Uni-Cast Recipient of Fairchild Controls 2014 Supplier Excellence Award

Uni-Cast was selected by an Airbus subsidiary, Fairchild Controls, as their 2014 Supplier Excellence Award recipient.  Click here to view the Award.

Over a 4 year period (2011-2014) Uni-Cast attained an overall rating average of 99.1%. This was accomplished on state of the art complex aluminum castings.

Uni-Cast, based in Londonderry, New Hampshire, is a manufacturer of sophisticated Aluminum Investment Castings for the Aerospace and Defense Industries.

In addition to producing large intricate castings, Uni-Cast has developed a unique process, SPARK, to manufacture High Property Castings. It is one of only three foundries in North America qualified by Boeing Co to produce castings to their High Property Specifications.

Uni-Cast has a sister company Cera-Met in Bethlehem, PA that is also a leader in the Aluminum Investment Casting Industry.

Uni-Cast Wins Investment Casting Institute’s Casting Contest

Weight, design and complexity were determining factors in choosing investment casting as the method of manufacture for a sensor used in a forward looking infrared system (FLIR) in a military aircraft.

The part, manufactured by Uni-Cast, Londonderry, NH, is one of three winners in the Investment Casting Institute’s Casting contest conducted in conjunction with the l2th World Conference on Investment Casting. The 16″ x l6″ x l4″ component is cast in beryllium-free aluminum (F357). The electro-optics component was designed as an investment casting. The customer’s weight and design requirements dictated investment casting as the only process capable of producing the light-weight geometry at a reasonable price.

The combination of thin walls and complex geometry created manufacturing challenges in wax injection, wax assembly, straightening and inspection. These challenges resulted in adaptive and unique manufacturing techniques, which were used to successfully produce the casting.

Uni-Cast Named Military Winner in 2012 Casting Content

This complex electronics sensor housing was designed as an investment casting due to its complexity and lower manufacturing cost compared to an alternative fabricated assembly of numerous machined components.

Manufactured by Uni-Cast, Inc. of Londonderry, NH, the 24″ x 22″ x l6″ aluminum casting is one of two winners in the military category of the Investment Casting Institutes’s 2012 casting contest.

The near net shape configuration minimizes machining requirements; the thin-walled construction with finned walls assure superior heat dissipation.

The one-piece thin-wall construction features three integral net shape card guide bays. The staggered fin design allows for taller fins spaced closer together for increased heat transfer.

With challenging profile tolerances required throughout, an elaborate inspection fixture was necessary to inspect critical features.

Uni-Cast Wins Military Equipment Award

Investment Casting the only Process that made sense for Uni-Cast, Winner of Military Equipment Award

Sometimes investment casting is the only manufacturing process that makes sense. Such was the case with the winner of the military equipment award in the Investment Casting Institute’s 2006 Casting Contest.

Cast by Uni-Cast of Londonderry, NH, the aluminum alloy (A356-T6) fan housing measures approximately 15″ x 14.75″ x 12.25″ and was manufactured utilizing a stereolithography (SLA) pattern.  It is ultimately used in a filtration system for an expeditionary fighting vehicle.

The investment casting process is the most economical manufacturing method for producing the complex part. Producing the component via other methods would require multiple manufacturing processes to produce a number of individual components that would then need to be assembled.

The part is unique because of its complexity. The wall thickness ranges from 0.090″ to 1.100″ and with many thick sections is poses a challenge for gating and feeding.  In addition, there is a complex set of blades located on the inside of the part.

Uni-Cast wins Aerospace Airframe Award

An air inlet scoop for electronic cooling in a fighter aircraft pod manufactured by Uni-Cast, Londonderry, NH took the Aerospace Airframe Award in the Investment Casting Institute’s 2005 Casting Contest.

The military has often funded and encouraged industry to push the envelope of producibility in order to bring sophisticated product to market faster. While castings are a favorite component of many defense contractors due to high functionality, low weight and high stiffness, impediments to incorporating a complex casting during the development stage includes high tooling costs and long lead time. The 19″ x 18″ x l7″ aluminum component was produced initially from a stereolithography (SLA) prototyping pattern, thus eliminating initial tooling cost. While prototypes were being produced, Uni-Cast was concurrently developing the production injection mold. The mold was made available three months after prototypes were delivered. The customer benefited from the lead time advantage by saving costly program qualification delays.

The components were needed fast, but had to meet strict requirements regarding NDT soundness, surface finish and dimensional accuracy (wall thickness tolerance +/- 0.010″; aerodynamic smoothness 0.007″ per inch for the flow path areas; +/- 0.020 to +/- 0.040 depending on location to datum).

The design incorporated precise interfaces where cast and assembled sheet metal components must meet up.

In order to guarantee results for castings produced from SLA patterns, Uni-Cast designed and built an inspection fixture utilizing a centralized cast datum structure and the drawing tolerances.  Castings were verified and guaranteed to machine without issue.