By adopting this solution, it was possible to reduce the stresses and the plastic deformations in the critical solidification range by 61% compared to the original situation. The assessment tools in MAGMASOFT® allowed for a quantitative determination of how each design variable impacts each of the objectives. In this case, the riser changes resulted in a 30% reduction of strain during solidification, while the modified casting design reduced the strain during solidification by 44%.
Thanks to the positive results, it was possible to reduce both the amount of magnetic particle inspections required as well as the amount of re-work time. The calculation of these 12 versions was done on an 8-core workstation and took 22.5 hours. To run samples in production to test all 12 versions would have taken weeks, with material and labor costs that could not have been justified. Without optimization to quickly consider all 12 designs, the changes made to the tooling would not have been possible in this case.
The systematic use of autonomous optimization at Eagle Alloy has contributed substantially to enabling the cost-effective production of quality castings for this case study.
Eagle Alloy, located in Muskegon, Michigan, USA, was founded in 1979 to meet the needs of customers looking for a short-run steel and stainless steel foundry. Today, Eagle Alloy is a medium to high production steel foundry that competes globally and is considered to be one of the finest overall steel foundries in the USA. In 1991, Eagle Precision Cast Parts was founded to serve customers looking for the finest investment castings in the shortest period of time. In 1999, it was decided that the demand by customers for completely machined product was strong enough to invest in a full-service machining facility. In 2002, the group expanded by the acquisition of an existing aluminum foundry that had the ability to build patterns. A new facility was built to house the permanent mold portion of Eagle Aluminum Cast Products. The shell mold process of Eagle Alloy offers tight tolerances with excellent dimensional repeatability, ensuring consistency from one order to the next. The airset molding line is used to produce low quantity production runs. It is also beneficial for providing quick prototypes before a shell pattern is produced. In-house X-ray, advanced quality and delivery programs, a complete machining facility, and the use of MAGMASOFT® since 2007 are only part of what makes Eagle Alloy unique in the US steel casting industry. In 2015, Eagle Alloy was named ‘Metalcaster of the Year’ by Modern Casting Magazine.