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Facility Spotlight: Lake Forest
Designed for speed, agility, and flexibility, the 115,000 square foot die casting plant manufactures more than 144 million parts a year for a number of industries including automotive, consumer electronics, hardware, telecommunications, and healthcare—and it does so with low-cost energy. In the spring of 2016, Dynacast Lake Forest initiated an energy project that utilizes Tesla’s PowerPack batteries. The modular battery blocks store energy for the plant to use on-demand during peak hours and is integral to their overall green initiative. During this same time, Dynacast Lake Forest opened a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Tijuana, Mexico that serves as an extension of the Southern California plant.
Speed and Agility
Dynacast Lake Forest is not only conscious of their energy consumption, but they are constantly improving their lean manufacturing process. Their facility optimization layout is a carefully thought-out plan for storage and production that standardizes the precision die casting process. Their melt-at-the-machine process limits waste and allows them to work with a larger selection of materials, including K-Alloy, ZA-27, 413, and 360. Dynacast Lake Forest is focused primarily on multi-slide zinc, 80T – 200T conventional zinc, and 135T – 500T Aluminium die casting.
The seasoned management and operations team has looked at every aspect of the manufacturing process with the mindset of improvement and modernization. Lake Forest is committed to creating the highest quality parts with the least amount of waste possible, which starts with the flow of material.
Design & Tooling in Lake Forest
Dynacast Lake Forest has an experienced engineering and tooling team—several with tenure over 25 years—with global resources readily available to tackle any project. Utilizing the PRO-E design automation software and MAGMA Mould flow simulation the team is committed to designing the best component possible while also providing full DFM to ensure parts will succeed in mass quantities. Their in-house tool room is an added bonus, with CNC milling, EDM, wire EDM, and grinding equipment on-site, tools can be repaired faster and projects can be delivered on time.
Secondary Operations & Quality Control
As Labour costs in Asia rise, the new Tijuana facility provides further access to skilled Labour in Mexico for metal finishing and secondary operations, including CNC machining, tapping, reaming, and drilling. With a dynamic and highly skilled workforce in Mexico and Southern California, Dynacast Lake Forest is able to provide better service and state-of-the-art technology to new and existing customers. The Southern California facility hosts a local, high-tech supply base that was once a legacy of the aerospace industry leaving behind experienced platers and secondary operations in the area, providing a more cost-effective part price for Lake Forest customers.
Post casting, the Lake Forest team has the knowledge and tools to complete all final product testing including electrical, RF and leak testing. They are capable of visually inspecting parts with high-speed cameras and X-Rays. They also have a state-of-the-art ultrasonic DÜRR advanced cleaning system that leaves parts with an organic residue of <100µg and metallic particle sizes <400µm. The alcohol-based solvent has a cycle time of 1.57 seconds per part. This step is imperative for customers with stringent cleanliness requirements.
Putting Lake Forest to the Test
Dynacast Lake Forest delivers precision die casting services to a variety of different industries all with unique requirements and design needs. They are known for adapting their processes and creating new designs to manufacture even the most complex parts. For example, a high-end golf club manufacturer wanted to create an innovative putter. The Dynacast Lake Forest engineering team assisted with the part design and they created the putter head components using multi-slide ZA-8 and cold chamber ZA-27 which provided the ideal densities required for the final product. Lake Forest was the only die caster in North America that had the ability to cast both multi-slide ZA-8 and cold chamber ZA-27. Apart from material selection, the customer also loved Lake Forest’s proximity to their headquarters in Carlsbad, California, which allowed for seamless colLabouration between the engineering teams to refine the part geometry for mass production in real-time. The customer’s contract manufacturer and plater were both based within a 100-mile radius of the plant, which helped to reduce cost.
Another Dynacast Lake Forest customer had the need for a highly cosmetic polished part. The well-known electric car company wanted to give their drivers an experience like none other—a polished metal handle. The mirror-like cosmetic finish is not an easy task but with their network of certified polishing and plating vendors, Dynacast Lake Forest was able to provide the quality service and high volume needs within a short distance of the Lake Forest plant.
All-In Die Casting Manufacturer
With a dynamic local and international customer base, Dynacast Lake Forest continues to improve their facility and manufacturing processes to provide the best service and the best part design for any industry. Their success over the years can be attributed to their experienced management team that continues to provide valuable resources and program management, as well as their dedicated engineering team that provides innovative and cost-effective tool and part designs. With the addition of the Tijuana plant and the Tesla power system, Dynacast Lake Forest has proven they are dedicated to creating an unmatched die casting business that will be more competitive than ever in the coming years.