Ahead of Engine Expo North America, Engine Technology International chats with Al Hetke, technical consultant, Kyowa
What are the biggest trends in your sector of the automotive industry at the moment? Kyowa is a precision machining company, which serves as a one stop shop for the automotive design engineering community in their early product design efforts through support in the design, development and prototype phase right down to low volume production. The trend in the industry has been and is currently intensifying to reduce development time and product weight with lower cost and quality as a given. The trend is supported by Kyowa’s involvement from design concept to low volume production using the latest computer technology and software to support the efforts. In addition, Kyowa is affiliated with a Japanese Prototype & Low Volume Aluminum Casting company that has developed a proprietary aluminum sand casting process specializing in complex high value added castings achieving 1mm wall thickness in designated areas and 2mm wall thickness as a rule if appropriate – in other words “Let the Product Drive the Process” not the other way around. The company considers Powertrain, Chassis and Structural Components like Nodes their challenge and expertise.
What are the biggest challenges? The biggest challenge is Weight Reduction and Material Properties. This challenge is forcing the OEM’s to consider all options to reduce weight like combining product functions in one cast component, material changes and light weighting through thin wall applications. All these options are under consideration in the early product design phase with each presenting its own set of challenges. Kyowa is in the position to work with our customers on all options as well as some that are proprietary like thin wall aluminum casting to achieve the objective of lower weight. Improved mechanical and metallurgical properties are significant contributors toward component weight reduction. For example, higher strength and ductility automatically enables the designer to reduce wall thickness up to the limit of the process thus a 1mm process limit opens the door for significant weight reduction opportunity. Aluminum is currently the material of choice in both extruded, sheet and cast form. The properties of cast aluminum are influenced by the solidification rate the component experienced during the manufacturing process. Thin wall designs support and enhance the solidification rates and thus result in improved metallurgical & mechanical properties.
How are you developing your technology to meet these challenges? Kyowa is constantly up-dating its machining capability and flexibility to stay abreast with the rapid technological changes in digital machine control and cutting tool technology. On the machining side of the business flexibility and rapid turn-around are the trademark of Kyowa where management attention is never ending. The thin wall sand casting technology offers the single biggest opportunity of reducing casting weight combined with the inherent flexibility of sand casting to produce highly complex components at high production rates. This technology exhibits opportunities of greater efficiencies in process and conversion to a cost effective production friendly casting process.
What technology will you be displaying at the show? Kyowa will be displaying examples of machined complex castings with features not commonly expected in these components. In addition, Kyowa will display castings exhibiting thin wall cast sections demonstrating the weight reduction potential. The technical and sales staff will be on hand to answer any and all questions regarding Kyowa the Company.
12 August 2016
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