High Pressure Casting Aavid Allcast’s core service offering is high-pressure aluminum die casting. Die casting is a versatile process for producing metal parts by forcing molten metal under pressure into steel molds or dies. During this process, molten metal is poured into a “sleeve” by automatic ladles. Afterwards, a hydraulic plunger forces the metal into the locked die at high pressures. Using this process, Aavid Allcast can produce complex shapes with a high degree of accuracy and repeatability. Aavid Allcast has invested in equipment that has automated much of the die casting process. The ladling, lubrication of the dies and quenching are all automated parts of the Aavid Allcast process. In addition, Aavid Allcast has invested in sophisticated software that allows for constant monitoring of velocity during the process, hydraulic pressure and other data that is used to adjust the die casting process assuring consistent castings for each component. This effectively eliminates the “trial and error” approach used by other casters. Aavid Allcast is able to produce parts from the simple to the very sophisticated, although it focuses on the more sophisticated parts where its technological and production capabilities give the Company a competitive advantage. Aavid Allcast is capable of producing precision aluminum castings ranging from a few ounces up to 40 pounds in size, and has presses ranging from 400 to 1800 tons. Allcast’s production capabilities allow for high-speed production of complex shapes with very close tolerances. By producing castings with tight tolerances, it reduces the amount of finishing work necessary for the customer to achieve a desired look to the component, ultimately saving money. In addition, Aavid Allcast has the capability of directly casting into a component other elements such as holes (eliminating punching) or threads (eliminating machining), also reducing costs for customers. Aavid Allcast works exclusively with aluminum, which is lightweight and allows for stability with thin walls or for very complex shapes. Aluminum is chosen by customers for its corrosion resistance, mechanical properties and its high thermal and electrical conductivity. Aavid Allcast has extensive casting experience, and employs high-quality equipment and aluminum alloy mixes in order to ensure strength and consistency throughout the metal’s substrate. Value-Added Services In addition to its primary casting services, Aavid Allcast offers a variety of complimentary, value-added services for its customers. These additional services increase the quality of Allcast’s finished products while at the same time serve as a differentiating business development tool. Aavid Allcast’s value-added services include a full suite of machining capabilities including milling, drilling, tapping, turning, and CNC machining. Allcast’s current ownership and management team invested heavily in increasing the Company's value-added machining capabilities following their acquisition of the Company in 2010. Quality and efficiency were increased significantly through a focus on automation, and a significant amount of new machining services were added. Aavid Allcast’s machine shop is currently four times the size it was in 2010. In addition to machining, Aavid Allcast also offers a variety of finishing services to improve the surface structure of its end products. Finishing services offered by Aavid Allcast include shot blasting, tumbling, vibratory deburring, and heat treating. Aavid Allcast also uses a proprietary surface treatment that allows for significantly better paint adhesion on finished products compared to untreated aluminum. Engineering and Design Aavid Allcast works with customers throughout the manufacturing process in order to ensure a product’s design is structurally sound and able to be manufactured as efficiently as possible. The engineering group begins with gathering information on the casting needs of the customer. This will include a review of the part’s application as well as any necessary commercial issues, including finish. The engineering group works seamlessly with the tooling group to design the mold. Oftentimes, the team will be in contact with the customer during this process to discuss any cost saving ideas that could result from part modification. Once the mold is designed, a casting process simulation is done utilizing sophisticated software. Allcast utilizes advanced Part Flow Analysis Simulations prior to mold design to test a die’s ability to produce a high-quality product. This technology, which runs through MAGMA / Flow3D software, provides a 3D simulation of how the molten aluminum will interact with a die, allowing Aavid Allcast to identify potential issues before production runs. MAGMA / 3D Flow software provides Allcast the ability to analyze fill temperatures, velocity, air pressure, air entrapment, solidification and distortion prior to production. Once the simulations have been run and all parties sign off on the mold design, construction of tooling is begun. Engineering involvement does not stop once the tooling has been designed. As a component is continually cast, the die ages and it is necessary to actively review the die to ensure that operations continue to reduce defects and minimize scrap. Quality Assurance Aavid Allcast employs a wide variety of advanced quality control practices in order to ensure aluminum castings meet customer specifications. Aavid Allcast utilizes the most advanced systems available to measure the quality of its products, and has implemented strict quality procedures at every point of the product lifecycle. The Company’s Visi-trak software and state-of-the-art measuring equipment monitor the production process continually. Visi-trak software is installed at each casting center and monitors production. In addition, data is collected by production supervisors who monitor results for quality metrics that are provided. Constant monitoring of the production process is important because repeatability of the casting process is the key to minimizing costs while simultaneously maximizing quality. Aavid Allcast’s commitment to quality is reflected in its associates. All operators are given work instructions for each job, and tracked on touch screen work stations positioned throughout the production floor. In addition, associates are trained to visually inspect every product continuously throughout production runs. The Company received its ISO 9001:2008 recertification in the fall of 2013.