Magnesium casting reels in a winner

June 16, 2005
Seven award winning parts demonstrate the quality, innovation, and costsavings possible with die-cast parts.

A cast magnesium fishing reel from Marsh Technologies Inc., St. Charles, Mo., took the under 0.5-lb honors during a recent competition sponsored the North American Die Casting Association, Wheeling, Ill. At just 31 gm, the magnesium casting is lighter than the aluminum it replaces and has higher density and a better surface finish than a plastic molded part. Phillips Plastics Corp., Menomonie, Wis. (, was able to cast the reel's complex geometry including varying wall thicknesses while maintaining tight tolerances on bores and surfaces for mating components.

ABM Manufacturing Inc.,
Sedalia, Mo., took the Aluminum under 1 lb award for a nesting latch used on folding tables. The two-piece casting replaces a three-piece assembly made from five complex parts. The casting let Iowa-based All Steel reduce tooling, part count, and assembly costs. The casting features "break points" in the part so it can be modified by hand on the assembly line for use with two smaller-sized tables. The casting is also outfitted with "snap-fits" that let plastic handles snap easily onto the latch, further simplifying assembly.

The Aluminum 1-to-10-lb honor went to Imperial Die Casting Co., Liberty, S.C., for a complex diesel-engine oil-filter housing. The filter housing is a near-netshape part that has a flatness on the bottom mating surface of within 0.014 in. The casting features oil-flow passages, ports for oil temperature and pressure sensors, a turbocharger oil supply port, and bosses for mating the filter housingto other parts. To improve the castabilityof the part, Imperial helped the OEM redesign-part features including key radii and location of the parting line. They also eliminated thin tool-steel sections and minimized the number of ejection pins to reduce flash. The improvements contributed to low scrap rates, higher productivity, and better economics.

Walker Die Casting,
Lewisburg, Tenn., was recognized for a vehicle transaxle case, taking the Aluminum over 10 lb award. The 61-lb high-pressure aluminum casting replaces an iron sand casting. Aluminum dropped part weight and was less costly. The aluminum casting also had better tolerances. This helped reduce or eliminate the need for secondary machining on several of the case features. These improvements resulted in faster cycle times and reduced the overall cost of the case.

The final award, Zinc over 6 oz/nonelectroplated, went to Dero Enterprises Inc., Montreal, Quebec. The 2-lb Snostop roof bracket is produced for Roofer's Annex Inc., Ottawa, Ont. The bracket supports snow and ice barriers installed on steel covered roofs. The casting replaces a stamped steel part and was cited by the judges for providing greater strength and a more reliable overall shape, resulting in significant cost savings. The zinc will also not corrode if the painted part is chipped. The bracket comes unpainted for further cost savings.

The nonautomotive, Aluminum over 10 lb winning part is an impeller used in commercial and industrial blowers from Bardane Manufacturing Co ( The 10-lb part, produced for Ametek Rotron, Saugerties, N.Y., replaces a sand casting. The use of die casting let designers build a more complex part that weighs less than the original and has fewer defects. The redesign lets the blower run quieter, faster, and use less motor power to spin the impeller.

A reverse-valve casting for a Snap-On heavy-duty air-impact wrench took the Zinc under 6 oz/nonelectroplated honor. The 1-in.-long valve body weighs just 1 oz and has seven different functions. DeCardy Die Casting, Chicago, was able to maintain tight casting tolerances — within tenths of a mil — along critical mating surfaces. This minimized secondary machining, helped simplify assembly, and dropped production costs compared to other forming processes including machining, powder metallurgy, and metal injection molding.



ABM Manufacturing Inc.,
Sedalia, Mo., (636) 677-3364,
Ametek Rotron,

(845) 246-3401,
DeCardy Die Casting,

(773) 235-6916,
Dero Enterprises Inc.,

(800) 363-7825.,
Imperial Die Casting Co.,
(864) 859-0202,
North American Die Casting Association,
(847) 279-0001,
Phillips Plastics Corp.,

(715) 386-4320
Walker Die Casting Inc.,

(931) 359-6206
Roofer's Annex Inc.,

(800) 352-6147,
Bardane Manufacturing Co.

(570) 876-4844,

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