The commercial turf care market is expected to reach USD 38.2 billion by 2025. The growing trend toward investing more time in one's home leads to a higher interest in outdoor & gardening-related activities.
In an effort to meet this growing demand, a turf care engine manufacturer developed a plan to expand its engine manufacturing facility. This facility manufactures aluminum crank cases and cylinder heads.
The engine, crank case, and cylinder heads are die casting aluminum castings, and therefore have porosity. Interconnected pores will cause a leak path causing fluids to seep from the crank cases and cylinder heads. These parts need to be pressure tight in order to function properly. The manufacturer seals the leak paths through vacuum impregnation.
This company long used an in-house wet vacuum batch impregnation system to process the parts. The batch system aggregated parts from the company’s assembly lines and processed them in large batches. After processing, the parts were dispersed to the next manufacturing step. After much consideration, the company determined the system was not viable for their expansion plans due to:
- Poor recovery-Approximately 16% of the parts still leaked after impregnation.
- Sealant contamination-Cured (solid) sealant remained in through and blind tapped holes (Figure 1).
- Rust-Many parts had cast-in steel liners that would rust in the current process.
Figure 1: Cured (solid) sealant remained in through and blind tapped holes after impregnation causing significant quality issues.
Also, the batch system was a labor-intensive system, requiring operators to move large heavy baskets between stations while on an elevated work platform. Not only did this present a throughput issue, more troublesome was the lack of operator protection from moving pieces of machinery. This was not a safe or viable method to keep up with the growing production.
These issues lead to increased costs, reduced quality and significant safety concerns. The company determined that they needed a more effective, lean and safe porosity sealing solution.
The customer contacted Godfrey & Wing to evaluate their manufacturing dilemma. It was determined that the implementation of a modern, front-loading, in-house vacuum impregnation system would alleviate these challenges. After careful consideration, Godfrey & Wing proposed its Advanced Powertrain impregnation (APi) (Figure 2) system with recoverable sealant for installation at the customer’s facility.
Figure 2: The Advanced Powertrain impregnation (APi ) system uses the Dry Vacuum and Pressure (DVP) process
to push the recoverable sealant deep into the micro porosity.
The APi uses the Dry Vacuum and Pressure (DVP) process, and Godfrey & Wing’s 95-1000AA recoverable sealant. The DVP process pushes the sealant deep into the micro porosity in order to improve sealing effectiveness. The 95-1000AA recoverable sealant is easy to use and remains stable and pure.
The proposed APi solution would deliver multiple benefits to the customer:
- The system is a viable in-house solution that requires 127 square feet that can easily be installed into the customer’s facility without any infrastructure changes. The modular design enables the customer to achieve cellular manufacturing.
- The centrifuge was designed to rotate clockwise and counterclockwise to remove excess sealant. This enables the system to recover residual sealant, reduce sealant carryover to the wash, maintain sealant purity, and preserve part cleanliness.
- Fixtures were designed to maximize the amount of parts per cycle, flush sealant from the blind holes, and protect critical machined features.
- Water is the biggest variable that causes parts to rust because its properties are always changing. Godfrey & Wing analyzed the customer’s water to determine what properties caused the parts to run. A custom-tailored rust preventative was used in the cure tank to eliminate the parts rusting.
Subsequently, the customer attended a demonstration of a Godfrey & Wing impregnation system at the company’s headquarters in Aurora, OH.
This demonstration gave the customer an opportunity to process parts themselves on Godfrey & Wing’s technology. The customer found the system simple and safe to use compared to their current batch system. The part fixtures and platform allows the operator to easily move a part from station to station. Each station starts with the flip of a switch (Figure 3). The man-machine interface keeps the operator safe at all times. Light curtains, insulated panels, and ventless exhaust ensure ongoing operator safety. (Figure 4)
Figure 3: The customer found the APi system simple and easy to use compared to their current batch system. Each station starts with the flip of a switch.
Figure 4: The man-machine interface keeps the operator safe at all times.
The customer integrated the APi (Figure 5) into production quickly and efficiently with no infrastructure changes. The APi is now making a significant impact by answering the following challenges:
- Improved Casting Recovery-The APi system delivers near 100% recovery in a single cycle. This represents over a 10 point improvement from the previous impregnation method.
- Eliminate Sealant Contamination- Cured sealant from tapped and blinded holes is completely eliminated, as the customer runs at 0 PPM.
- Eliminate Rust-The use of the tailored rust preventative eradicates rust in the steel liners, thus improving part quality and eliminating unforeseen scrap.
The cost savings realized allows the customer to have a CapEx recovery of less than 18 months.
Figure 5: The APi was integrated into production quickly and efficiently with no infrastructure changes. The company improved casting recovery and eliminated unforeseen costs with an easy to use system.
As companies continue their search for ways to meet their customer’s growing needs, it will be necessary to challenge old paradigms. This company found great value in doing so by implementing a modern and lean vacuum impregnation system. The company improved casting recovery, and eliminated unforeseen costs with an easy to use system.