Do you really need to cast your parts, or can you rely exclusively on contract machining instead?
Casting, which consists of pouring a liquid material into a mold and allowing it to solidify, has been a go-to manufacturing solution for thousands of years. But thanks to advances in complex CNC machining tooling and technology, it’s no longer a necessary step in the process of making a part.
If the tooling for your casting has worn out and the cost of maintaining the mold is prohibitively expensive. . .
If you have a legacy part that has surpassed peak production and you don’t need the high-volume manufacturing you once did. . .
If you’re tired of dealing with common casting problems like porosity, structural instability, and long lead times. . .
. . . consider eliminating casting from your manufacturing process entirely!
4 Benefits of Machining Parts Instead of Casting Them
Casting lead times are so long these days (6+ months!) that in the majority of cases, we’re finding that we can machine low-volume parts from solid metal faster, cheaper, and better.
Here’s why you should consider converting parts from casting to contract machining:
- Reduce cost and lead time. Advances in 5-axis machining technology allow us to practice “lights-out manufacturing,” and run our fully automated machines around the clock. Most casting houses have minimum lead times of 2-4 months if you’re lucky. But we can machine those same parts in 6-8 weeks or less. This level of efficiency results in lower costs for customers, too.
- Eliminate minimum run requirements. Low-volume cast parts don’t make sense from a cost perspective because the price of the tooling is so high. CNC machining, on the other hand, is perfect for volumes of 1,000 pieces or fewer. That said, even some of the parts we machine in quantities of 40,000-50,000 are still cheaper than if they had been cast.
- Produce higher quality parts. Parts machined from solid metals are less porous and have better structural integrity than parts cast from liquid materials. When we convert parts from casting to CNC machining, we also have much greater control over the design of the part. We have the opportunity to add or eliminate features that weren’t possible to cast. We can usually achieve tighter tolerances as well.
- Consolidate the supply chain. Parts that are cast almost always require CNC machining, painting, finishing, and potentially even assembly before being delivered to customers. We’re happy to manage the entire supply chain for you, but it may be easier to eliminate casting from the process entirely. When we handle more of the process in-house, customers save money on shipping costs and lead times. There’s also less of a chance that parts will be damaged during shipping and handling.
To Cast or Not to Cast Your Parts?
As a customer-focused contract manufacturing company, we’ll never try to force a solution that doesn’t benefit you. But if we see an opportunity to convert from casting to CNC machining, we’ll present our recommendations for your consideration.
It’s always best to bring us into your process early so we can work through the Design for Manufacturing phase together. Even if we decide that casting the part first is in your best interest, we’ll want to coordinate directly with the casting house from the beginning.
If you’re interested in converting from casting to CNC machining for your parts, let’s chat about how Reata Engineering can save you time and money!