Manufacturing technologies have advanced geometrically over the past twenty years. And rapid prototyping techniques have grown even faster. In all most every process that is used to make components, a complimentary process has been developed to make prototypes and short production runs.
Aluminum die casting has been the process of choice for the majority of high volume applications for decades. Volumes need to exceed 50,000 pieces per year. So what if you have a new product that you want to launch with 5,000 units and it involves several aluminum castings per product?
Is there a way to produce these components on a limited tooling budget?
Fortunately there are numerous processes for producing prototype and low volume precision castings.
Several of the processes are:
1) Plaster Mold Casting
2) Graphite Mold Casting
3) V-Process Casting
What are the advantages of these processes? Precision castings that simulate the die casting method can be produced for a fraction of the upfront(tooling) costs required for die casting. Plus these methods have high volume production capabilities. All of the processes are capable of producing 100 units and then with the same tooling, can be ramped up to higher volume of 2,000 to 5,000 piece production runs.
These methods are also fast. Castings can be produced in 1-2 weeks if necessary.
These precision casting methods can produce components with .100 - .125 ” wall thicknesses, with a surface finish of 125 rms. They then can be machined to your required dimensions and tolerancing.