Conversion of a fabricated rocker arm to a casting

Client

Agricultural equipment manufacturer

Challenge

Seeking to improve product competitiveness and performance, a manufacturer asked Castech Solutions to assist with a complete design review of their components.

Many components had originally been designed as fabricated parts as it was the most economical and simplest option at the time. With the increase in production volumes, it made sense to reassess whether some components could be supplied at a lower cost by modifying the manufacturing process. One of the possibilities we explored was the conversion to a casting.

Solution

Based on the current drawing (Image 2) we concluded that a significant cost reduction was possible. We recommended investment casting as the most appropriate manufacturing process because it delivered:

  • Good dimensional accuracy, which reduced the machining operations to a minimum
  • Good surface finish and definition
  • The target price

Working closely with the customer, a CAD solid model was defined and optimised using Finite Element Analysis and casting simulation software. The collaborative design process ensured the final design resulted in optimum performance and manufacturability of the finished part.

Key outcomes & benefits

This project demonstrated that:

  • Converting a fabricated part to a casting can result in significant cost savings
  • The freedom of shape provided by the casting process allowed for an optimisation of the design to meet service requirements
  • Logo, lettering and traceability can be added at no extra cost
  • A collaborative design process can result in superior products offering unique advantages, because of the capability of the casting process at a lower unit cost.