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Converting a steel fabricated structural frame to aluminum diecasting helped achieve weight savings goals for a vehicle.


This investment cast housing replaced a two-piece hogout and incorpo- rated additional features that improved the part’s function and value.


start thinking of castings [upon fi rst product concept] and maybe design it that way from the beginning.”


3


Multiple features can be incor- porated for increased opportu- nity for cost reduction.


Carley Foundry (Blaine, Min-


nesota) worked with an aerospace customer to create an investment cast stator housing that was originally produced as a two-piece hogout with a pressed-in insert. T e end design includes extensive external mounting features that act as attachment and support points for all the components of an electronic system and dual motor controller. T e casting includes aerody- namic stator vanes, a motor case with ventilation holes, and a cast-in steel bearing liner. T e part also includes an integrated fan impeller containment ring and mounting brackets to support installation into the aircraft.


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Weight reduction would be an advantage.


Magna Cosma International


(Troy, Michigan) worked with Ford Motor Co. to design and build proto- type vehicles with a 23.5% reduction in weight compared to a 2002 baseline target. As a result, seven aluminum structural body castings were designed to replace steel assemblies. T e casting


process allowed for reduced mass and reduced part count. Ultimately, the castings provided a 25% weight sav- ings to the vehicle.


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The potential benefits can make up for the initial casting design and tooling costs.


“T e volume has to be enough


annually to justify the tooling,” Hil- debrand said. “Higher volumes help. Cost is an issue clearly, but we talk quite a bit about the soft advantages too. Casting can make it look better with curves and angles. We can add


logos and part numbers. Or, where does the customer get skilled welders? With a casting, you can deploy those welders elsewhere in the shop.”


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Can another material be considered?


Often steel is chosen in fabri-


cation because of its weldability. But if it is cast, that property is not necessary. T e material properties needed by the application might be met by another alloy choice, such as ductile iron (for better castability) or aluminum (for lighter weight).


This permanent mold-cast piece replaced a bent tube/weldment design for a dental chair arm. Casting the piece helped meet customer demand for a high-end product.


June 2017 MODERN CASTING | 35


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