After deciding on the investment casting process for your project, your next business objective is to maximize your return on investment by engineering your component to take advantage of the process. In other words, to lower manufacturing costs, engineers should approach each project with the intent of designing their component for optimal manufacturability.
You’re in luck! Design for manufacturability (DFM) is a Signicast core methodology. DFM ensures that investment cast parts perform to specification while reducing cycle times and the need for secondary operations. These operations are both costly and time consuming, and the most convenient time to minimize them is during the design stage.
DFM is more than just a concept—it’s a way to remove cost and eliminate inefficiencies before your project moves towards production. In this blog, we’ll walk you through three ways to design your investment cast component for additional cost savings.
With the investment casting process, gating is an essential feature that engineers must factor into their design. When designing your component to lower cost, you should take the gate location into consideration.
The gate location must be seamlessly integrated into the design so that it doesn’t disrupt part performance. To minimize porosity and reduce cost, it’s best to consider where you will gate the part early on in the design process. The gate location should be incorporated on geometry adjacent to the thickest part of the casting to minimize porosity, ideally on a surface that doesn’t have stringent tolerance requirements for functionality. Isolated heavy sections should be avoided if possible, as these sections may require additional gating which negatively impacts cost.
Interested in learning more about how gating and porosity play a role in overall part performance? Download our webinar, Minimizing Porosity, Maximizing Performance here.
Incorporating design and cosmetic features
Using other manufacturing processes, complicated design features like lettering, date codes, internal threads, splines, and other unusual shapes require costly secondary operations. Investment casting, on the other hand, can incorporate these features directly into the casting, no matter how complex. While this may slightly increase the cost of tooling, you will not have to pay for additional secondary operations for each part, ensuring a considerable drop in piece part price. Additionally, since our wax is non-abrasive, the tooling will not wear down over time. Incorporating these complicated designs and cosmetic features into your investment cast geometry will eliminate secondary operation costs down the line.
Take advantage of value engineering for savings and performance
The most important part of designing your component to lower overall cost is getting your supplier involved early in the process to identify and knock out any potentially costly features in your part design—whether they might be detrimental to your bottom line or part performance.
For example, we often have customers that come to us with a project for several different parts that will be assembled in the final product. With Signicast’s value engineering, we are able to consolidate these parts in one single casting without any secondary assembly. In doing so, our engineers help you to optimize the component to take advantage of the abilities of investment casting, while also securing a decrease in piece part price with the elimination of secondary assembly operations.
When optimizing your part for performance to avoid costly redesigns, experience is the best teacher. At Signicast, our engineers have been around the block a time or two and know how to engineer features that ensure dimensional stability, and which features put castings at risk of failing. For example, with early involvement of our design team, we are able to incorporate features like ribs and cores to provide strength and optimal solidification without sacrificing performance.
Maximize ROI with investment casting
Are you beginning to see a pattern? When designing your investment cast component, the key to maximizing your ROI is to take advantage of process capabilities like part consolidation, low piece part prices, and complex design features, and to involve the experts as early in the design stage as possible. With these tools, you’re ready to design for optimal manufacturability.