The casting industry in Europe is more aggressive than the Japanese casting industry in developing new components and using either proven or new processes. Many of the applications of new products to process are covered in both the sand cast and metal mold sections of this report. Generally, all new product development has been in light metals.
Production of semisolid castings was observed under development at Pechiney and in production at Buhler. An example of a prototype is shown in Fig. 5.5. The potential for using this process to make parts is just beginning to develop. It is currently limited to aluminum alloys with potential for other light metals and ferrous products.
Fig. 5.5. Thixoforming: bicycle pedals (Pechiney-CRV).
Figure 5.6 shows a newly developed die cast automotive cross member. The original part had been a steel stamping weldment made up of 12 pieces welded together. The magnesium die casting on the bottom of Fig. 5.6 is one half the weight of the steel stamping at the same cost as the steel. As the automotive industry continues to be required to make reductions in mass, more such innovations in product design will develop. Another example of replacing steel stamping for weight savings is a three-piece seat frame shown in Fig. 5.7.
Fig. 5.6. An example of a cross member for an automotive application (Teksid).
Fig. 5.7. A cast auto seat (Teksid).
Published: March 1997; WTEC Hyper-Librarian