1998-05-12

System Integration - A Continuous Line from CAD to Mass Production 981331

Full service supply and concurrent engineering are the wave of the future in powertrain development. Launching a new automotive engine requires a fast and efficient development program for both the first engine and the transition into mass production. This paper presents a case study utilizing Soligen's Direct Shell Production Casting (DSPC ®) to integrate the development of a new aluminum intake manifold and the launch of the mass production tooling, eliminating long lead times and costs as well as potential geometrical inconsistencies from incongruous manufacturing phases.
DSPC is a rapid casting process which makes conventional prototype casting obsolete. DSPC works by producing ceramic casting molds with integral cores, directly from CAD files without the need for patterns and core boxes. Using DSPC in the design phase enables engineers to test multiple design iterations in various alloys concurrently, expediting and improving the design phase. Additionally, DSPC's reliance on CAD files provides for stringent configuration control, assuring that all design changes are properly documented.
In the transition to mass production, the CAD files of the approved cast parts are converted into production tooling CAD files and subsequently cast as net shape tools. Working with the mass production foundry, these tools are launched onto the production lines. In this way, Soligen manages the maintenance of part continuity, accuracy and timeliness.
The case study in this paper describes a manifold launch with permanent molds for annual production of 1,000,000 manifolds. The whole process was paperless and driven by the CAD file (prototypes, gating simulation, permanent (steel) molds and core boxes, and final machining).
By basing all production on the CAD file and DSPC technology, a smooth and cost effective transition from prototype to mass production could be guaranteed. This successful transition has proven to shorten time-to-market and dramatically Improve profitability.

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