Senior Flexonics Partners with GKN to Push the Innovation Envelope Across the Manufacturing Industry

Overview/Background

Senior Flexonics, a division of Senior plc, is a business dedicated to innovation. As a manufacturer that’s focused on highly engineered components for land vehicles, the business has a rich history of operational excellence derived from respect, trust and a continuous desire to improve and actively looks for new ways to optimize logistics, production and delivery of its parts. As such, utilizing new technologies and building strategic partnerships are key areas of focus.

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Senior Flexonics focussed on highly engineered components for land vehicles (Source: iStock/Blondsteve)

The Challenge

Senior Flexonics’ approach for prototype development is multi-faceted and complex, and often requires the use of prototype investment castings to construct larger complex assemblies which need to have the perfect balance of quality, speed and price to meet the needs of the market. An imbalance of any of these facets can be a challenge for any business. In particular, ensuring that the quality of the casting meets its standards is a main objective. As such, the quality of early evaluation of parts is critical.

Senior Flexonics evaluated several different options available for prototype investment casting which ranged from outsourcing the part domestically in the United States with prototype casting houses, which would offer faster turnaround times but at a higher price-per-part, or outsourcing the part overseas to cost competitive locations, which would offer a competitive price-per-part but a longer turnaround time.

The Solution

Senior Flexonics, through their existing relationship with GKN, discovered GKN’s innovative blend of materials, metal 3D printing technology and manufacturing expertise. Senior Flexonics engaged with GKN to see if the company could help them meet their quality, speed and pricing requirements and the results reflected what was needed. The utilization of metal 3D printing technology to replace prototype investment castings was immediately identified as a key opportunity for both companies.

The Results

By partnering with GKN, Senior Flexonics has streamlined its prototype development process while keeping costs in check. It works side-by-side with the team at GKN to ensure that part designs and materials meet their needs while holding true to their required quality standards. Together, both companies are pushing the envelope of what’s possible in manufacturing.

GKN’s knowledge in functional porosity proven in billion parts delivered into automotive and industrial found use in a development for a high productivity process. GKN partnered with EOS and developed a high productivity process where both companies brought in their knowledge in either material and heat treatment or in laser strategies. This ends up in a performance increase up to 3,5 times faster than normal processes which will have considerable benefits for serial production.

The partnership between Senior Flexonics and GKN seeks to advance the industry and develop advanced products. Together, the companies are experimenting with lightweighting to reduce costs and improve turnaround speed for part production, while testing a new metal powder called High Productivity Powder. This rigorous testing will evaluate suitability for application, and ensure seamless integration and value creation for end users. For more information on the High Productivity Powder produced by GKN itself, please click here.