Best Designs of 2008

June 13, 2008
The most innovative, effective, and impactful cast-metal designs of the past year were recognized during CastExpo 08.

The 2008 Engineered Casting Solutions and AFS Casting Competition awarded nine cast components as the best designs for 2008. The AFS named an overall winner, four Best-in-Class winners, and four honorable mentions. The winning product was produced by Carley Foundry Inc. in Blaine, MN — and oil tank for Harley Davidson. The component houses and circulates oil throughout the new Harley Rocker’s operating system, and it is an important element of the cycle’s cosmetic appeal. The component was cast in A356-T6 aluminum using semi-permanent molding and it weighs 9.25 lbs. In addition to its “aestically pleasing” attributes, it offers better heat resistance than the alternative proposals — a plastic design and a multi-piece fabrication.

Contech Wins Twice in 2008 International Die Casting Competition

Contech U.S., a division of Marathon Automotive Group, won two awards in the 2008 International Die Casting Competition, sponsored by the North American Die Casting Associaiton. The annual competition recognizes outstanding castings based on their design, quality, cost savings, ingenuity, innovation, and industry-changing potential.

A rear knuckle structure for the Jaguar XK8 won the Aluminum, Squeeze/ Semi-Solid award. The large, complex component was produced using Contech’s P2000 squeeze casting process. This is the third straight year that Contech has won the award in this category, and the fifth time since 2001.

A rear-axle thrust rod for the BMW X5 won the award for the “Aluminum Die Casting under 1 lb.” category. The rod, fully designed by Contech, replaced a multiple-part steel assembly and provided an approximate 50% weight savings for the automaker.

“Our close working relationships with our customers, combined with our engineering expertise enabled Contech to optimize the customer’s original designs for our processes, and to bring these new components to market successfully,” said president Mark Hunter.

Best in Class Winners
• Piad Precision Casting Corp. developed this material handling steering/linkage assembly, a brass permanent-mold chill casting that replaced a weldment that consisted of 10 pre-fabricated pieces, 19 weld joints, and four bushings.
• Dotson Iron Castings is the developer of this agri-speed hitch, an assembly of austempered ductile iron and ductile-iron green sand castings that was reverse-engineered from the customer’s weldment, resulting in a 30% weight reduction and 40% cost reduction.
• Castalloy Corp.’s design for a static mixer tube is a 124-lb. white iron no-bake sand casting, a conversion from a seven-piece fabrication that eliminates all assembly labor and makes it possible to incorporate strategic thickening of wear areas.
• Denison Industries developed this main transmission housing for a military contract, converting a multi-piece assembly into a 200-lb casting. The A356-T71 aluminum no-bake sand casting eliminated tubing, hydraulic lines, and passageways.2008 Honorable Mentions:
• Citation Columbiana’s multifunction bracket/towing eye for Volvo is a 21-lb. ductile-iron lost-foam casting that eliminated the machining and heat treating required on previous bracketdesignss.
• General Motors & Diversified Machine’s design is an engine cradle for the Cadillac CTS, a 33.5-lb. vacuum riserless/ pressure riserless casting that was poured in A356 aluminum and welded to four aluminum extrusions to form the engine cradle.
• Trilore Technologies developed this automotive aftermarket intake manifold, a 13-lb. A356-T6 aluminum casting that is converted from a plastic molding.
• Eck Industries used the ablation process to make a 4.9-lb, A356-T6 aluminum rear motorcycle frame, with enhanced mechanical properties in its thin sections.