Find new methods to produce legacy parts.
Have you been tasked with efforts to spearhead these types of activities within your company? When I talk to manufacturing engineers and supply chain managers I often hear that they are:
- Worried about capacity issues in their CNC departments
- Frustrated with the long lead times and expensive tooling of forgings and castings
- Concerned with material waste that comes with hogging a part out of bar stock
It often takes some outside-the-box thinking with respect to what your finished part geometry is and the steps it takes to get there. Below are some examples of what a good part candidate may look like and where savings can be realized.
A common misnomer about using a friction welded blank is that even if a part has a large diameter change (i.e. 1.5” shaft to a 6” flange) there will need to be a considerable volume to realize significant material savings.
This is false, especially with some of the more expensive alloys, monels, and aluminum.
For example, a new customer came to AFW that was turning down a 13” OD piece of 6061 aluminum into a 3.5” OD shaft, leaving a remaining 13” flange that was 1.25” thick. Using a friction welded blank a 25 piece volume yielded material savings of over $4,000 and machining throughput was tripled. Read more here.
Through economies of scale, you can imagine what a larger volume part with varying changes in diameters could produce.
Forgings or Castings?
You may also be procuring forgings or casting for your legacy parts. A forged part is often used for reasons such as tensile strength or because it is more desirable to get closer to a near net shape before machining. It may be easy to dismiss replacing a forging with a friction welded blank while saying to yourself “if ain’t broke don’t fix it”.
Again, if you are tasked with looking for gains as part of your responsibilities, know that a friction weldment provides tensile strength and near net shape issues without:
- The long lead time
- Minimum order buys
- Tooling costs
We have written before about some of the courage it takes to change over to a friction weldment but having a part assessed as a worthy candidate can take no time at all. When it comes to making gains in the areas mentioned above you may have to ask yourself if it is worth spending the time to investigate the feasibility of a changeover. We are here to use that time with you to make an educated decision.