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NADCA 2009 International Die Casting Competition Awards

June 17, 2009
The North American Die Casting Assn. identifies the best designs and products of custom and captive diecasters. The competition provides participating companies a platform to showcase the detailed and outstanding diecasting designs they produce, and to ac

For more than three decades, the North American Die Casting Assn. has held an annual competition to identify the best designs and products of custom and captive diecasters. The competition provides participating companies a platform to showcase the detailed and outstanding diecasting designs they produce, and to acknowledge their ongoing contributions to manufacturing.

Submitted castings are reviewed by a panel of independent judges, from which nine winners were selected. For each category, a diecasting is evaluated based on four equally weighed criteria: ingenuity of casting and product design; overall quality; cost savings; and contribution of expanding the market for diecastings.

Aluminum Diecasting, Squeeze/Semi Solid
Part: Turbocharger Impeller
Caster: Aluminum Complex Components Inc.

These turbocharger impellers compress air into diesel engines to improve horsepower and minimize emissions. The semi-solid cast impellers showed the complete absence of porosity and other defects under various testing methods. These castings compete with forged and machined impellers, providing an approximate savings of 50% . The die design allowed casting to high tolerances, even under extremely high intensification pressure, resulting in minimal final machining of the casting.

Aluminum Diecasting Under 1 lb.
Part: Aluminum Mirror Mount
Caster: Chicago White Metal Casting Inc.

Mirror mounts must withstand years of adjustment over a wide range of temperatures. To maintain the adjustability and “hold” of the mirror, the ball of the mirror mount must maintain very tight as-cast tolerances. This mount was cast in a two-cavity die with three side actions on each cavity. As much excess material as possible was removed from the casting design without sacrificing strength.

Aluminum Diecasting 1 to 10 lb.
Part: Control Head Baseplate
Caster: Chicago White Metal Casting Inc.

The control head baseplate provides a strong rigid platform for a dentist’s work station that houses various lines and controls for compressed air and water. Over 100 holes, slots and windows block metal flow to various parts of the casting. In addition a boss over 2-in. tall is filled even though its flow is blocked by a large window feature.

Aluminum Diecasting Over 10 lb.
Part: Right/Left Snowmobile Clips
Caster: Pace Industries – St Paul Division

The snowmobile clips support and mount the front suspension, steering and motor replacing a 27-part assembly of riveted and welded steel, and aluminum. The new diecast clips reduced the weight by 2.7 lbs and the cost by over 50%, while increasing the stiffness of the chassis, resulting in more predictable handling and control. For example clutch repeatability was dramatically improved reducing needed adjustments over the previous multiple part assembly.

Magnesium Diecasting Under 0.5 lb.
Part: Micro Projector Main Housing
Caster: Phillips Plastics Corp.

The main housing holds critical components, such as prisms, lenses, and focusing equipment, for a micro-projector that measures 0.924.5 in., and weighs only 5.6 oz. The image projected by the device is up to 50 diagonal inches. A four-cavity mold with two side actions per cavity is used to cast parts with many dimensions tighter than NADCA precision tolerances, with wall thicknesses as low as 0.02 in.

Magnesium Over 0.5 lb.
Part: Medical Imager Sidewall
Caster: Chicago White Metal Casting Inc.

Two magnesium sidewall diecastings serve as the main alignment and support structures for a state-of-theart medical imager that renders images on X-ray film to color paper in up to 16.7 million colors on media sizes up to 1451 inches. In addition, the part requires excellent as-cast surface finish for subsequent cosmetic finishing operations. The sidewall castings are gated with a proprietary injection system directly into an existing bore on the part. The sprue from the injection point is later machined from the bore. This part was originally cast from zinc in a graphite mold process. Diecasting allowed for higher production rates, reduced machining and finishing bringing significant cost reductions to the customer.

Zinc Under 6 oz. non-electroplated
Part: Awning Lock Disk/ Sleeve
Caster: Cast Products Inc.

The diecast lock disc/sleeve is used in a spring retractable awning system for motor coaches. The diecaster was asked by their customer to re-design a four-piece assembly, consisting of two plastic parts and two aluminum extrusions, as a diecasting, if possible. After proving their new design with prototypes in plastic and then in CNC-machined zinc bar stock, the diecaster returned to the customer with a single-piece diecast design. In addition, a design feature was identified and integrated into the diecast part design that allowed the lock disk/sleeve to be used across additional product lines. The part is cast in a double-cavity die and is simultaneously stripped of its central core and ejected. The casting is also automatically de-gated in the die.

Zinc Over 6 oz., non-electroplated
Part: Fire Truck Pump Intake Screen
Caster: Caudle Manufacturing Co., Inc.

The replaceable sacrificial zinc intake screen protects the iron pump components from galvanic corrosion. The diecaster redesigned the intake screen to eliminate costly machining processes previously required. During the design stage, process-flow simulation software was used to determine the best way to gate the casting so it could be filled without requiring filling bridges across the open windows of the part. The new design allowed the part to be cast and trimmed without any additional machining required.

Honorable Mention 1 to 10 lb.
Part: Axle Carrier Housing
Caster: Allied Die Casting Co. of North Carolina

The carrier housing serves as the front axle differential housing for a SUV. The diecaster went outside the box on tooling and process design to improve the castablity and quality of the carrier housing well over the levels of a previous supplier. Using innovative die design, with the help of flow simulation software, the diecaster was able to determine the best gating and die cavity orientation to allow production of extremely high-quality parts.

Honorable Mention over 10 lb.
Part: Mack Truck Grill Surround and Air Intake
Caster: Blue Ridge Pressure Castings Inc.

The massive grill surround and air Intake covers the area around the radiator and head lights, as well as the twin side-mounted air intakes on the a large heavy haul truck. The aluminum diecast parts are cast to a very high surface finish quality, and then chrome plated. Aluminum diecast parts were chosen over injection molded plastics to maintain the image of durability to the end user. It achieved “plateable” quality aluminum on very large parts through innovative die design assisted by careful process simulation.

The metalcasting industry recognized nine cast components as top designs in the 2009 Engineered Casting Solutions and American Foundry Society Casting Competition. The components are used in a variety of industries, including material handling, agriculture, energy production, military, heavy truck and automotive.

2009 Casting of the Year: Craft Pattern & Mold - Craft Pattern and Mold’s component was cast in A356 aluminum with T-6 heat treatment via nobake sand, weighs 51 lbs. and measures 1218.7545.5 in. Structurally, the cast frame is more rigid and precise in shape and form than the original fabricated steel frame and offers reduced dimensional variation.