Yamaha Motor’s Casting Journey
Our roots in casting technology lie in the techniques used to cast piano frames at Nippon Gakki Co., Ltd. (today’s Yamaha Corporation). Those techniques were adapted and applied toward creating the engine and parts for the first Yamaha motorcycle in 1955, the YA-1. Since then, Yamaha has continued to cast a plethora of parts not only for motorcycle engines but also for chassis, marine products, car engines, and more—all in-house. The capability to cast both large and small parts and components in-house has made us a rarity among the world’s motorcycle manufacturers.
Producing the wheels for our motorcycles is a good example of this capability. In addition to vacuum die-casting aluminum wheels, Yamaha succeeded in casting magnesium wheels for mass production with the YZF-R1 in 2015, something once thought unfeasible for a high-volume product. The flow forming process for creating Yamaha SpinForged Wheels was also already often employed when producing wheels for cars, but motorcycle wheels require an appealing design on both sides, thus adapting flow forming for our industry presented high hurdles. To clear them, Yamaha carefully selected an aluminum variant to work with, conducted repeated experimentation of different alloy combinations in search of the right strength and lasting toughness, and devised the ideal heat treatment method to match. The Yamaha SpinForged Wheel was the result of this work and more.
Yamaha’s factories have given birth to numerous new technologies in the casting field, from our controlled fill (CF) aluminum die-casting technology capable of mass-producing large but thin parts to our all-aluminum DiASil Cylinder, a world first. These achievements underpin the deep and long-held pride the craftsmen at Yamaha’s worksites hold, believing the company’s aluminum casting expertise to be one of its greatest strengths and a field in which it must always be a leader.