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3 min read

EV components: Surviving the valley of death with sand casting

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When it comes to producing components for electric vehicles that are lighter (creating lighter, faster and more cost efficient vehicles), one of the key issues from concept through to mass production is the ability to survive the ‘valley of death’.

Prototyping with sand casting can help engineers cross this valley, providing innovative solutions which take components from ‘the art of the possible’ through to proof of concept. But how?

The EV casting challenges of lighter, faster, cleaner

Making electrical vehicle components such as EDU housings, battery trays or large structural FUBs/ RUBs represents a huge challenge for casting engineers. Parts for electric vehicles need to be lightweight in order to increase range and reduce material cost, but they still need to retain strength and other key material properties such as ductility and corrosion resistance.

This ‘lighter and faster’ challenge requires huge innovation; not only in the approach of engineers and manufactures; but also in casting design and process methods - including in the component topology, complexity and material properties used in the part.

The engineering challenge for producing EV components includes the following often complex and interdependent considerations.

  • How can I make the EV part required?
  • Will the part meet integrity and specification required?
  • Will the part be within budget?
  • How do I achieve a lighter, faster, cleaner electric vehicle part with sand casting?
  • Can you achieve MLP properties?
  • Can the part be made quickly?

To answer these questions, there a number of changes which can be made to part design, part topology, aluminium alloy selection and sand casting process design. Changing each and any of these can optimise an EV part’s function and material properties; as well as help maximise project cost and lead time.

Read more: What role will sand casting play in the future of transportation?

Read more: How sand casting will help solve EV barriers of battery range and cost

The role of sand casting in solving EV engineering challenges

The journey from the 'art of the possible' to reliable, upscaled production of a complex metal automotive component can be a difficult, risky and expensive path for engineers and manufacturers to navigate, particularly in electric vehicle manufacture. Many projects don't survive the Valley of Death.

But sand casting can provide the solution to navigation through the valley of innovation and over the valley of death. Its ability to manipulate material composition and properties, part structure and process design enables moving from design theory to 'lighter, faster and cleaner production' much more likely, with less risk and at greater speed.

Prototyping with the sand casting process, including 3D sand additive printing is fast, allowing for various iterations and innovations in design and production to be made quickly, and at a relatively low cost. This gives the necessary versatility and high tech capability required in EV automotive projects.

Rapid prototyping delivers proof of concept, design validation and safety testing quickly, as well as the ability to alter or optimise structural part designs. This allows us to replicate fully the production intent ahead of mass production, getting production started very quickly.

To find out more about how sand casting can meet the innovation required in EV prototyping, read our free eBook, Making EV Parts with Sand Casting.

Read the EV ebook