Investment Casting Demo

aPriori supports a broad range of over 270 mechanical electronics and secondary processes out of the box. In addition, aPriori can be configured to support specialized customer requirements utilizing our flexible enterprise cloud platform.

This demo video will introduce you to Investment Casting in aPriori which includes ceramic molds, metal casting, sand casting, and more.



Tobias Tauber: Hello everyone, and welcome to the textual case on Investment Casting. My name is Tobias Tauber, I’m a Customer Success Manager at aPriori, and I’m joined by Mark Bakuniec, Senior Business Consultant, who will actually demonstrate and show us our news on Investment Casting. I’m more here to guide the show.

Investment Casting Cost Estimation Process Group

Mark Bakuniec: Okay, thank you very much Tobias. So yeah, the session today is the textual case about our new cost model Investment Casting, we’re gonna jump right in. Couple of slides and then we’re gonna show the software live and of course, the Investment Casting Cost Estimation process group. So in general aPriori supports a broad range of over 270 mechanical electronics and secondary processes out of the box. And in addition, can be configured to support specialized customer requirements utilizing our flexible enterprise cloud platform. This presentation will introduce you to Investment Casting in aPriori, which is one of our newest manufacturing cost models in the aPriori 2020 R1 release.

So Investment Casting in general is of course, and this is something that we try to achieve with all of our cost models broadly applicable across multiple industries such as automotive and aerospace to name a couple, and also multiple part types. We always try to represent the manufacturing steps and process steps included in the process group and in the manufacturing when we create a new cost model. And in the past, before we had an out-of-the-box cost model for Investment Casting, we did have some customers who had customer-specific configurations to support Investment Casting, and typically, of course, our newest cost model is more complete than some of the previous complex parts customer configurations. Personally, I have one customer who actually has switched from their customer configuration to the aPriori out-of-the-box Investment Casting cost model.

Casting Methods: Ceramic Molds, Metal Casting, Sand Casting and More

MB: So on the bottom, we can see on a high level how the Investment Casting process works. For some of you who might not be absolute experts on this process, we have basically a tree pattern consisting of wax parts that are made. The second step would be to have a shell-making process, so the wax pattern is dipped in a ceramic slurry to create a ceramic shell around these wax patterns, then we basically have the actual Investment Casting process where molten metal is poured into the ceramic shell and the last step would be to take the parts out of the ceramic shell by basically breaking it, and then of course, there are some secondary processes to take the single parts off the tree, and then potentially some inspection and other processes that follow. In the middle of the screen we can see some typical parts that are created with the Investment Casting process group. So in general, a broad range of different materials is supported. For those of you who joined the road map presentation this morning by Julie, we do on the roadmap, have some extensions planned for this cost model to add new materials and of course, in general, enhance the cost model since this is the first version that we have created in 2020-R1.

MB: On the right-hand side, we can see a typical routing, so the investment cast process, as we can see, consists of quite a few different process steps, and we’ll go into this in more detail once we’re in the actual software. One more thing I would like to mention is this cost model is separately licensed, so if you’re interested in having this cost model in your deployment, please contact your sales director, or your customer success manager. In general, maybe not every one of you is using aPriori every day, so the general concept is to use the 3D CAD model to extract the geometric cost drivers, perform a manufacturing simulation, and this can be done across digital factories, and we from aPriori provide 87 different regional data libraries to support, of course, different use cases within the companies that we work with.

How Important Your Manufacturing Process is to Increased Profits

MB: This Investment Casting cost model, just like any of the other existing cost models, provides value potentially across the whole product development process. So it begins potentially in sales to win more bids at the right margin. In R&D and Design, it’s all about identifying cost-effective solutions, lead times and hitting your design to cost targets as well as, of course, getting designed for manufacturability feedback. In sourcing, reducing your outsourced costs by having fact-based negotiation to support your buyers when they are working with suppliers. Optimize manufacturing and supporting value engineering processes to continuously improve products and our costs with these products. Our general goal with aPriori is to avoid the value engineering process and to do the things right from the beginning. So when we’re designing our product, make sure we have a cost-effective manufacturable part and so that we can avoid having to do value engineering activities after the product is released to market.

Investment Casting Cost Estimation Demo in aPriori

And with that, we will jump into the actual demonstration of the Investment Casting cost model. So we are in aP Pro, and I’m going to be costing this part live. So most of you will probably know to create a cost calculation, we require the 3D CAD model, we can see this example here, and on the left-hand side, we have our cost guide where we have to answer four simple questions as a user. The process group is already set to Investment Casting, we choose one of our digital factories, in this case, I’m gonna switch, and here you can see these 87 different regional data libraries that I was talking about, and we were going to cost this part in the aPriori USA factory.

As with all of our cost models, we provide a broad range of different materials out of the box, this will be extended in the future versions of aPriori to support additional materials, but currently you can see already this broad range of different materials that we have out of the box in our software, and of course, we can also create as a customer specific materials that might not be represented in this out-of-the-box list. The last thing we have to enter is an annual production volume, this one is high volume; we are going to make 5000 of these parts, aPriori will assume a production lifetime and a batch size. We are ready to click on the cost button, so just to summarize in 30 seconds, you can answer these four questions for those of you who don’t work with aPriori every day. And now aPriori conducts the manufacturing simulation, looking at the geometric cost drivers and will optimize the manufacturing routing, and in a few seconds will display the cost and the results of the simulation.

I would like to mention before we go into the details of the actual Investment Casting process, that I’m using PMI information here for this CAD model. That means that aPriori can automatically understand according to the tolerances, etc. in this CAD model, where do we have the machining that is necessary, so we can see how aPriori has automatically associated these yellow surfaces and some of the holes that we have in the part with the machining operation, and this is due to the tolerances that we have in the 3D CAD model. If I use the geometry analysis tool and select the roughness, we can see that we have a roughness of 0.6 RA on these surfaces coming directly and being pulled in directly from the 3D CAD model to streamline the process and for aPriori to understand which surfaces are machined, and which surfaces are cast.

So if we expand the casting process on the bottom, we can see already similar to the screenshot we just had in the PowerPoint, how we have the many different process steps that the Investment Casting process consists of. We will go into more detail in just a second into these different process steps. First, I would like to highlight the geometric cost drivers on the left-hand side. So these cost drivers are very similar to the other casting process groups that we have in aPriori. Of course, things that are of interest for costing a casting are things like the thickness of the parts, so here we can see the average thickness, the minimum thickness and the maximum thickness of this component. Very important is of course also the parting line, here we can see the suggested draw direction that aPriori has extracted from the final part and connected with that also the parting line for this component.

And then we have, of course, some holes in this component as well, you can see we have these eight different holes with all of the attributes of the hole, is it a blind hole, is it through the part? What diameter does this hole have, etc? And based upon this information being pulled from the 3D CAD model, aPriori is then capable, with the cost models that are being applied in the background and the logic to then simulate the routing and of course also create a cost calculation, which we can see displayed on the top right-hand side in the cost summary. So this part is currently costing $42. We also calculate the capital investment associated with this product when we do a simulation. On a high level, when we simulate an Investment Casting part, the routing consists of many manufacturing steps, and for Investment Casting, we will simulate the wax pattern.

We can see that on the top here, we do have some bench up operations such as the tree assembly operation here, then we have the actual shell making process, depending on production volumes, aPriori will also automatically include things like a robotic assist for this process. So if we have a fairly high production volume, aPriori will include these kinds of process steps, and then we also have, of course, the actual molding, the metal pouring, and then the cleaning of the part, knocking it out, shock blasting it, belt sanding it, and then some actual secondary processes such as an x-ray inspection and deep penetrant testing. As always aPriori will also suggest a machine for each process step, so here on the right-hand side, you can see which machine has been selected, and of course, we have many different machines in our database, so if we go into the machine selection, we can see out of the box how aPriori will provide multiple different machines, depending on which process step it is, we will have more or less of these machines, and of course, we can also, as a customer, create our own machines in this database.

For the experts utilizing this cost model, we have also included typical process set of options that you might want to go into, and again, this is typically something that only experts will do. So here we can see some of the options that we have to refine the costing process, for example, aPriori will automatically suggest the number of wax patterns per layer on the tree and the number of layers per tree. So all together we have 35 parts being made in this tree at the same time. Now, of course, we can as an expert go in and refine these assumptions as always. So if I say I want to have five wax patterns per layer, we would be making 25 parts now on this tree, and if I re-cost the part aPriori within a few seconds will give us an updated calculation. This more or less concludes, as soon as we see the updated cost calculation here, the demonstration for today, and we can see how the aPriori has optimized it, so if we change the amount of layers, the cost for this component has gone up, but this is the, of course, the capability of being able to refine the options, etcetera. This more or less concludes the Investment Casting presentation, and I’d like to open it up for questions if you have any.

TT: So all of the textual cases are meant to be in a way that there’s approximately 15-minute duration of demonstration, there are eight or nine in parallel, so we would encourage you to also take advantage of that and move on to the other sessions as needed, and if there are no questions, then thank you very much for your attendance. And enjoy the rest of the conference.

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