From automobiles and airplanes to power tools and pumps, die casting is one of the manufacturing processes that industries most heavily rely on. The odds are high that somewhere in your supply chain is a facility dedicated to producing zinc, copper, magnesium or aluminum die castings. What role does die casting play, when is it most effective and how can it be put to use? Here are some starting facts about understanding this process.
Properties of Die Castings
The die casting process involves high-pressure injection of molten metal into a steel mold. This affects the alloys that can be effectively cast and the physical properties of the resulting part. For a completely full mold and minimal wear, the alloy must have a low melting point, high fluidity and minimal shrinkage on cooling. Generally, this means aluminum, copper, zinc and lead alloys, chosen based on desired properties like corrosion resistance or strength. However, the injection process means that the cast part very closely matches the intended design, and quick cooling results in a smooth surface finish and fine grain structure.
Die Casting Best Practices
Die casting requires substantial capital for the necessary equipment and dies, so smaller businesses may prefer to partner with a specialized manufacturer for castings. The upfront cost is offset by rapid, high-volume production that is possible, so die casting is most efficient for large-scale production runs of small or medium parts. Castings have fine dimensional tolerances for detailed geometries. This makes die casting unparalleled for producing complex non-ferrous parts with little machining required.
Plenty of information exists on the traits of alloys used in die casting, as well as the standards for designing parts that are easy to cast. Even if your engineers aren’t creating the dies themselves, making smart design choices in the part geometry can yield better quality castings and lower costs.