UPDATE! A&B Die Casting is open.

UPDATE! A&B Die Casting is open.

UPDATE: As of 03/23/2020 A&B Die Casting is open again for business.

Why are we open again so quickly? Manufacturers Have Been Deemed “Essential” Businesses. The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued new guidance last week deeming many types of manufacturers to be “essential business,” and the NAM is now calling on all states and localities to adopt their new guidelines so that manufacturers and supply chains can maintain their normal work schedules to help respond to the COVID-19 crisis. At the end of last week, the NAM urged governors and mayors to follow the federal guidance so manufacturers can continue to provide lifesaving goods and services. California has been the first state to quickly adopt these updated federal guidelines.

We are committed to employee safety and are taking all necessary precautions to keep our workforce and community safe while they work through this pandemic.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time. Please contact us directly with any questions, concerns, or to place an order.

We look forward to continuing to work with you.
-Steve Dathe, President

ATTENTION : Temporary Closure (03/17-04/07/2020)

ATTENTION : Temporary Closure (03/17-04/07/2020)

ATTENTION:
At 1:00PM today, in response to the expanding COVID-19 pandemic, six San Francisco Bay Area counties announced a “shelter in place” order for all residents — the strictest measure of its kind in the country — directing everyone to stay inside their homes and away from others as much as possible for the next three weeks.

The directive begins at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, March 17 and involves San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa and Alameda counties — a combined population of more than 6.7 million. It is to stay in place until at least April 7. The order falls just short of a full lockdown, which would forbid people from leaving their homes without explicit permission, and it wasn’t immediately clear how, or to what degree, it would be enforced. The order calls for the sheriff or chief of police to “ensure compliance.” The Bay Area orders are the most restrictive yet in the U.S. The region is the first to direct people to stay at home as much as possible and avoid even small social interactions.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time for all. We will make every effort to keep all communications current and accurate though please keep in mind that both manufacturing and shipping will be affected by this temporary interruption in operations.

-Steve Dathe, President

What is the difference between aluminum and zinc alloys when die casting?

What is the difference between aluminum and zinc alloys when die casting?

Die casting is one of the most cost-effective, accurate, and versatile manufacturing processes in the world today. The process involves injecting molten metal, under pressure, into a reusable die (mold) and once solidified it can be ejected and finished (if necessary) in a variety of ways. The dies are generally constructed of high quality steel and the alloy cast is most commonly aluminum, magnesium, or zinc.

The alloy utilized in your casting will affect the part’s final properties, function, overall price, and life of your die. Aluminum and zinc are the two most popular metals to die cast and each have their own physical and mechanical properties which affect their cast-ability. Magnesium is the third most popular alloy to die cast but A&B does not work with it. Factors such as strength, longevity, melting temperature, and functionality need to be looked at closely before choosing the proper alloy. When choosing an alloy for your die cast parts machining and finishing operations also need to be taken into account.

Aluminum Alloys

Aluminum alloys are the most common alloys used in die casting today. They can be found in most items that we use every single day since are strong, lightweight, and economical for high-volume casting. Aluminum is very rarely used in its pure form because it tends to crack and shrink; therefore it is typically mixed with other materials including copper, magnesium, and silicon to help increase the alloy’s fluidity, elasticity, corrosion resistance, tensile strength, and hardness to provide it with superior mechanical properties. Aluminum alloy die cast parts tend to maintain their strength at high temperatures, possess good thermal and electrical conductivity, and can be cast with intricate geometries and thin walls while maintaining their strength.

Zinc Alloys

Zinc alloys are perfect for smaller and more complex shapes since no other alloys can be cast with such tight tolerances and thin walls. Zinc’s superior strength and hardness is an ideal alternative for machined, pressed, stamped, and fabricated components. Zinc also has excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, requires less tooling or secondary operations, and can be cast at moderate temperatures which provide significant energy and processing savings over other metals and engineering alloys.

How do you determine which alloy to choose for your die cast project?
Die casting offers the ability to create a wide variety of parts produced with precision at high speed. To determine which alloy would be best for your specific project you need to look closely at each alloy’s unique mechanical and physical properties since these will dramatically impact the performance and longevity of your application.

Other factors to take into consideration:
• Raw material cost
• Size of the finished part
• Wall size capability
• Tensile strength and hardness
• Weight requirements for the finished part
• Strength-to-weight ratio
• Dimensional stability and accuracy
• Corrosion resistance
• Thermal conductivity
• Electrical conductivity
• Finish needs and options
• Machining characteristics
• Recyclability

The alloy you select plays a huge role in the overall cost and performance of your die cast components. Since each alloy used in die casting offers its own unique benefits for your final die cast parts there is quite a lot to factor into the design and engineering of a new component.

It is not always easy to select the right alloy for your project. Need a hand? With over 75 years of die casting expertise, our team of experienced engineers will evaluate your requirements to help you decide which would be the best alloy option for your application to achieve the desired result for your part. Our in-depth knowledge and experience allows us to control the entire pre- and post-operative processing, as well as provide turn key part solutions with a variety of options, to meet our customer’s individual needs. Contact A&B Die Casting to get started on your next project today!

Assembly Methods for Die Cast Parts

Assembly Methods for Die Cast Parts

Die casting is an extremely popular manufacturing process for creating metal products. Die cast parts produce high quality, uniform pieces that can be created in just about any size, part geometry, surface texture, or finish. They can require minimal secondary processes since many features can be integrated into the design such as studs, hinges, drill holes, and bosses, to name a few. There are quite a few methods to assemble individual die cast parts made from aluminum or zinc.

These methods include:
• Adhesive bonding
• Attachment systems
• External threads
• Forming or self-cutting fasteners
• Injected Metal Assembly (IMA)
• Inserts
• Interference fits
• Threaded fasteners

Adhesive bonding
Adhesive bonding between metals is becoming a more popular practice among die casters. The adhesive “wets” the entire surface to be joined and must have a lower surface tension than the materials being joined. Joints that are subjected to high tension are generally not suitable for adhesive bonding. Adhesive bonds are also prone to thermal degradation and peeling. Adhesive bonding is extremely popular for bonding sheet steel in automobile bodies.

Attachment systems
Attachments that require plastic deformation of the casting is usually limited to alloys with high ductility, such as zinc.

Attachments of this nature include:
• Crimping
• Staking
• Swaging

Adhesive bonding has become much more popular since the stresses are spread out more uniformly and exposed surfaces are not disturbed. They also offer other benefits such as sealing, insulating, and corrosion barriers.

External threads
It is possible to cast external threads on cylindrical features under specific circumstances. Threads can be formed across the parting line of the die with either slides or solid components. Flash can get left in threads with slides, or made across parting lines, which can be quite difficult to remove. If the flash isn’t severe, it can be removed through the process of the bolt and nut installation. Many manufacturers prefer casting flats at the root of the thread on the parting line so that the flash forms on the flats making it very easy to remove.

Forming or self-cutting fasteners
This type of assembly utilizes hard steel fasteners that anchor to the die cast part itself by either forming to or cutting into the part as they are installed. Die cast alloys are typically relatively soft and readily accept these types of fasteners.

These types of fasteners include:
• Spring clips
• Stamped nuts
• Self-tapping screws
• Thread-forming screws

In most cases properly sized holes can be cast into the part to accept the required fastener. Spring clips and stamped nuts develop a relatively low retention force where as self-tapping and thread-forming screws have a much higher retention capability. Though, fasteners that cut form small chips where they bite into the metal part which may not be tolerable in certain finished projects, such as sensitive electronic equipment.

Injected Metal Assembly (IMA)
The IMA process is very similar to the adhesive bonding process except IMA utilizes a molten alloy to bond components together. The process creates a strong, permanent, mechanical “lock” that can withstand high loads and can also bond metals to non-metal parts. The process requires no special surface preparations and issues such as thermal degradation and peeling are not very common.IMA bonds also perform exceptionally well in harsh environments.

Small components of just about any material can be joined utilizing IMA, such as:
• Ceramic
• Elastomers
• Fibers
• Metals
• Paper
• Plastics

Inserts
Inserts are used when the design will impose conditions that exceed the capabilities of the alloys such as excessive thread wear, concentrated loads, abrasion, and wear at a bearing point. However, inserts cause residual stress within the cast part so proper planning for long term retention is vital. There are two types of inserts that can be installed – cast-in-place or post-installed inserts. The cycle time and the cost are usually what determine which type of inserts is used.

Cast-in-place inserts allow for a wider range of mechanical lock securing options since the alloy is cast directly around the insert. They are required to be as dimensionally accurate as the die into which it is inserted, which increases both the cycle time and cost per part. However, with very large castings it is more economical to use cast-in-place inserts since the cycle time is already increased due to the size of the cast part.


Examples of cast-in-place inserts

Post-installed inserts are more economical for faster run, smaller parts produced on highly automated machines and projects which have less stringent tolerances.

Interference fits
These types of fits are used to retain components, such as bearing and dowel inserts. If the interference is light (0.001 in./in [0.001 mm/mm] or less), the installation can take place with both parts at room temperature. Heavy interference usually requires the parts to be heated and may also cause metal removal which will lead to a reduction in retention. The removal of metal on the parts depends on the hardness of the metals, the amount of interference, lubricant use, and the leading edge of each part.

Threaded fasteners
Threaded bolts, or studs, are commonly used to join die cast parts together. If the attachments are made in sections with thin walls clearance holes are needed in order to allow the bolt to pass through. The bolt would then be secured in place with a nut.

Bosses are capable of being designed into the casting itself to receive bolts or studs into tapped holes. Though the boss diameter will need to be at least twice the size of the bolt’s diameter since die cast joints are more prone to dilation.

Also, keep in mind that in order to minimize porosity in the cast area where the thread is present, the tapped holes need to be cored. Both coarse and fine threads can be tapped although coarser threads are generally preferred.

The process of die casting and any secondary assembly operations have a symbiotic relationship; meaning they are heavily dependent upon each other and they work together to create the final product. Planning ahead for the assembly method you will use can help to minimize any potential problems as well as reduce costs and speed up production time.

Need a hand? With over 75 years of die casting expertise, our team of experienced engineers will evaluate your requirements to help you decide which would be the best fastener option to join your components to achieve the desired result for your part. Our in-depth knowledge and experience allows us to control the entire pre- and post-operative processing, as well as provide turn key part solutions with a variety of options, to meet our customer’s individual needs. Contact A&B Die Casting today to get started on your next project!

Die Casting with Zinc – Versatility with Economy

Die Casting with Zinc – Versatility with Economy

Zinc is a casting alloy that offers high precision with lower tooling cost for small parts. Zinc’s superior strength and hardness is an ideal alternative for machined, pressed, stamped, and fabricated components. Zinc is optimal for complex net shaped parts with thin walls while offering excellent electrical performance and shielding properties. Its structural integrity and wear-resistance are optimal for creating multi-faceted, complex shapes with a versatile range of physical, mechanical, and finishing characteristics.

The advantages of zinc die casting include:
• Complex shapes with thin walls
• Superior mechanical and physical properties
• Excellent tensile strength and dimensional stability
• RFI/EMI shielding capabilities
• Long die life
• Superior as-cast cosmetic finish

Zinc alloys are optimal for casting parts requiring intricate detail and close dimensional tolerances at high production rates. Zinc alloys are castable to closer tolerances than any other metal or molded plastic. Zinc casting alloys are stronger than reinforced molded polymers and zinc’s hardness, self-lubricating properties, dimensional stability, and high modulus make is suitable for working mechanical parts (such as gears and pinions).

For parts requiring hardness, high durability and cosmetic finishes, zinc die casting provides an economical solution while offering:
• High strength and hardness
• Excellent electrical conductivity
• High thermal conductivity
• Low raw material cost
• High dimensional accuracy and stability
• Excellent thin wall capability
• Cold Form capabilities to ease joining
• High quality finishing characteristics
• Outstanding corrosion resistance
• Full recyclability

Zinc also has excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, as well as precise casting tolerances, which makes it an ideal material choice for heat sinks, electrical components and applications that require electromagnetic shielding.

Zinc can be cast at moderate temperatures which provide significant energy and processing savings over other metals and engineering alloys.

The ease of use in die casting combined with high precision and lower tooling make zinc a top choice for designers from nearly any industry. Contact A&B Die Casting today to get started on your next project!