With mounting pressures to decrease casting production time while keeping costs low, casting engineers can find prototypes to be an ideal solution. Prototyping can be effective for one-off parts, for new parts that require design refinement, or in situations where you need a few pre-production parts quickly as you ramp up for full production.
Engineers should consider prototypes in the following scenarios:
You need to produce high-quality parts quickly. Prototypes can often be created in as little as two weeks from CAD to casting. This can represent an overall reduction of time-to-market by up to 90 percent.
You want to decrease up-front capital investment. Our customers have reduced their initial capital investment by up to 30 percent through prototyping. Because engineers are able to manipulate designs prior to full production, they can use a prototype to identify and correct unexpected design flaws prior to production. Design changes late in the development cycle can be very costly and can hinder production startup.
You want to optimize your casting performance. Prototyping allows engineers to test and refine their casting design not only for performance flaws, but for customer satisfaction. Creating a prototype gives engineers the opportunity to provide customers a full-scale, working casting – potentially in several different designs – so customers can collaborate hands-on with engineers to determine the ultimate desired casting performance.
You have design needs or tolerances not achievable through traditional tooling methods. 3D-printed molds and cores can allow for greater design flexibility not afforded with traditional tooling and the molding process, making this process ideal for highly complex, low-volume casted parts and prototypes. 3D-printed sand molds can be recreated easily from file and manipulated as needed for optimal casting performance.
You only need a few castings. Whether you have a short-run need or are testing different versions before pushing your final product out to market, prototypes are likely your best option. They are relatively inexpensive and quick to create, and offer maximum design flexibility.
At Badger Alloys, our engineering team uses a KUKA Quantec six-axis robot and 3D technologies to create prototypes for small to large castings, up to 4,000 pounds and 8’X8’. We have the ability to skip tooling altogether and directly mill sand molds with our 6 axis robot, or we can leverage 3D printed sand molds as a lower cost, highly precise alternative to traditional methods. This gets you your high-quality, finished casting quickly! Our engineering team is available to work with you to find your best casting solution. For more information, contact Steve Cooke, vice president, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 414/607.8916.