Die casting utilizes die molds to produce multiple parts and components in metal fabrication. Essentially, custom die casting produces components in masses at a low cost per unit. Products with unique tolerances and complex shapes are manufactured with short leads to increase customer turnaround times.
That said, this article gives insight into the die casting process and its application in various industries.
What is Die Casting?
The process involves high pressure to force molten metal into a part or mold. Consumer preferences can be reflected in the mass production of products through die casting. Through custom die casting, you can expect thousands of custom products produced in a short time.
Essentially, the end products have top-notch dimensional accuracy with a quality finish. Die casting involves two primary techniques:
Hot Chamber Die Casting
In hot chamber die casting, the common metals used are lead, zinc, and copper, among others with low melting points. The injection part of the machine is dipped into a bath of molten metal in a furnace. A feeding system called a “gooseneck” connects the furnace to the hot chamber machine.
Cold Chamber Die Casting
The die application process pours molten metal into a cylindrical sleeve or cold chamber. Hydraulic pressure is used to seal the chamber before applying high pressure to force molten metal into a die cavity. Cold chamber die casting applies to metals with a high melting point, i.e., zinc or aluminum alloys.
Basic Die Casting Steps
- Die Preparation: The process uses lubricants to release clean parts. A film is put on top of the parts before the application. Water is added to the lubricating agent, which evaporates when sprayed on metal parts.
- Clamping: High-pressure clamps die halves together at different forces based on the functionality of the die clamping machine.
- Cooling: The cooling time varies with the type of metal used in custom die casting. Other primary factors include solidification temperature, wall thickness, and the geometry of the metal.
- Ejection: Ejection force is carefully monitored to separate and force out parts from the die.
- Trimming/Deflashing: It involves removing a thin excess material on the edge of a casting. That includes the metal that seeps between runners or die halves.
Metal Alloys Used in Die Casting
Materials for die casting have to maintain their characteristics and properties throughout the manufacturing process. Common alloys include:
Zinc has a low melting point, making it suitable for hot chamber die casting. The metal also makes the fabrication process relatively easy as it maintains high strength at room temperature. Zinc can be used with other metals like aluminum to achieve more desirable qualities. It is essential for producing strong and high-precision products like gears and connectors.
While aluminum is common in die casting, it shrinks or cracks at high temperatures. That is why copper and silicon alloys are combined with it to increase fluidity and hardiness. The dimensional stability aspect of aluminum comes in handy for creating products with complex shapes and thin walls, i.e., automobile and truck parts.
Aluminum is also corrosion-resistant, which benefits components that are exposed to electrical or thermal energy in the process.
Ideally, copper is durable for manufacturing mechanical products. The metal also resists corrosion, so it is effective for producing electricity and plumbing parts.
Although it’s light, magnesium scores in terms of strength-to-weight ratio. Its high strength makes it effective for die casting processes requiring precision and thin wall structures.
In light of the above, the die casting process is an economical and efficient way to produce parts with different components and shapes. Custom die casting is essentially superior when manufacturing various metal components with elemental benefits. Therefore, many industries rely on such efficiency.
Applications of Die Casting in Various Industries
Aluminum castings are common for producing construction components like roof superstructures, building frames, and window frames for commercial and residential buildings. Skyscrapers and bridges are other common die-cast end products.
Die casting is ideal for manufacturing parts for various medical devices since most demand aluminum as the primary medium. Die-cast parts are assembled to manufacture monitors, surgical tools, ultrasound machines, gearboxes for beds, dialysis equipment, and medical robots.
The gas and oil industries depend on die-cast parts to make valves, drilling or piping machinery, filtration devices, etc. Multiple die-cast components, like solar panel brackets, are also common in the renewable energy sector.
Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Equipment
High precision is crucial in mechanical engineering when manufacturing products. As such, die casts achieve that for pumps, conveyors, compressors, and lifting equipment.
You’ll also find die-cast components in various manufacturing plants. From piston connecting rods to cable pump enclosures, multiple industrial plants appreciate die-cast pieces to maximize industrial functions.
Similar to the automotive industry, aerospace demands specific components to achieve lightweight and structurally integral aircraft. Aluminum and magnesium die castings achieve such features regardless of the complexity of parts.
Die-casting parts put together big recreational vehicles using zinc and aluminum. The main parts include liner inserts, chassis, cylinders, trim molding, and decorative parts.
Outdoor Lighting and Traffic Lights
Aluminum die-cast parts are ideal for outdoor lighting components. That includes house exteriors using different light fixtures with LED lights. Die-cast metal also applies to traffic lights to produce different kinds of enclosures.
Aluminum is still used for the cause because it is lightweight and affordable. Its great thermal properties also make it ideal for creating durable cast enclosures for places with frequent windstorms and hurricanes.
The Food Industry and Culinary Arts
Die castings made from iron and steel are ideal in the culinary industry. In essence, the average consumer uses pans, ovens, skillets, etc. to prepare food. Restaurants also use such products and more.
As such, die casting ensures they are food-friendly and resistant to heat, bacteria, and chemicals. Heavy machinery in the food processing industry also requires metal castings built to precision to run daily production operations.
Die casting is a thriving facet in various industries because professionals try, test, and prove its efficiency. It streamlines production in various industries and upholds cost-efficiency at the same time. In light of that, you can get custom metal components using a professional custom die casting service. An excellent one creates parts with complex shapes and internal features specific to your design.