Queen's Award for Enterprise

Is casting BIW components the answer?

The defence sector continues to look for new and innovative ways to reduce the overall weight of its frontline vehicles, in order to make them more agile as well as increasing their durability. World leading total castings solutions provider, Grainger & Worrall, believes that sand casting Body-in-White (BIW) components is the answer that the defence industry is looking for. Edward Grainger, director at Grainger & Worrall, explains why.

“The defence industry continues to look at ways in which it can reduce the weight of frontline vehicles, while still maintaining occupant safety levels and not driving up products cost. In order to do this, the sector has looked at alternative manufacturing techniques such as constructing composite vehicle parts. However, while the use of materials such as carbon fibre has helped vehicle makers to save weight, the process of building carbon fibre components is very labour intensive and also comes at a premium, especially when compared to using modern sand casting solutions to produce similar vehicle parts.

“Indeed, sand casting offers a highly repeatable, robust and cost-effective manufacturing solution which can deliver the weight saving-benefits the defence sector requires. Utilising the latest evolution of casting methods allows designers a great deal of flexibility in terms of the end component geometry, as well as size, enabling complex lightweight structures to be produced which are incredibly strong and durable.

“Indeed a single casting, which could be up to two metres in length, can be designed to take the place of several pressed or composite parts. This in turn enables a reduction in join numbers, increasing component strength and reducing the need for any additional fixings which add further weight. Actually, casting technology allows components to be tailored to the manufacturer’s individual design specification, allowing parts to be developed to suit most BIW applications.

“Traditionally, aluminium sand casting processes have been honed with powertrain and transmission applications in mind, supporting design engineers’ continual push to develop lighter, more durable, higher-performing components. However, in recent years, these casting methods have needed to evolve to meet the demands for lightweight chassis and vehicle structures for the premium automotive market. With tools such as fluid dynamic simulation, optical and CT scanning coupled with in-depth process knowledge, casting solutions can deliver huge advantages for BIW structures.’

“The opportunity to apply this casting know-how to the defence sector as an innovative solution to its lightweighting needs, must be of high interest. Indeed, modern sand-casting can deliver complex, lightweight structures able to withstand the rigours of frontline usage in a cost-effective timely manner.”

Categories: Castings, Engineering