Model revision number 11-D is coming on line in 2021. Your engineering team has copied and pasted the same cast aluminum component, and you are looking to source the machining of this part. Your initial investigation finds several companies that offer CNC Grinding and Milling suppliers, that have 5 and even 6-axis capabilities. High tech machining operations that touch almost every area of your part

During your research, you have stumbled onto a machining company that promotes grinding, lapping, milling, and centerless technologies as well. However, they focus only on machining plastics! Why would you consider plastics if they have to be machined?

Let us look at just a few advantages:
  • Weather resistance
  • No corrosion
  • Chemical resistance
  • Dent/Impact resistance
  • NVH Improvements
  • Lighter weight for higher fuel economy
  • Part integration
  • Longer tool life than metals
  • Recyclable

But wait … there’s more.

With highly engineered resins in both thermoplastic and thermoset grades, most cast aluminum housings can be molded net shape for about 95% of the dimensions. Having worked through numerous business cases on products such as; throttle bodies, thermostat housings, ECU’s, fuel pumps, and many more, it has been proven that the as-molded tolerances are well within the application needs. Only in a few dimensions does a plastic housing need to be machined in order to meet some of the demanding tolerances in powertrain applications.

One case study, in Fuel Systems, shows a cast-aluminum fuel pump housing that requires a 60-70 second machining cycle time. That same housing when molded, needs only a 16-second machining cycle time to “finish” the process. Also keep in mind that most aluminum parts are then sent out to be anodized, and this process requires designers to stack up tolerances by as much as 7 additional microns! Therefore, the machining of a plastic housing, has better tolerances than aluminum!
At Helvoet, we have specialized in machining all types of automotive and industrial components. These items have gone into fuel systems, throttle bodies, transmission components, and many others. There are many challenges that have needed to be overcome in these processes, and our nearly 30-years of developments have met those challenges head on.
Before you ask that housing to be quoted in aluminum, give us a call at Helvoet. Let our team of engineers, tooling specialists, and machinists, take a look at the feasibility. What we have found over these past 4-decades, is that most of the dimensions on metal parts are only on the print because they can be met by machining metal. However, when you look at them with a more critical eye, you will find that the application warrants opening those up a bit to meet as-molded plastic capabilities, but not enough to meet the wide aluminum cast dimensions. Keep this in mind, the reason the parts are machined, is not because the application demands it, it’s because the metals have shrink rates and porosity issues, that need to be machined around.
You can continue to put that Band-Aid on your application and use the latest technology in machining. Or, you can design it right from the beginning, and use a Helvoet molded and ‘finished’ component! Cut out 60% of the machining costs, improve your fuel efficiency, find a recyclable option, and take advantage of all the benefits that plastic can bring you.

Call a Helvoet representative today to start your process!