Design is the key for Fishercast
Fishercast’s facility in Welshpool serves as the European centre for the company’s global operations in the production of precision zinc die castings.
Fishercast has strengthened its position within the industry through the technical ability of its employees, and the quality, reliability, and cost of its products and services. The company designs, manufactures, and maintains the tooling to produce zinc die castings. Working to close tolerances on the tool construction means that zinc castings produced offer a high amount of precision and repeatability over long production runs. Many components produced by Fishercast are net-shape and flash free, which are ready to use, and require no secondary trimming or deburring. Castings are produced in a variety of complex shapes with intricate detail. Using centre gating techniques, that distribute alloy uniformly to the outside of components, and multiaction tooling capable of producing gear and thread forms unavailable in any other conventional process.
Zinc die-casting is popular as a costeffective production process and can be used in a diverse range of applications. The company uses its own Fishertech high speed automatic machines, which have a unique centre gate punch out feature to maximise output. Though encouraging innovation, a lean manufacturing ethos together with attention to detail in tooling design, manufacture and maintenance Fishercast has been able to reduce overhead costs. The company is at the forefront of converting expensive machined casting materials such as aluminium to net shape as cast zinc, which increases precision within products as well as reducing costs. Fishercast’s UK operation in Welshpool occupies over five acres, with a construction facility of 32,000 square feet. This scale, coupled with the company’s expertise, allows Fishercast to offer a full portfolio of products and services, from small to intermediate zinc diecasting, as well as metal joining and component assembly services. Using Fishertech equipment brings the competitive advantage of rapid production cycle and response times, as well as ensuring dimensional accuracy and repeatability.
Fishercast’s UK office deals with Europe and Asia, and is the market leader in zinc casting production. The company’s market position means it receives large amounts of orders each year, with some reaching up to three million in volume. The company deals with clients in the automotive, electronics, telecommunications, and manufacturing industries. The popularity of zinc alloys used in the production of castings has been encouraged through the versatility and cost effectiveness of the material. Equally, zinc alloys can be used in an array of die-casting applications, as they hold the mechanical properties of medium strength metals. The advantages of these properties are the castability and finishing characteristics achievable with the alloy. Fishercast has used injected metal assembly technology (IMA) for over 60 years in small component joining and assembly production, which reduces manufacturing costs and maintains high quality finishes. Use of IMA reduces problems traditionally associated with multi-step a sembly processes, particularly in regards to adhesive bonding, brazing, and swaging. Fishercast uses IMA to combine precision tooling services with the metal alloys into a ready-to-use assembly, with the alloy being used to cast one or more of the individual components during the joining process. This in turn eliminates fabrication and material costs, as well as reducing the company inventory. Equally, IMA allows the use of a diverse array of small component materials, for instance ceramics, glass fibres, and paper.
As well as the vast amount of IMA services Fishercast provides, the company also offers secondary and bespoke processes, associated with drilling, tapping, machining, and assembly. Finishes can be applied to castings to increase corrosion resistance, which is both aesthetically appealing, and improves the mechanical properties of the component. These finishes meet all the requirements of the ROHS, WEEE and End of Life vehicle directives. Fishercast uses flow-modelling software to simulate the die fill characteristics to identify potential concerns so that these can be eliminated at the design stage. Finite element analysis (FEA) modelling enables engineers to make recommendations to help maximise components or assembly application for function, castability and economy within pre-production.
The company focuses on ensuring the quality of its products and services. This can be seen in Fishercast’s commitment to continuous quality improvement, as accredited by the TS 16494:2002 and ISO 14001 awards. The company also has an advanced product quality planning programme, which aims at challenging fixed ideas, alongside the maxims: ‘do it now, no excuses’; and ‘use your wisdom, not your money’. This emphasis on improvement has resulted in the Fishercast ‘Think Zinc’ presentation, which encourages clients to consider the potential advantages of zinc die-casting.
Fishercast aims to continue its dominance within the castings industry through encouraging clients to use zinc alloys and zinc-based production processes. Through emphasis on, and continued improvements in, lean manufacturing techniques, the company will continue to produce innovative high volume casting solutions.
Products: Precision zinc casters
Sites: Wales, UK