Aluminum Components Dominate AFS Best-of Class Metals
Aluminum component designs earned 9 of 14 "best-of-class" awards, including the "Casting of the Year," at the American Foundry Society's 105th annual Casting Congress held May 30 in Dallas.
Maco Corp. of Huntington, Ind., took the top honor in the annual contest for its oil filter/adapter cooler produced for the E-Tech diesel engine for Mack Trucks Inc.'s Class 8 trucks. Measuring 14" X 12.5" X 8.25", and weighing 8.85 lbs., the aluminum component serves as a conduit for engine oil from the block through filters and cooler and return. It was cast in 356 aluminum via the lost foam casting process.
The innovative design was conceived on the back of a tractor, of all places. "Our vice president of technology, Milt Gallmeyer, also farms 275 acres at night and on the weekends," said Maco president C. Bernard Huesing. "He conceived of integrating the oil filter functions with the adapter one night while working his fields. Mack liked the concept, and Maco did the final design and submitted it to Mack Trucks."
The design consolidated seven individual components into a one-piece casting and eliminated potential leak points and multiple joint difficulties inherent in previous designs. Not only did it save 48 lbs. of weight from each engine, it also provided Mack Trucks with a one-year savings of $6 million, based on normal engine production volume of 40,000 per annum.
"This unique, highly engineered casting is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when casting experts team up with diesel engine experts and think "outside of the box" to create unusual solutions resulting in major cost savings," Huesing said. "This casting is an excellent example of the design flexibility and creativity possible using the lost foam casting process," he added.
earning best-of-class recognition were the following:
Hayes Lemmerz International Inc., of Northville, Mich., for its crossmember for the Aztek and Buick Rendezvous sports utility vehicles. Traditionally manufactured as a stamped steel/welded assembly, this new component design, procured in A356 aluminum via the permanent mold casting process, improved total product functionality by providing mounts for various other suspension/brake-related components that were not available in the previous design. New casting design provided better tolerance controls, reduced weight, integrated features, improved ride and handling, and reduced NVH/noise
Irish Foundry & Manufacturing, of Seattle, for its heat sink for a medical/telecommunications X-ray transmittal system.
Made of 363 aluminum via the lost foam casting process, this component offered advantages over the fabricated design in cost, uniformity/consistency, dimensional stability, and airflow
Mercury Marine, of Fon du Lac, Wis., for its engine block for a 60-hp, two-stroke outboard marine motor. Made of 356 aluminum, this lost foam casting design allowed the consolidation of eight components into a single casting, and provided an integrated head, exhaust, and cooling system, eliminating associated machining and fasteners. In addition to providing a two-lbs. weight reduction, a cost savings of $25 per block was realized
Taylor-Pohlman, of Orchard Park, N.Y., for its cover for an infrared medical microscope. Converted from a fabricated assembly for an aluminum vacuum sand casting process, the design consolidated four parts into a single casting and increased the component's strength and dimensional stability, increasing the accuracy of the precision instrument.
Specialty Aluminum Inc., of Revere, Mass., for its yoke for infrared technology use in naval applications. Produced using the QuickCast process, this complex-contoured design offered low resonance and a 2.6-lbs. weight savings, while meeting all requirements with minimal secondary processing.
Nest Technologies, of Studio City, Calif., for its housing and midplate for electronics power-monitoring equipment. This component was cast in A359 aluminum using a precision sand/ceramic rapid casting process, eliminating the cost of tooling. Machining was also minimized through cast-in grooves for O-rings, holes, and pins.
Hitchiner Manufacturing Co., of O'Fallon, Mo., for its near-net-shape metal matrix composite components for high-speed precision manufacturing equipment and navigational mirrors. These countergravity investment castings are of a special silicon-carbide-reinforced aluminum matrix that provides weights comparable to aluminum with the same stiffness of iron at a lower coefficient of thermal expansion, contributing to total system performance improvement.