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FAQs About Die Casting

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Photos courtesy North American Die Casting Association • Wheeling, Illinois

 

  • How does the die casting process work?
    The basic die casting process consists of injecting molten metal under high pressure into a steel mold called a die. Die casting machines are typically rated in clamping tons equal to the amount of pressure they can exert on the die. Machine sizes range from 200 tons to 4000 tons. Regardless of their size, the only fundamental difference in die casting machines is the method used to inject molten metal into a die.

     

    The two methods are hot chamber or cold chamber. A complete die casting cycle can vary from less than one second for small components weighing less than an ounce, to two-to-three minutes for a casting of several pounds, making die casting the fastest technique available for producing precise non-ferrous metal parts.
  • What are the advantages of aluminum die casting?
    Aluminum alloy is lightweight, while possessing high dimensional stability for complex shapes and thin walls. Aluminum has good corrosion resistance and mechanical properties, high thermal and electrical conductivity, as well as strength at high temperatures.
  • Can die casting be automated?
    Modern die casters use a number of sophisticated methods to automate the die casting process and provide continuous quality control. Automated systems can be used to lubricate dies, ladle metal into cold chamber machines and integrate other functions, such as quenching and trimming castings. Microprocessors obtain metal velocity, shot rod position, hydraulic pressure and other data that is used to adjust the die casting machine process, assuring consistent castings shot after shot. These process control systems also collect machine performance data for statistical analysis in quality control.
  • How does product design affect die casting?
    Die casting is one of the fastest and most cost-effective methods for producing a wide range of components. However, to achieve maximum benefits from this process, it is critical that designers collaborate with the die caster at an early stage of the product design and development. Consulting with the aluminum die casting company during the design phase will help resolve issues affecting tooling and production, while identifying the various trade-offs that could affect overall costs.

     

    For instance, parts having external undercuts or projections on sidewalls often require dies with slides. Slides increase the cost of the tooling, but may result in reduced metal use, uniform casting wall thickness or other advantages. These savings may offset the cost of tooling, depending upon the production quantities, providing overall economies.

 

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