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Helping Customers Switch to Casting


Metalcasters can help their customers identify when a new manufacturing


process is in order and whether the casting process should be considered. SHANNON WETZEL, MANAGING EDITOR


W


hen a part is designed to be put to market quickly, often the quickest or most


familiar manufacturing method is cho- sen, like fabrication. But eventually, time and volumes might highlight deficiencies in the original manufacturing method of choice. Tis is a great opportunity for metalcasters, as companies start con- sidering moving to a better optimized manufacturing process. Te casting process has many


advantages, but it might require more tooling and engineering time up front than a weldment or machined com- ponent. Making those investments in tooling and engineering can pay dividends not just in reduced cost, but also improved performance, reduced weight, and even shorter lead-times. One of the biggest hurdles for some


designers is the unfamiliarity with met- alcasting. As a metalcaster looking to convince a prospect to swtich to casting, where do you start? Be a resource. Metalcasting facilities


are well-versed in redesigning parts for casting. Share your examples, highlight the cost savings and other advantages and give them simple tips, like the ones in this article, to help pinpoint which parts in their inventory would be good candidates for casting conversion.


SIGNS A PART NEEDS A NEW METHOD:


1


Insufficient dimensional stability.


A casting’s dimensional toler-


ances are generally superior to welded and fabricated assemblies. A rotational and lift control post weldment for the


oil market was experiencing distortion and stresses during fabrication that led to problems in assembly and in service. Te cast version produced by Midwest Metal Products (Winona, Minnesota) elimi- nated the distortion and stress problems while also reducing cost by 38%. In cycle testing, the cast part demonstrated more than five times a longer life than the welded part.


2


Costly to manufacture and keep track of inventory.


Pier Foundry (St. Paul, Min-


nesota), uses onsite visits to help cus- tomers identify candidates for castings. In one instance, the metalcaster and customer pinpointed a six-piece uni- versal disc leveler pivot arm as a prom- ising candidate. Using finite element analysis and casting process modeling, the engineers revised the part’s design to be optimized for casting. Convert- ing the weldment to a casting freed up 71 minutes per unit of shop capacity and allowed the customer to focus its efforts on other products in their lineup. It greatly reduced the need for surge capacity in the spring. Te part also saw a cost reduction of 60%.


3


Converting this rotational and lift control post from a weldment (foreground) to a casting reduced cost and provided a five-times longer part life.


32 | MODERN CASTING June 2017


Production volumes have grown, or a family of parts has grown so the number of parts and subcomponents has become unwieldy.


Monarch Industries (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) worked with a customer to redesign the mounting structure for tillage equipment. Each weldment contained an average of eight


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