Understanding the Challenges and Opportunities that Digital Transformation Brings into the Investment Casting Industry

by Carlos Olabe EICF Executive Director I

nvestment Casting is essentially a

manufacturing technology

of complex and concatenated processes. Industry 4.0 is aiming to create the 4th industrial revolution and digitally transform manufacturing in both discrete and process industries. According to different sources, Industry 4.0 has been touted as being able to provide solutions to the different challenges that manufacturing companies are facing nowadays from the complete supply and value chain, variability in design and manufacturing and variability in demand. The digital transformation required to enable Industry 4.0 – automation, integration, and optimization of processes and manufacturing lines - especially in an existing facility, shall require a diagnosis of which processes are critical to the company objectives and a thorough planning of implementing

technologies 14 ❘ November 2019 ® together

with an economic analysis focused on the ROI. The present article is trying to review the different elements to be considered when pursuing an improvement of competitiveness of an Investment Casting company based on the approach of digital transformation and Industry 4.0.

When measuring the competitive- ness position of a company, normally certain KPIs indicators are being used on a benchmarking analysis and it is well known how variability impact in the outcome of those KPIs. Let us just take as an example, the scrap rate for precision investment casting and how critical is this KPI to the competitive position of the company. Having this in mind any technology that contributes to reduce and control this variability will contribute to improve the compet- itiveness position of the company and this is precisely the object for digital

transformation to be applied and un- derstood. Providing visibility to the above, requires a structured approach, so this article deploys the digital transformation application into the investment casting within 8 possible axes, all of them complementary.

Digital Twin

It is a virtual replica of a product, process or service which simulates the behavior of its physical counterpart. This is an area where certain experience and tradition exist within the Investment Casting industry in particular in the application of Process Modeling techniques such as the behavior of mold filling, gating system and internal defects. Process Modeling is being implemented within the industry for many years and good experience and materials database has been acquired to provide accurate predictive results.

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