Due to its corrosion resistance and castability of stainless steel, many stainless steel parts are designed for industrial applications, such as marine & boat parts, food machinery components, architectural hardware, etc. For complex stainless steel components less than 60kgs, usually lost wax stainless steel investment casting process is suggested, which is simply called stainless steel casting process. If you are new to the stainless steel casting process, you should know how to effectively design your part(s) for optimal manufacturability here.
Design for Manufacturability
Optimizing your component design to take advantage of the stainless steel casting process is the key to seeing a return on your investment. Whether your project is best suited for stainless steel investment casting process, it’s best to discuss your component with an experienced stainless steel foundry like CFS. In other words, engineers should approach each project with the intent of designing for optimal manufacturability.
Design for manufacturing (DFM) is a core methodology that ensures that stainless steel cast parts perform to specification and reduce the need for secondary operations. Considering that these operations can often represent as much as 80% of the component cost, it’s important to minimize them during the design stage.
DFM is more than just a concept—it’s a way to remove cost and eliminate inefficiencies before your project moves towards production. In this blog, we’ll guide you to design your stainless steel cast component to get the most ROI.
Selection of Stainless Steel Alloys
In terms of stainless steel casting, there are various stainless steel alloys could be selected for your design, such as 303, 304/304L, 316/316L, 17-4 ph, 2205, 2207, etc. So, the design should understand the differences of these stainless steel alloys. For example, for food machinery application, either 304 or 316 stainless steel casting can be used, note that 316 stainless steel casting is more expensive, if you have limited budget, then you can use 304 stainless steel to cast your part. But for marine application, 316 stainless steel should be selected for its maximum corrosion resistance, in CFS Foundry, almost all the marine and boat parts are cast from 316 stainless steel. And for cookware hardwares, 17-4 ph stainless steel casting is the superior casting grade.
Reduce Weight and Wall Thickness
Before starting your design, you should have a clear concept that the weight of the part is the mainy factor to affect stainless steel casting cost. Due to the higher material cost of stainless steel alloys, the casting cost of stainless steel parts is also higher than other metal parts. So, to save cost, it is ideally to reduce the weight as possible as you can. But how to reduce weight of the part? You can consider to reduce the wall thickness while not changing the shape of the part. Keep in mind that the weight reducing should not affect the fuction of the part, otherwise it will be meaningless.
Consider Draft Angle and Tolerance
When designing your component, it’s important to keep in mind the achievable draft angles and tolerances for your project’s materials to avoid delays in redesigns. For exact tolerances, generally tolerance ISO 8062 CT5-CT6 level can be achieved for your design.
With achievable draft angles and tolerances in mind, you’re better equipped to avoid engineering unnecessary cost into the design. Too often, companies will request exacting tolerances and minimal draft angles while it is not practial to reach after stainless steel casting process. As a result, their castings need to be further machined for correct assembly.
So, take a more look at your design. Determine the critical dimensions of your component and mark out the tolerances required, so that the supplier can know whether post machining is needed, which will help to save cost.
In summary, if the part is new designed, remember to contact the stainless steel foundry to discuss your design for optimization. This process will make your stainless steel part more functional and cost saving. If you have a stainless steel casting design, pls following our stainless steel casting design tips or contact us to discuss in detail!