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Design for Manufacturing – Die Casting

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design-for-manufacturing-die-casting-partimage1There are several processes which can be used to efficiently manufacture parts.  When a project engineer has a solid idea of how the parts all come together to make the end product, it is time to consider which manufacturing process will be the optimal solution for the individual components.  Die casting is one of many processes that should be considered.

Is Die Casting Right for My Part?

To learn more about if die casting is the appropriate process for your project, DOWNLOAD TO VIEW THIS WEBINAR.  You can also contact the CWM Engineering Team for any questions you may have at sales@cwmtl.com or 630-595-4424.

Application Review

When considering DFM for a die casting, even the smallest details may affect cost and performance.  It is imperative for the die cast engineering team to understand the application of the end product and what the part function will be.  The following factors are considered in the initial review:

  • Mating Part review – what does this connect with? Is it an assembly?
  • Environment – what are the features and functions of the part?
  • Product testing – Are there any additional tests the part needs to undergo? What other tests will the product need to undergo that pertain to the die casting?
  • Are there any cosmetic or finish requirements? (Click Surface Finishes for Die Castings or Guide to Surface Finishing for more information on finishes)

Preliminary DFM meetings It is important to remember that working with the die caster and providing as much as detail as possible in preliminary meetings will determine whether or not die casting is the correct process for the application.  Selecting a die cast supplier with in-house capabilities for post-casting operations (i.e. filing, deburring, CNC, machining, coating, assembly, etc.) will make the process much easier and keep the project running as smoothly as possible.   It is vital to find a die caster that is transparent in all their communications and non-biased.   Reputable die casters would never recommend the die casting process; a specific alloy; or a design that is not going to be an effective solution.

Web-based meetings or face-to-face meetings can be either on-site at a die caster or arranging a die caster to visit a desired location.  A visit to the die caster will open the opportunity for both the die casting team and the in-house team to develop a partnership, review best practices, and get an idea of what technology they currently use and what their plans are for the future.

Hosting an in-house company seminar (where the die caster visits) will allow the program to be tailored to the needs of a company and allow the die caster to review numerous in-house samples.

Whichever option is selected – it gives each team the ability to capitalize on strengths and get a feel for the feasibility of a project when considering die casting.

4 Major Factors in Part Design to Consider for Die Casting

In the preliminary stages of moving from concept to ready-to-tool design, a product engineer engages in exploring manufacturing solutions would be best for the part.

In order to get an idea of what to consider in DFM for die casting, here are 4 factors that are important to consider:A die cast part and wall thicknesses.

  • Uniform Wall Thickness

Uniform wall thickness aids filling, improves quality, and lowers cost.  Heavy mass areas should be avoided.  Ribs should be utilized where increased strength or stiffness is needed.

  • Design/Cost Trade-Offs

“As-cast” parts provide a consistent geometry, but sometimes machining is needed (to hold tighter tolerances).   Similarly, more complex tooling can be used instead of machining, but in addition to increasing tooling costs, it may result in stepped parting lines and higher costs to remove flash.  There is also the possibility to having several mating parts consolidated into a single casting resulting in substantial piece cost savings.  Cosmetic or performance requirements, are cost drivers and can involve added polishing, coating, or corrosion protection strategies.   These are just a few of the cost tradeoffs to be considered.mold flow analysis of a die casting helps teams determine where design changes can (or can't) be made.

  • Mold Flow Analysis

Running a mold flow analysis can give engineers on both sides a look at optimizing for part geometry and filling.  It solves several of the major issues upfront so a re-design can be worked in prior to creating the tool and going into production.  This ultimately will translate into both time and cost savings.

  • Drawing Development

It is generally suggested that notes from a previous process are to be excluded from updated drawings.  The notes should be specific to what is required in the die casting process.

additional details on the CAD drawings will determine if the part is suitable for a die casting.Datum schemes and tolerances are very important and can influence whether the part can be made as-cast, or if it will require machining?    Notes can help guide interpretation of the drawing, but it is best to work with a die caster who can help to align the notes to the manufacturing process best suited to your application.   The use of industry standard terms and specification guidelines is strongly recommended.

A good die caster will know whether the part can be made with the die casting process.   A great die caster will have enough know-how to direct an individual towards another process if die casting is not a good fit, or help you to optimize the design if die casting is a good fit.   Contact our team today for more information on how die casting can benefit your project.  E-mail sales@cwmtl.com or call 630-595-4424.

Roy Finch Promoted to Director of Quality Assurance for Chicago White Metal Casting, Inc.

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Roy Finch is the newly appointed Director of Quality AssuranceChicago White Metal Casting, Inc., a manufacturer of high pressure die castings, has announced the promotion of Roy Finch to Director of Quality Assurance.  Roy joined our team in May of 2016 as a CNC QA Supervisor, and brings over 20 years of combined management, manufacturing and quality-related experience to CWM.  In his new role, Roy will oversee all aspects of CWM Quality including die casting, all value-added operations, and supplier quality.

Newly appointed Director of Quality Assurance Roy Finch offered a statement on the topic: “It was clear to me at the start of my employment with Chicago White Metal that I had become a part of a great company.  My time as CNC QA Supervisor gave me the opportunity to help and support many customers from several different industries.  I always like to look at conformity of products manufactured as the eyes and ears of the customer.  With the promotion to Director of Quality Assurance, I now have the opportunity to pass down this approach to the entire QA department and the company itself.”

“I am humbled to have been selected for this position, which empowers me to provide the excellent customer service our Chicago White Metal customers deserve.  I look forward to working with and hopefully one day meeting all who do business with Chicago White Metal in the future.”

Congratulations, Roy!

CWM Industry Spotlight: Lawn & Garden Industry for Die Castings

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Industry Outlook

lawn-garden-tool-groupThe lawn and garden power equipment industry is experiencing a steady increase each year, with a 3.2% annual growth rate.  Projections show that at this rate, the industry will reach $11.7 billion by 2019.  While the residential consumer segment still dominates the market, the commercial market has seen an uptick in growth that is clearly outpacing the segment.

The lawn and garden industry includes products such as lawnmowers, turf and grounds equipment, trimmers, edgers, garden tractors, rotary tillers, chainsaws, blowers, vacuums, pruners, sweepers, snow throwers, hedge trimmers, and many other power equipment items.  There is a growing importance within the industry not only for performance, portability, affordability and quality, but also to incorporate environmentally-friendly processes to the manufacturing and assembly of the internal parts of the equipment and machinery.


The Role of Die Casting in Lawn & Garden Productslawn-garden-equipment-group

There are hundreds of components within lawn and garden equipment and vehicles which are ideal candidates for the die casting process.  Aluminum, magnesium and zinc are the most common alloys in die casting and all three are used in a variety of lawn and garden product applications where they provide better overall value than plastic, stampings or machined parts.  Each of the die cast alloys have unique properties that can be used based on the requirements for the parts.  CWM die casts components in all three alloys to meet the durability and high strength demands for outdoor, rugged and long-lasting end products.


die-cast-engineering-designHow CWM Contributed Die Castings to the Industry 

Chicago White Metal manufactures hundreds of thousands of parts which have made their way into various consumer and commercial applications within the industry.  The CWM Engineering team works with customers to engineer and produce durable, high quality parts at reduced costs.


lawn-garden-roll-cage-die-casting-A380Aluminum for Encasements

Aluminum A380 is by far the most frequently used alloy in die casting.  This alloy offers the best combination of material properties and castability.  Aluminum alloy die castings are used in a wide variety of industries, including the lawn and garden industry.  CWM casts several components, including gear cases, covers, and several parts which go into a differential assembly. CWM offers a aluminum alloy data sheet, register to download here, at no cost to you.


lawn-garden-bearing-cap-die-castingMagnesium for Portability

Magnesium AZ91D is the material incorporated into the design of several components for portability because of the alloy’s lightweight properties – a known alternative to plastic but with the strength and rigidity of a metal.  Chicago White Metal uses magnesium to cast parts that are ultimately assembled in lawn and garden end products, including both consumer and professional handheld lawn maintenance equipment.  This bearing cap is part of an assembly inside of a professional hedge trimmer & blower.  A magnesium alloy data sheet is available when you register to download it here at no cost.


Various roll cages have also been produced by CWM, which go into differentials found in commercial and consumer mowers.  Along with the examples given, many other components have been engineered and manufactured by our team to carefully meet the high standards of our customers within the lawn and garden industry.


If you would like to learn more about the capabilities of die casting and the lawn and garden industry, e-mail us at sales@cwmtl.com or give us a call at 630-595-4424.

Fall 2016 – Vol. 12, No. 2

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  • Die Casting Newsletter Inside CWM image for vol 12 no 2Multiple Die Casting Design & Education Awards for CWM
  • Industrial Robots Assisting Die Casting & CNC Operations at CWM
  • National Sales Conference Sets Sail on Lake Michigan
  • 2016 Annual Picnic Pictures
  • Ted Bystryk Celebrates 43 Years at CWM
  • Marketer Goes for Pro in Competitive Kayaking
  • CWM Soccer Team Champion Coaches Children’s Soccer League
  • Die Casting Crossword & Wordplay (GAMES)

  Inside CWM Newsletter, Vol. 12, No. 2pdf-icon

The Verdict Is In… CWM and Stenograph Win the IMA Award for Die Cast Design!

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Stenograph Luminex parts were cast by Chicago White Metal. Screen frame and Keyboard Chassis

The Screen Frame casting (left) and the Keyboard Chassis casting (right) are the 2016 Winners for the IMA Award for Design Excellence.  

IMA Die Casting Excellence Award for Magnesium Part

The IMA Award makes its way home from Italy to CWM!

The verdict is in – Chicago White Metal joined forces with Stenograph to not only meet the requirements for producing the high-end stenotype machine parts, but also to win the “case” for Commercial Castings – Excellence in Design from the International Magnesium Association (IMA).

The International Magnesium Association (IMA) was founded in 1943 with a mission in mind – “promote the use of the metal magnesium in material selection and encourage innovative applications of the versatile metal.”

Stenograph produces high-end, portable stenotype machines for court reporters with exceptional quality.  The Stenograph Luminex is more than 1 lb. lighter than the previous model, 33% thinner, and stands at a mere 2.5″ tall.

Walter & Carolyn Treiber accept the prestigious IMA award for die cast design excellence for magnesium, for customer Stenograph

Walter & Carolyn Treiber accept IMA Award for Die Cast Design.

This Award of Excellence is an annual award that is given to the company demonstrating an outstanding example of the use of magnesium.  The magnesium screen frame serves as an ideal metal replacement for plastic, creating a high-end “feel” and look to the end product.  The keyboard chassis replaced aluminum with magnesium for decreased mass, allowing the final product to offer maximum portability.

Walter Treiber explains at the IMA’s World Conference in Italy why magnesium was ultimately chosen for the die cast design of this particular casting.



CWM Ice Sculpture at 2016 IMA World Conference in Italy

The International Magnesium Association (IMA) Creates a CWM Ice Sculpture at the IMA World Conference Closing Banquet in Italy.

Magnesium’s ability to be die cast with an excellent surface finish allows the screen frame part to readily accept a highly cosmetic appearance, giving a sleek, reflective surface finish to the screen frame.  A court reporter is expected to type the official transcripts of court hearings several times a day with amazing efficiency, so the decision to cast the keyboard chassis in magnesium reduced the overall end product mass, which increased portability from one courtroom to the next.”

Congratulations to Chicago White Metal and Stenograph for the success and excellence in die casting!

Visit The 2016 IMA Awards for Excellence Page for more information on the winners of the Awards of Excellence for this year.

Visit Stenograph for more information on the Stenograph Luminex.

Spring 2016, Vol. 12, No. 1

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CWM Die Casting Employee Ray Fiala is proud of daughter Emily for being a McKearn Fellow at NIU

  • CWM Scholarship Recipient Inducted into Prestigious McKearn Fellowship
  • Local High School Students Shadow CWM Engineers
  • CWM-Sponsored Soccer Team Wins Championship
  • Culture of Giving: CWM Team Members Give Back
  • 2015 Holiday Luncheon Pictures
  • Gift of Giving: Brian Andrews’ Extended Family Give to the Community
  • Summer Intern to Start in May
  • CWM Assists High Schoolers on Senior Engineering Project
  • Employee of the Month & Year
  • Bensenville Mayor Gets an Exclusive Tour of CWM
  • New Machinery Added to CWM Capabilities

pdf-icon  Inside CWM Newsletter, Vol. 12, No. 1