Casting Services together with MMAA Global is currently involved in a number of projects. These range from energy savings to die and component design. Casting Services is also carrying out foundry layout and rationalizations. Included in the foundry layout and rationalization is product to (manufacturing) process fit. We have seen cost downs from weight savings in components of 10% to 25% due to improved die designs able to cast thinner walled parts and changes to component design through the use of finite element stress analysis (FEA). We have seen cost downs from yield improvements from 30% to 60% due to reduced energy, reduced cycle times and reduced metal losses. The improved runner designs and thermal improvements also increased the quality. Further to this in the foundry layout and rationalization projects we have noted reduction in labour usage of 30% to 50%. Due to die design improvements reduction in cycle times of 10% to 15% have been achieved through active cooling and optimized runners as well as other best practice methods. From the product to process fit work we have seen reductions in weight of castings of up to 30% and cost downs of 10% to 35%. Casting Services has also been carrying out research in metal matrix composites (MMC) for an international company. The energy savings projects are devoted to the melting and holding furnaces which normally use more than 60% of the total energy of the plant. The furnaces which Casting Services have been involved with are Arc furnaces, Gas fired reverbatory and stack, crucible furnaces, induction furnaces and resistance furnaces. In a number of instances energy usage reductions of 10% to 25% have been obtained with extremely low capital input costs.
Casting Services has carried out numerous practical hands on training courses in foundries. These have been carried out locally and internationally in numerous foundries. This year Casting Services has trained over 150 foundry personnel.
Casting Services also designs and manufactures Shot monitoring units for high pressure die casting [HPDC] machines. The units have been installed in numerous foundries and on numerous machines, ranging from new machines to machines which are more than forty years old. The benefits obtained by certain foundries from using the units have been numerous and range from reduced downtime, reduced soldering, increased productivity and reduced reject rate. The major benefit of the unit is that it allows the HPDC machine to be set in the centre of the die’s and machine’s combined process window. This allows for increased production and improved quality. The unit also is able to initiate the second stage injection speed at the correct unique position for different dies run on the machine, this is extremely useful for older vintage HPDC machines since a limit switch is often used to perform this function and needs to be mechanically moved where as when using the Shot monitoring unit the position is saved electronically for each die and can be recalled when that die is run again and the unit initiates the second stage speed change over thus eliminating the need for a limit switch. This allows for increased and improved repeatability and easier process setting which leads to improved productivity and quality.
The latest and most up to date tools were used these included thermal and fluid flow simulations, finite element stress analysis, best practices and methods and up to date research, this allowed for first time success of the implemented projects and salable castings produced normally by the third die casting.