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CASTING DEIGN & DEVELOPMENT

ICE & ELECTRIFICATION ALLOY CASTINGS

ELLIOTT GROUP ENGINEERING are experts in alloy casting for the automotive industry. With years of experience developing complex castings designed to house combustion systems, lubrication & cooling circuits, drive units and battery cells. We are leaders in aluminium casting design, development and quality.

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ELECTRIFICATION - EDU & BATTERY HOUSING

Advancements in Electrification mean Electric Drive Units (EDU) & Battery Housings have become more complex needing internal oil galleries and cooling circuits.

We have bought are knowledge from traditional ICE cast components to develop the latest electrified components.

We can help:

  • Identify the right casting process for your application

  • Understand the pros and cons of alloys and their properties

  • Design castings from concept to production

  • Design for Manufacture - eliminate casting process/design issues that lead to defects and increased scrap rates

  • High Cycle/Low Cycle Fatigue

Are you a foundry looking to move into the electrification sector? The electrification market is growing at an exponential rate, our knowledge and expertise can help you compete in this expanding market.

INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE COMPONENTS

The traditional ICE is here to stay, while the development of BEV's is a growing market it is widely agreed in the industry that internal combustion remains an important part of automotive future.

However the advances in trends such as  hybrid powertrains, and increased combustion pressure means components like Cylinder Heads & Blocks are dealing with new, bigger challenges.

We can help your business :

  • Identify the right casting process for your application

  • Understand the pros and cons of alloys and their properties

  • Design castings from concept to production

  • Design for Manufacture - eliminate casting process/design issues that lead to defects and increased scrap rates

  • Understand the importance and develop the thermal management

  • High Cycle/Low Cycle Fatigue

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FAQ

At Elliott Group Engineering we frequently get asked questions on a number of topics to do with our expertise, so we have put together some answers to the basics.

If you would like more information & help please get in touch, we love to talk engineering!

WHAT CASTING PROCESS SHOULD I USE FOR MY COMPONENT?

This is one of the most frequent questions we get asked and one of the first we ask our clients, the casting process chosen will dictate a lot of the component design and development. We recommend that this is one of the first decisions made as moving from one process to another can involve a lot of redesign, cost and time.

There are positives and negatives to all processes, but here are some things to consider with some of the most common casting processes:

  • HPDC - In our opinion this is the first option you should consider if you are planning to manufacture large quantities of parts, the initial investment in tooling is high, but piece price is low meaning that as long as the part demand is there it is the most cost effective process. However, internal cavities are not really possible and the material choice does not yield very high mechanical properties. Therefore if mechanical and thermal requirements of your component suit HPDC it is the go-to choice for casting. However if you require more complex geometry and/or higher mechanical and thermal properties other processes are more suitable.

  • Low Pressure Gravity/Tilt Cast - When more complex shapes are required on the internal cavities and higher mechanical/thermal properties this is the next process to consider. Using either a semi permanent mould (where the outside of the component are steel dies and the insides are sand cores) or a full sand core pack very complex geometries can be created with extremely good mechanical properties. However the increased tooling complexity requires a lot more casting/design development and due to the multiple cores and dies required the piece cost is much higher than that or a HPDC. A fairly new technology starting to be used in production is the 3D printing of sand cores leading to infinite possibilities for the core geometry, this simplifies the design and development process and removes the need to buy expensive core box tooling. This is currently only suitable for low volume production, however recent developments are starting to challenge that statement.

In summary it is important to consider the usage and volume requirements of your component, HPDC is by far the most cost effective for high volume production but can't achieve the same complexity and properties of a Gravity/Tilt Cast.

HOW DO I AVOID CASTING DEFECTS IN THE DESIGN OF MY COMPONENT?

Good component integrity comes from a combination of Design for Manufacture and good manufacturing practice.

Designing a casting with DFM principles can be difficult and will require good communication with your casting foundry, but there are some simple things to consider that will help you avoid some of the basic issues:

  • Wall thickness - Depending on the casting process you choose a minimum wall thickness must be maintained to allow the material to flow through the passage without cooling off. If the molten metal starts to solidify while moving through the passage a eutectic front may form causing a brittle surface, or worst case cold shuts & miss runs where the material completely solidifies leaving voids.

  • Porosity - In the casting process air within the mould is replaced with molten metal, to do this the air must have a path in which to escape from the mould or rise through the metal while still molten. Careful consideration to the placement of material risers and placement of the in-gate are essential.

  • Material Mechanical Properties - It is important to consider the usage case of your component, the mechanical properties required will help dictate the material & heat treatment. However careful consideration should be given to the fatigue properties, will the component be subjected to high or low cycle fatigue? The mechanical properties change through out cast components but areas can be targeted for the highest properties in the casting process, so it is important to understand the component usage case and design the casting/tooling around this.

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