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Case Studies

DS Breaker Main Link

Weight: 0.88 lbs

Alloy: AB-200

Volume: 6,000/yr

Previous Method

  • Part Steel Weldment (machining required after welding)

Points of Interest

  • Previous strength requirements met with AB-200 material (tensile strength 95KSI min)
  • Cost savings of approximately 35% over fabrication
  • Eliminated zinc plating (corrosion resistance)
  • Previous part had quality issues

Lower Stationary Contact

Weight: 20 lbs

Alloy: CU-110

Volume: 500/yr

Previous Method

  • Machined Sand Casting

Points of Interest

  • Sand casting could only maintain a 60% maximum electrical conductivity while permanent mold yields 97% minimum.
  • Part ran 3 deg F cooler during heat rise test. (due to air cooling passages and conductivity)
  • Part weight was reduced by 7 lbs.
  • By eliminating or reducing machining operations and cycle time cost reductions of over 75% were achieved.
  • Stocking program led to shorter lead times.
  • Eliminated black painting due to higher conductivity/lower heat rise.

Upper VI Contact Block

Weight: 2.6 lbs

Alloy: CU-110

Volume: 1,500/yr

Previous Method

  • Brazed, machined fabricated assembly

Points of Interest

  • All though all parts of the former 4 piece assembly had high conductivity.  Permanent mold provides a homogenous single piece product that performs better during heat rise tests and is electrically superior
  • Cost savings of 80% were achieved.
  • Note material savings, rounded edges, improved corona.

Manual Charging Lever

Weight: 0.8 lbs

Alloy: AB-200

Volume: 3,000/yr 

Previous Method

  • Stamping, brazed bushing, welded fabrication (6 separate parts)

Points of Interest

  • 304SST pin cast in place.
  • AB material has comparable strength.
  • AB material has better corrosion resistance. (eliminates zinc plating)
  • Casting as one piece has eliminated some machining.
  • Major cost saving realized.
  • Casting is far more aesthetically pleasing than the crude weldment.

MPCV Relay Can

Weight: 8.6 lbs

Alloy: B-100

Volume: 1,200/yr

Previous Method

  • Copper deep draw w/ welded studs (4) & threaded inserts (6); also plated and painted

Points of Interest

  •  Corrected 41% rework & 20% scrap rate during assembly as a result of failed welded joints and deformation of deep draw during welding through the use of permanent mold.
  • Eliminated plating and painting of parts due to alloy selection and casting finish.
  • Brazed studs replaced by 304SST screws cast in place.
  • Top & bolt pattern are machined in one step- eliminates alignment problems also allows pressure tight seal when assembled.
  • Cost savings of 45% were achieved.

Lower Stud Assembly

Weight: 13 lbs

Alloy: CU-110

Volume: 250/yr 

Previous Method

  • 4 Part stamping riveted together

Points of Interest

  •  Single piece homogenous casting is electrically superior to riveted assembly.
  • “Windows” are now a cast feature.
  • The featured item is from network protectors.  However, several higher volume parts from the DS breaker are similar conversions.
  • Raised pad around cast diameter hole eliminated build up plating operation.

Cubicle Primary Contact Series

Weight: 13-18 lbs

Alloy: CU-110

Volume: 5,000/yr all styles combined

Previous Method

  • 3 Part machined & brazed assembly
  • Note: Photo is one version of a series of 12 similar parts

Points of Interest

  • Eliminated machining operation by providing mounting holes as cast.
  • Upper diameter was a sand casting.  Permanent mold offers improved conductivity.
  • Single piece homogenous casting is electrically  superior to brazed assembly.
  • Cost savings of 60% were achieved.

CMD Main Contact Block

Weight: 10 lbs

Alloy: CU-110

Volume: 300/yr

Previous Method

  • Extruded copper

Points of Interest

  • Permanent mold allowed the addition of cooling fins. This allowed substantial improvements in electrical and thermal efficiency.
  • Permanent mold allowed for much smaller production runs versus the extrusion.
  • Electrical conductivity is the same for both processes.
  • Casting hardness of 40 HBN versus an extruded copper hardness of 50+ HBN was an issue that testing resolved.

Left Hand Stud Assembly

Weight: 17 lbs

Alloy: CU-110

Volume: 400/yr - each version

Previous Method

  • Brazed & machined 2 part fabrication
  • Noted: Part of a combination tool to produce center and right hand parts

Points of Interest

  • Four studs cast in place eases assembly process.
  • Critical as cast contact surfaces reduce cost with a minimal impact to the performance of casting.
  • Over all performance far exceeds that of the two piece assembly.
  • Cost savings of over 50% were realized.
  • Weight reduction of 4 lbs.

Upper Brake Assembly

Weight: 2 lbs

Alloy: AB-200

Volume: 7,000/yr 

Previous Method

  • Designated for Permanent Mold

Points of Interest

  • High strength requirements on both alloy and part design.
  • Close machining tolerances (+/-0.0002”) on several bores.
  • All machining done in house- turn key project.
  • Corrosion resistance of alloy avoids plating or painting operations.

Shunt Output

Weight: 2.5 lbs

Alloy: CU-110

Volume: 5,000/yr 

Previous Method

  • Designated for Permanent Mold

Points of Interest

  • Attempts as a fabrication failed.  Permanent mold allowed the addition of fins for added cooling which allowed parts to pass testing.
  • Contact areas required a 60 HBN min so we added a coining operation to harden cast copper. (which is about 40 HBN)

Charging Cam

Weight: 1 lbs

Alloy: AB-210

Volume: 8,000/yr 

Previous Method

  • Steel fine blanking w/ (4) additional parts welded on

Points of Interest

  • Single piece casting versus 5 part assembly.
  • Casting has eliminated some machining and zinc plating.
  • Teeth are as cast.
  • Cost of finished casting was less than the price of the fine blanking alone.

1200 Amp Contact Stab

Weight: 6.5 lbs

Alloy: CU-110

Volume: 10,000/yr 

Previous Method

  • Machined and bent bus bar

Points of Interest

  • High failure rate (60%) from cracks and misalignment during the 180-degree bending operation.
  • Base and upper sides are an as cast contact surface, lead-in radius is machined.
  • Surface finish on contact “R” of casting is far superior.
  • All holes are as cast.
  • Piece price savings were 40%.

Arc Horn

Weight: 0.60 lbs

Alloy: CU-210

Volume: 12,000/yr 

Previous Method

  • 2 Part stamping riveted together

Points of Interest

  • All machining is eliminated.
  • Single piece casting out performed previous method during testing.
  • CU-210 electrical conductivity of 77% min and hardness of 100 HBN competed favorably against an expensive non-standard material that was being used at the time.

Jam Nut

Weight: 17 lbs

Alloy: AB-230

Volume: 150/yr 

Previous Method

  • Machined complete from billet material

Points of Interest

  • Castings tested at 25KSI and 400Deg-F.
  • Entire inside configuration is now as cast. By the use of loose inserts- No sand cores.
  • Mold has more than 20 sections & pieces.
  • Weight reduction of 51 lbs/piece.
  • Savings of over 350% were realized.

Magnum Main Link

Weight: 0.65 lbs

Alloy: AB-230-1

Volume: 9,000/yr 

Previous Method

  • Steel investment casting

Points of Interest

  • Steel casting required heat treating and plating. These operations are eliminated by the use of AB material.
  • Material savings were limited on this part.  Real cost savings were realized by multi-cavity mold tool and high production machining fixture.
  • Cost savings of 30% were achieved.