Lends Design Support for Flight Instrument Housing
assisted a leading aeronautical instrumentation manufacturer
design a flight instrument housing which takes full advantage of
the investment casting process. The final result achieved reductions
in weight and cost, as well as an aesthetically pleasing housing.
The instrument manufacturer’s design engineers initially prototyped
the housing from machined bar stock. After functionality and package
design were determined, the engineers searched for a cost effective
manufacturing process. At this point they turned to ICI’s
engineering team for their expertise in investment casting design
After an initial study of the housing’s requirements and package
specifications, the ICI team came up with a 3 in. x 3 in.
x 1 in., A356 aluminum housing with an integral heat sink. Investment
casting resulted in a net shape design; combining three machined
components into two, and eliminated all machining except for threaded
holes. The housing is cast to precision tolerances (+/-0.003”
on selective dimensions), has an as-cast surface finish of 84-110
RMS, zero draft on all surfaces, wall thickness down to 0.030 in.,
and a precision as-cast fit.
The investment caster delivered the housing ready for electronics
assembly complete with machining and surface finishing for a total
manufacturing solution. Investment casting resulted in a housing
that was 15% lighter than the machined prototype with a cost reduction
of between 30% and 40%.