Designing and fabricating parts can be a costly endeavor, especially if machining and welding are required. With our investment casting process and design for manufacturing (DFM) engineering approach, Waltek can often save manufacturers time and money while improving part integrity.
Design for Manufacturing: Uncover Design Intent
The first factor our casting engineers consider is the original engineer’s design intent. To ensure a part does not fail in the field, engineers often add tighter tolerances and features that complicate the design and over-constrain the prints. This is especially true of legacy parts that were designed 20 or 30 years ago.
Waltek’s first step is to work with the customer to understand the part’s end application and identify functional features. Functional features and non-function features can then be properly dimensioned. Then, we simplify the design to bring the part back to functionality. It is possible for our engineers to save up to a pound of weight off a part through this process, with no loss of function, durability, or critical dimensions.
Review Alloy Options
Once we understand the design intent, we are able to make recommendations about the type of metal or alloy grade that is appropriate for the part. For example, we may recommend taking a part fabricated from tool steel and investment casting it in carbon steel. This creates a more cost effective part that is easier to finish machine, saving time and money. We also consider any heat treatments or secondary coatings or treatments the part’s end application requires.
Test the Redesigned Part in Simulation
Before we run parts, we test them in our simulation software. While this technology was not available to engineers 20 to 30 years ago, today, it makes it easier for us to maximize the efficiency of a part’s design and materials. Once our testing in the simulation is completed successfully, we run a sample of the part to test in the field.
Producing the Parts
Investment casting is a cost-saving process for volumes of approximately 1,500 to 20,000 parts per year depending on the part size and complexity. Die casting requires more output to be profitable, while machining is a good option for low volume parts. Investment castings save on total part costs by producing a near net shape, as a single piece with minimal machining and welding required.
If you’re wondering if investment casting could save you time and money in your parts manufacturing process, contact the Waltek team today. We will work with you to determine if our expertise and efficient process can help you save costs.