Foundry Design: Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework of a production unit design has two discrete design elements as:

  • An infrastructure and
  • Structural configuration

Infrastructure aspects of the unit under consideration further includes crucial aspects like working guidelines, ways of deploying quality function, overall structure of the organization, location, customer focus and working environment.

However, the structural configuration covers the physical aspects of the manufacturing unit design which further includes planning of factory layout, equipments and machines, Methodologies for manufacturing the products and defining processes involved.

Combining the above two design elements helps in approaching the final productive strategy which also includes the functional elements like product promos, marketing strategies, designing of the product and understanding of manufacturing guidelines.

The need for defining elements:
  • To provide a common platform for analyzing and benchmarking the development of the design process
  • To ensure that all the crucial parameters involved in manufacturing, are well defined as per the customer’s focus
  • To maintain a balance between the application process and usefulness of the outputs, optimum combination of material and fabrication process is opted to minimize the total production cost involved.
  • To find out the best possible solution amongst other competitive possibilities and develop a modular design with simpler manufacturing activities like inspection, testing, assembly, purchasing, designing, maintenance etc
  • It helps to identify the way tools can be used so as to achieve the error free outputs. And use of standard components should be followed to avoid variations in the process methodologies.
  • It also reduces the total number of parts involved in a product and thus reducing the costs involved in manufacturing process. With the reduced number of parts, processing time, development time, handling time, engineering time, testing time etc are all affected. In general, overall intensity of activities involved in the production designing is reduced. For e.g. a part having no relevance with respect to other parts and doesn’t require any special material and is making the system more complicated and complex can be eliminated from the whole system easily. Such an approach to part count elimination is based on selection of manufacturing processes like extrusion, injection molding, precision castings etc.
  • To minimize handling- Positioning, orienting and fixing of a component forms the handling activities of the unit. With the use of symmetrical parts, orientation process is made easier. The alternate solutions are designed to maintain the orientation of the parts.
  • To achieve maximum compliance – Due to variations in dimensions- size and shape or on the accuracy of the device can cause errors. And this error may damage the whole unit. Hence, it is mandatory to include compliance and quality checks in the production process and the designing of the components.
  • To design multi-tasking and multiuse components. Parts having multi use can be used for various applications within a manufacturing unit. Thus, to achieve this tools and components can be divided into two groups. One group includes the parts which can be commonly used in various applications and the other group includes those parts which are exclusive in nature and can’t be used in for any application other than the original one. These multi purpose parts also reduce the overall cost of the system design.
  • Reduced number of fasteners – Due to handling and feeding operations, fasteners increase the cost of production.

Apart from higher maintenance costs involved, they are unable to produce 100% efforts, and so instead of increasing the production efficiency, they reduce the efficiency. Hence, tabs and snap fits should be used in place of fasteners.

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