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Lethbridge Iron Works, Eck Industries Win Casting of the Year Awards

 

The metalcasting industry recognized nine cast components as top designs for the 2011 American Foundry Society/Metal Casting Design & Purchasing Casting Competition. The components are used in a variety of industries, including automotive, construction, agriculture and military.
Lethbridge Iron Works Co. Ltd., Lethbridge, Canada, and Eck Industries, Manitowoc, Wis., earned top honors in the annual competition.

Lethbridge’s Front Cab Support Bracket is designed to support the cab of a Daimler Western Star model truck. The green sand casting has been redesigned several times over the years to meet changing packaging requirements. For the latest redesign, Daimler worked closely with Lethbridge to consolidate an assembly of three castings, seven welded assemblies and 16 low-level parts into two castings, zero welded assemblies and four low-level parts.
Lethbridge’s ductile iron component weighs 35.3 lbs. and measures 18 x 16 x 9 in. Converting the front cab support bracket from a weldment delivered the customer a 22% weight savings and 35% cost savings per vehicle.

Eck’s Hybrid H40/50 EP System Stator Housing holds the two-mode parallel stator assembly used in Allison Transmission’s H40/50 EP hybrid system. The casting is a complex aluminum design that offers tight concentricity tolerances across multiple large core assemblies, multiple cast-in features, zero-porosity and no-leak customer requirements.
The aluminum part weighs 116 lbs., measures 18 x 18 x 21 in. and was produced using the nobake process with low pressure mold filling. It was previously a fabrication.
AFS and Metal Casting Design & Purchasing also awarded four Best-in-Class honors and three Honorable Mentions.

2011 Best In Class
Lower Connector, by Piad Precision Casting, Greensburg, Pa. The metalcaster’s C011 alloy was selected because it is a pure electrolytic copper with a minimum electrical conductivity of 98%. The as-cast weight of the part was 25% greater than any part the metalcaster produces, and it includes 15 heat-dissipating fins, four cast-in elongated slots for air flow, a cast hole machined to accept mating parts, three cast mounting surfaces and a large cast diameter on one end, which is machined to accept a mating connector.

Auxiliary Drive Casting, by ThyssenKrupp Waupaca, Waupaca, Wis. The part offered the customer a cost reduction, simplified assembly and reduced inventory costs. It was integral to the success of the customer’s engine build, as it accommodated limited space and weight restrictions. To make the component castable, design changes were required to the 170-lb. John Deere tractor engine auxiliary drive casting due to challenging geometry. The casting avoided the need for multiple cast, fabricated and/or welded parts.

Exhaust Manifold, by Stahl Specialty Co., Kingsville, Mo. The component was converted from a two-piece design, eliminating a gasket and potential leak and saved 38 lbs. per engine. The new design reduced emissions and increased power output by 6%. The design required the component’s water jacket and exhaust cores be nested on each other without core prints to locate them on the mold. The core positions relative to each other presented a major challenge for ensuring minimum wall and water jacket thicknesses.

Timing Gear Cover, by Grede II LLC, Columbiana, Ala. The casting reduced costs by eliminating bolt-on components and reduced weight by eliminating unnecessary mass and reducting draft. The casting incorporates a water pump component, EGR passage and coolant return passage (all with no cores required), idler pulley mounting pedestal and alternator mounting bracket (eliminating additional components), washer face and various cast passages and openings.

2011 Honorable Mention
Rifle Scope Body Casting, by Ti Squared Technologies, Sweet Home, Ore. The near-net-shape titanium casting reduced manufacturing costs by 20% by eliminating machining. By integrally casting the light backscatter scoring lines, circuit box, mounting base, battery pack and customer logo, the manufacturer made the use of the more expensive material possible. The casting is stronger than its aluminum counterpart and features intricate coring to accommodate the internal wiring from the battery pack to the electronic corebox, eliminating line bore drilling.

PV524 Fire Pot, by Tonkawa Foundry Inc., Tonkawa, Okla. The part, which was the customer’s first conversion to casting from a fabrication, saved $50,000 per year and considerable fabrication time. The lead time reduction was due to the elimination of the cutting, drilling, rolling and welding that went into the five pieces required for the assembly of the fabrication.

Headlight Subassembly and LED Mounts, by ODC Manufacturing Ltd., Barrie, Canada. The casting supplier recommended the customer consider a plastic design for the part, but the automotive company needed the mounts to act as a heat sink. The customer required that all critical features were cast into the mounting frame and that an accurate LED bulb angle was achieved for all seven bulbs. Each of the mounting surfaces for the bulbs were cast parallel, with tight tolerances on the hole positions for the lenses. No welding or assembly was required on the part.

This year’s Casting Competition was sponsored by Magma Foundry Technologies, Schaumburg, Ill. Magma will provide Lethbridge Iron Works and Eck Industries with a one-year license of Magmasoft software, including training and implementation assistance.
For more information on the 2011 AFS/Metal Casting Design & Purchasing Casting Competition, contact Dave Krugman, AFS, at dkrugman@afsinc.org or 847/824-0181 x286.
Headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois, AFS is a not-for-profit technical and management society that has existed since 1896 to provide and promote knowledge and services that strengthen the metalcasting industry for the ultimate benefit of its customers and society.

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