November 9, 2013
Prototype casting programs set the stage for the successful design and introduction of many cast products. It is an expedient and economical approach to developing and testing the fit, form and function of your product design.
Prototype has many advantages, including:
- Improved production lead times
- Proves out both design and manufacturing processes
- Minimizes cost and overall risks in new designs
- Offers an economical forum for product improvements
- Presents opportunities for early cost reductions
- Limits the costs of engineering changes
- Allows for incremental steps in development
- Enhances sales and marketing of "new concepts"
- Accelerates the "time to market"
There is a substantial number of excellent and cost-efficient options available to customers when considering prototype tooling. Our staff will help you evaluate a number of options.
Large project or small, prototyping is a value very much worth your time to consider. Allow us to design and engineering team an opportunity to get your program off to a successful start.
September 20, 2013
The Importance of Prototype Casting
Here at K&H Precision, one service that we are exceptionally proud to provide is prototype casting. We believe this to be one of the most important pieces of the manufacturing puzzle. Simply put, it’s not a part of the manufacturing process that you should take lightly. The future of your product depends on it.
Rendering a 2D or even a 3D digital model of your idea can give you a decent idea as to what the product will turn out like. However, it’s impossible to hold a digital model. You can’t tell what the product feels like, you can’t be 100% sure that it will serve the function you need, and you can’t put your word behind a product you find yourself unsure about.
That’s why we take prototyping very seriously here at K&H, because the success (or failure) of your product depends on it. With all the technology available today, prototyping can certainly be a part of manufacturing that is easy to overlook. Our state-of-the-art Computer Aided Design processes are an essential part of refining the idea of a product; however, our prototyping services are what make sure the actual, physical product turns out the way you always dreamt it would.
Think about it: why would you spend all of your time and energy designing a product that goes straight into production? Such a product could have flaws in the function, form, or even the design altogether. Prototyping gives you head room in which you are able to “work out the kinks” in your design.
Of course prototyping makes logical sense, but what about when you’re on a tight deadline?
Think about this: your project manager is demanding something from you by the end of the week. So you rush to pump out a design that you believe will work. You’ve ran it through the CAD process and it looks solid from 2D to 3D, you’re 99.9% sure that it will work and you’ve got just enough time to produce as many as he needs. So you send over the design and the order gets completed. Only when the product arrives at your door, it doesn’t function as you planned. There’s a small defect in the design that you didn’t account for. It’s something you never would have thought of until this moment. What now?
Prototyping can save a lot of heartache like this. It may take a little longer for you to receive your product, and you may have to learn some patience, but it could save you from producing hundreds of useless products as mentioned in the previous situation. Even one prototype can bring to light the smallest defect in your product and save you a boatload of money.
So the next time you’re looking to manufacture, don’t go straight for the big bucks. Take a little time, iron out the details, work out the kinks, and produce a product that exceeds all expectations. At K&H Precision we’d love to help you create a product that works better than you could have ever imagined, and it all starts with prototyping.
July 14, 2013
Plaster Mold Casting versus Sand Mold Casting: Whatís the Difference?
Sand mold casting and Plaster mold casting are often mentioned as being similar to each other. With a production process that is incredibly similar, it’s no wonder that these two processes are often described as likenesses of each other. But if you’re going to put money into a casting process you’d probably like to know the difference between the two, right? If that’s the case then continue reading because today we’re going to differentiate between the two processes as well as examine the benefits and drawbacks of both methods.
Sand mold casting is a process that been around for literally thousands of years, while plaster mold casting is the baby of the two procedures. The major difference between the two, as you have probably guessed, is that a sand casting is formed with sand and a plaster casting is formed with plaster. So what does this mean regarding the finished product?
A sand casting is more likely to produce a grainy, rougher surface finish due to the porous nature of the sand used in the process, while a plaster casting is generally said to have a smoother surface finish that is similar to a die casting finish. Plaster mold casting can generally only accommodate metals with lower melting temperatures like aluminum, magnesium, zinc, and copper due to the delicacy of the plaster. Sand casting is typically used for heavier metals such as iron, steel, bronze, or brass because the sand mold is capable of dealing with the higher melting temperatures of these metals.
Both means of casting are praised for being highly efficient and economical. Neither method creates much waste. Often, materials like unused or excess metals can be recycled for use in the next batch of products.
Plaster mold casting is a longer process than sand mold casting, and because of this, has its trademark smooth surface finish. This is due to the low thermal conductivity of the plaster which causes the metal to cool slowly. Due to the non-porous nature of the plaster mold, these molds are often used for designs that are more complex because of the plaster’s ability to yield thinner wall thicknesses than sand molds.
So what we see in the end is that there are numerous advantages for each product, while each also has their own handful of drawbacks. Sand casting is a quicker process that will work more effectively for product designs that are simple, whereas more intricate designs require a slower molding process like sand casting. In addition to this, if the product must be made of a heavier metal, such as steel, the sand casting method must be used, simply because the plaster mold cannot accommodate the heat from these metals.
Ultimately, it depends on what you are looking for in your product: heavy, tough, and unrefined (sand casting) versus elaborate, strong, and smooth (plaster casting). Whichever method you prefer, at K&H we have the know-how and the skills to produce the best product possible.
July 14, 2013
Sand Mold Casting: What it is and why we do it
Sand casting is an age old process that originated in China as early as 645 BCE. That being the case, we are able to see that, even today, sand casting is not a highly technologically advanced process. Nonetheless, it is one of the simplest and most economical methods for casting metal. At K&H Precision we have perfected this ancient art in order to serve you as effectively as possible. Using fine sand and a urethane binder give us the ability to produce a better surface finish than what is normally found in traditional sand casting. Additionally, we are able to incorporate more complex geometry that is simply not possible with traditional oil bonded sand.
So what is sand casting?
Sand casting is a method for casting metal characterized by the use of sand for the mold material and molten metal to form the actual casting.
How is it created?
A sand casting is created first by molding the sand into the pattern of the desired casting. We do this by using a top-of-the-line urethane binder that allows for greater complexity and higher quality in the finished product. The sand mold is contained in a flask that creates a frame around the mold to allow for stability, consistency, and accuracy. Once the mold is completed, it is filled with a metal such as iron, bronze, brass, steel, or zinc. After the metal is poured into the mold, it is allowed to cool. Once this occurs, the sand mold is removed, leaving the finished casting of metal. Often the casting is subjected to various types of treatments that strengthen it after it is removed from the sand mold.
Why do you do it?
There are many advantages to sand mold casting, the first and foremost being cost. The materials used in the process are relatively inexpensive for us to acquire and use. The upside of this is that anything that is of low cost to us will be of low cost to you as well.
In addition to being an incredibly economical process, sand casting is a relatively quick method of casting. This is another case where something that is a positive for us, turns into a positive for you as well. The quicker we are able to create a product, the quicker you will receive it.
Moreover, the sand mold process produces less waste than many other casting methods. In an industry where profit and cost depend on the amount of materials used, anything that produces a small amount of waste is an advantage for us.
At K&H we know that sometimes the best solution is the simplest one. This is often the case with sand mold casting. While not an incredibly complex or technologically advanced casting method, it is one that we are highly knowledgeable about and that produces consistent results. By mixing simplicity with creativity and a high level of skill, we use our sand mold casting process to create a product that is both durable and effective.
June 17, 2013
K&H and Computer-aided Design (CAD): The Program and Process that Bring Your Vision to Reality
There are many aspects that go into making our Design Service phenomenal. From paper, to computer, to the final, physical product, our team at K&H combines experience with ingenuity and technology to construct a product that you will be satisfied with. Although there are countless pieces that go into the Design Service puzzle, we want to ensure that as a customer, you fully understand the type of program that makes this service so exceptional. We use a software called SolidWorks, a Computer-aided Design program that allows us to create, edit, and fully customize a virtual 3D model of your product. This program simplifies the design process and leads to high-quality machining.
It all begins with your original design. K&H offers free concept evaluation that determines not only the relative cost of production, but the processes required to bring your vision to reality. Our SolidWorks program is highly efficient at importing outside translations that you may have already created. So when you present us with a concept, we begin by importing it into the SolidWorks program. After that, we modify the construction in a way that makes the concept acceptable for metal casting, and send the design back to you. This ensures that the design is not only compatible with our tools, but also compatible with your vision and goals.
The real value of the SolidWorks CAD software lies in its convenience. The program takes the guesswork out of product design by allowing us to manipulate all adjustments from the original design in a digital, highly accessible format. While this may seem elementary, it is imperative in order to keeps costs as low as possible, and productivity and customer satisfaction as high as possible.
It would seem that the technological benefits end once a final design is agreed upon; this could not be further from actuality. Once we receive your approval for any modifications to the original design, your product’s file is sent to our programmers who develop the paths that our tools will follow to create your prototype.
While all of this is happening, we import your file into a program called PC-DMIS that inspects the design and makes sure that the product is ready for production. After the entirety of these operations is completed, your design begins to come to life through our Computer-aided Manufacturing capabilities. By utilizing computer software for a large majority of the Design Service process, we guarantee that the final product is completed just as you envision it.
There you have it: a complete description of how all of us here at K&H utilize every possible technological resource to machine a product that you will be satisfied with. From conception to creation we take advantage of our CAD software and everything else at our disposal to create a product that embodies true K&H Precision.