- ment casting allowed the parts to be produced so minimal machining was necessary for the three dozen castings. Besides cutting teeth and a few threaded holes, the castings were assembled as-is. “T e primary concern is the design

“ The completed component, which contains 36 castings, can expand in diameter by 250%.

and whether you can create it as intended. If the diff erent pieces can be properly cast, there are internal stops on the ar ms, for instance, that will allow it to function correctly,” Swedzinski said. Unlike most scenarios, where a customer brings a design to the casting supplier, this case was developed from scratch, where a previous casting facility

The value-added aspect of this part is created by casting the features to function in the as-cast condition.” —MARLO SWEDZINSKI

and the customer specifi cally developed the designed component for eventual investment casting. Investing time in the initial design meant the manufacturing process per- fectly suited the intended function. T e bushings have a number of undercuts and back locks that would be diffi cult to produce in another casting process. Additionally, the injector arms were simplifi ed with cast-in pins, as opposed to separately manufactured pins that would then have to be pressed into drilled holes. “T e value-added aspect of this

part is created by casting the features to function in the as-cast condition,” Swedzinski said. Carley Foundry produces between 1,000-10,000 of these parts (each of which require 36 castings) per year. In spite of the number of moving parts and the required precision, the custom- er reports zero failures in the fi eld. “You couldn’t make this from sand

The anchor is part of a plug application that is placed in a casing of an oil well. 48 | METAL CASTING DESIGN & PURCHASING | May/Jun 2015

castings or from barstock parts and machine these features in,” Swedzin- ski said. “You can’t get the right angle with a machining tool to put them in, short of going with an EDM [electrical discharge machining] process, which would be unbelievably expensive. T at’s the thing—the customer says you can’t make this with another process.” ■



Oil Drilling Component Design Maximizes Benefi ts of Casting

hen Marlo Swedzinski, sales engineer at Carley Foundry, Blaine, Minn.,

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