Panther Metalflow™ is a zinc injection molded assembly process developed by Panther for several of the products we manufacture, as well as other promising applications. With the two largest unique zinc assembly machines in North America, Panther is capable of large zinc assembly shots and canoffer largerdie cast features that otherwise must be machined.
This method of molding components and details together with a zinc alloy material will be applied and marketed by Panther and will enable numerous new opportunities to our customers for better components and assemblies. The method also lowers costs, resulting in a consumer savings of up to 30 percent.
Panther Global Technologies Metalflow utilizes the best of zinc die casting and precision fixturing to produce strong, net-shape assemblies. Metalflow can replace pressing, welding, gluing, staking and crimping. Components to be assembled are placed in a special zinc die casting tool. The tool closes on the components and molten zinc alloy is injected into the cavity under very high pressure. When the tooling opens, the alloy has joined the components into a strong, net-shape assembly. As molten zinc alloy solidifies it shrinks uniformly approximately 0.007” per inch (.17 mm per 25.4 mm). This creates a very strong bond between the solidified alloy and components placed in the die cast tooling.
Zinc die castings can be created with very complex configurations. As a result, assemblies created with Panther Metalfow can include features that would otherwise have to be machined. Dissimilar materials can be assembled. Even plastics can be cast into assemblies using Metalflow. These benefits combined with production rates up to 800 pieces per hour add up to cost savings over traditional assembly and machining methods.
To understand this unique process it is best to look at some examples.
The first example is a link arm assembly. The original design of this assembly used two machined eyelets that were welded onto a steel rod. The customer required exact phasing of one eyelet to the other which proved to be difficult with a welded assembly. The entire assembly then had to have a protective finish applied to it to prevent corrosion. Using Panther Metalflow the two machined eyelets were eliminated. A precision tool was manufactured to die cast the eyelet terminations directly onto a plated shaft. Phasing of the first eyelet to the second was accomplished directly in the tooling. No secondary finish was required on the assembled link arm. The customer was able to eliminate a number of production issues. The high production rates and reduced part count added up to a significant cost savings over the original assembly method. The zinc alloy assembly proved to be stronger than the original assembly.
The second example is a multi-port piston pump carrier. Here five machined components are assembled – 4 brass pistons and a ground, hardened center hub. The components are loaded into a precision tool and assembled using Panther Metalflow. The true position of the brass pins to the center hub is held within 0.0039 (0.01mm). Windows were cast into the assembly to reduce both weight and cost. The delicate nature of the small brass pins made pressing them into a metal carrier virtually impossible without damage. Using Metalflow, there is no press fitting required as the assembly is created directly in the tool.