Home > News > Aluminum Die Casting: The Pros and Cons of Die Casting
From cylinder heads and engine blocks to garden furniture and bicycle frames, die casting is used to create a wide variety of products. It involves the use of pressurized molten metal to fill a mold cavity. The raw metal is heated, after which it’s forced into a mold cavity. After the molten metal has cooled and solidified, the newly created casting is ejected. While die casting is a versatile casting process, though, it offers both advantages and disadvantages for manufacturing companies.
Die casting supports many different metals and alloys. Aluminum is a popular choice for this casting process because of its high ductility and equally high strength. It’s also relatively inexpensive, making it ideal for large-scale manufacturing applications. Other metals and alloys supported by die casting include zinc, magnesium, copper, lead, and tin.
Manufacturing companies don’t have to worry about rough or rigid casting surfaces with die casting. Since it involves pressurized molten metal, it’s able to create super-smooth surfaces on castings. As the molten metal is forced into the mold cavity, it completely fills the otherwise voided space to ensure a smooth surface.
Another benefit of die casting is its ability to minimize the need for finishing operations. With other types of casting processes, castings are often finished using a machine. These secondary machining operations can be time-consuming and cumbersome. The good news is that die casting reduces the need for such operations. In many cases, castings are ready to be shipped immediately after this casting process.
Here is a bullet list of die cast advantages and why a designer would want to design his product as a die casting:
Die casting provides complex shapes within closer tolerances than many other mass production processes.
Die Castings are produced at high rates of production. Little or no machining is required.
Die casting provides parts that are durable, dimensionally stable, and have the feel and appearance of quality.
Die castings can be produced with thinner walls than those obtainable by other casting methods and are much stronger than plastic injection moldings with the same dimensions.
Die casting dies can produce thousands of identical castings within specified tolerances before additional tooling may be required.
Zinc castings can be easily plated or finished with a minimum of surface preparation.
Die castings can be produced with surfaces simulating a wide variety of textures.
Die cast surfaces, as cast, are smoother than most other forms of casting such as sand, permanent mold, and investment processes.
Holes in die castings can be cored and made to tap drill sizes.
External threads on parts can be readily die cast.
Die castings provide integral fastening elements, such as bosses and studs, which can result in assembly economies.
Inserts of other metals and some non-metals can be die cast in place.
The corrosion resistance of die casting alloys rates from good to high.
Die castings are monolithic. They combine many functions in one, complex shaped part. Because die castings do not consist of separate parts, welded or fastened together, the strength is that of the material, not that of threads or welds.
On the other hand, die casting is somewhat expensive when compared to other casting processes. It requires a special type of casting machine that’s expensive to purchase as well as maintain. Manufacturing companies can save money by choosing aluminum as the casting material, but die casting is still a relatively expensive casting process.
Die casting also has weight specifications to which the castings must adhere. For instance, a typical casting may require a weight of 1 ounce to 15 pounds. If the casting weighs more or less, it suffers from a defect.
To recap, die casting is a casting process used in the manufacturing industry to create objects using pressurized molten metal. The metal — or alloy for that matter — is heated and then forced into a mold cavity. As the molten metal cools, it hardens. The solidified casting can then be removed from the mold cavity.
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