Die Casting Facts infographic
Pretransa Die Casting Machines presents its new Die Casting Facts infographic
Die casting facts
Die casting is often said to be the shortest distance between molten metal and the finished part. Here are some interesting facts about this fundamental but little known process
What is die casting?
Die casting is a metal casting process that is characterized by injecting molten metal under high pressure into a mold cavity in order to produce finished parts
How does it work?
Although the idea of injecting molten metal into a mold is easy to understand, in real life die casting is a complex process affected by multiple variables which demands specialized equipment and deep expertise of the foundry team
Plunger - The plunger is the piston that forces liquid metal into the die
Die - The die is a permanent mold made of two metallic halves which contain the cavity where the part is formed
Cavity - The hollow space inside the die, whose shape corresponds to the part to be cast
Casting - The casting is the finished part produced after the metal cools down
Why does it matter?
It is difficult to imagine modern life without the use of die casting. Die casting is one of the most efficient manners of producing high quality parts in an economical way. The breadth of uses for die castings is almost unlimited. From your smartphone’s body, to escalator’s steps, medical devices or dozens of parts in your car, every day’s modern life would be unthinkable without the use of die cast parts.
The first die casting related patent was granted in 1849 for casting printing type
Metals used in die casting
The main metals used in die casting alloys are aluminum, magnesium, zinc, copper, lead and tin. All of these are considered to be non-ferrous, that is, do not contain iron in appreciable quantities. In early times, tin and lead were the first metals used in die casting, however, in modern die casting, aluminum is king, which accounts for more than 80% of all die cast parts, followed by zinc and magnesium
Where is it used?
By far, the heaviest use of die casting parts at the present time is in the car industry. However, there are thousands of applications of die castings in several other sectors
Die casting is good for the planet
One of the easiest way to reduce car pollution is to make cars lighter so they need smaller engines to run. Auto-makers worldwide are increasing the number of die castings in their vehicles making them more efficient. Additionally, die casting parts are 100% recyclable
Die casting machines have come a long way. In early times, they were manually operated and it was not uncommon for die casters to make their own machines. A lot has changed from then and now die casting machines can be fully automated. Several devices have been invented in order to assist with the die casting process. These devices, commonly referred to as ‘peripherals’ can perform every step in the process without human intervention
Hot vs. cold chamber
Die casting machines are divided into hot and cold chamber ones. In hot chamber machines the molten metal source is attached to the machine and molten metal is in permanent contact with some parts of it. It is used with lower melting point metals, like zinc. Metals with a higher melting point –like aluminum- would damage a hot chamber machine so a cold chamber machine is used, where the molten metal resides in an outside source, and it is ladled into the machine allowing a lower temperature that won’t damage the mechanism
Depending on the melting point of the metal used, die casting should be performed in one kind of machine or another
Modern day die casting
The modern die casting process can be fully automated using specialized equipment working together into what is known as a work cell. This allows to produce the maximum number of high quality parts into the minimum amount of time
The metal loader takes the molten metal from the furnace and ladles it into the die casting machine
Die spraying unit
The die spraying unit sprays lubricant into the die before every injection in order to control the temperature and prevent the part to get stuck into the die
Die casting machine
The die casting machine injects molten metal into the die while exerting pressure so the die will not open during the injection
The furnace is where molten metal is held waiting to be poured into the machine, normally using a ladle
The robot is a mechanic arm that extracts the newly formed part from the machine, cools it down into water or air and then puts it into the trimming press
The trimming press is used to cut off slight defects and excess material resulting from the casting process