Tractor with trailer of Claas company drives on a road in an agricultural area

Tractor AXION 800 from the company Claas (source:


Big Machines Need Big Prototypes. ACTech is Ready to Deliver.

Jon Cooper

ACTech’s unique ability to cast and adapt large, heavy-duty rapid prototypes in various materials is helping to fill the gap facing industries like agriculture.

With our unique ability to cast and adapt large, heavy rapid prototypes in various materials, ACTech is determined to fill the gap facing industries like agriculture. Here’s how we do it and why it makes a difference.

Whether you’re designing a new internal combustion engine for a regular vehicle or the powertrain of something much larger like a tractor or combine harvester, the ideal process remains very much the same. Design; test; improve; repeat. Rapid prototyping is key to that. But unfortunately for industries like agriculture, it’s not quite so simple.

After all, size matters.

While the larger producers of equipment and machinery rely on internal design and testing facilities to evaluate new parts, actually casting them is less straightforward.Many of these machines require components with dimensions and weights that most traditional providers aren’t equipped to handle. Those that can are perhaps only suited to mass production or have a limited selection of alloys to work with.

This can make finding a supplier that can meet the requirements of huge and heavy prototyping projects difficult — and that has the potential to hold the agricultural industry back. With our ability to provide huge and heavy castings for either prototypes or series production in both standard alloys and more unique metals such as aluminum, ACTech is here to change that.

What we offer

ACTech never shies away from a challenge, so no matter the size or weight of the part you’re after, we’re likely to find a solution. Many parts we produce for larger machinery like tractors, such as powertrains, gearboxes, and housings, can reach roughly half the size of a family car — take a quick look at the video below for a rough idea of their scale. But rest assured, you’ll benefit from the same short lead times and impeccable quality that we pride ourselves on in every other project, regardless of their size.

There are other unique benefits to working with us, too. While many foundries may be able to cast large parts in series, they often only do so in a single material and struggle to offer the flexibility needed to create new iterations while prototyping. At ACTech, we can cast a part in a wide variety of metals, allowing you to test and compare the performance of each version.

What this effectively creates is design freedom. Most prototyping projects begin with a settled choice — the standard alloys are often preferred — but it is no longer a necessity. You have the ability to innovate and find new ways to differentiate your products from the rest.

Importantly, everything you design will be cast, machined, and assembled under the same roof, ensuring continuity and helping you avoid the hassle of juggling suppliers.

large casting prototype for tractors on white background
Gearbox housing (rear) for powertrain of agriculture appliclation
large casting prototype for tractors on white background
Gearbox housing (front) for powertrain of agriculture appliclation

Why it matters

In every industry, time is money, but there are several reasons why this is particularly true for agriculture. It begins with the seasonal nature of farming; many crops are harvested in summer and winter, which leaves two windows for major development and testing. This time pressure makes short lead times essential, a factor that often drives up the cost — and in a particularly cost-sensitive industry, a high price can be a big deterrent.

However, the bottom line can’t be the only factor. The agricultural sector is heavily regulated, and growing environmental concerns also impact its machinery. Just like for automotive manufacturers, every engine must meet strict efficiency and quality requirements. Other advancements have also led to change, such as electrified axles and the move toward hybrid concepts. The only way to improve on existing models is to build and test new designs.

With limited access to facilities capable of producing parts of this size, such development tends to occur far less often than in other industries. It’s not uncommon for agricultural machinery manufacturers to only release a new model every few years — but not all of them. Some appear to have noticed this trend and feel that adopting a more traditional prototyping approach can bring them a competitive advantage. Others may need to follow suit if they don’t want to get left behind.

Bridging the gap

At ACTech, we’re determined to help bridge that gap and prove to the industry that rapid prototyping is not only worth the investment but is a necessary step. By providing a service that meets the unique needs of industries such as this, we can help manufacturers move forward.

Would you like to learn more about prototype casting for large, heavy-duty parts or ask for more information about starting a project with ACTech? We’d love to have a conversation.

Contact us