A Few Tips to Reduce Die Casting Parts Costs

A Few Tips to Reduce Die Casting Parts Costs

Die casters employ a number of techniques to maximize tool and component design while reducing per-part costs.

What are the 3 main costs associated with die casting?

1.) Die Casting Production – depending on the part complexity, the die casting setup can be very labor intensive. The process also requires melting of the die casting alloy specified.
2.) Secondary Operations – any needed deburring, machining, sanding, or hand finishing to achieve the specified part finish.
3.) Finishing – any desired painting, plating, silk screening, or engraving.

When designing and engineering a new component you need to think beyond simple metal forming and think of die casting as the total manufacturing process. Shifting thinking along those lines can drastically reduce production costs as parts are then designed to eliminate waste as well as some secondary operations.

The largest part of the total cost to die cast something is the cost of the labor involved. The actual die casting process is one of the most efficient methods to go from raw material to finished/near finished part shape, while giving the designer the opportunity to include many features into the part that may be impractical or too expensive with other manufacturing methods.

Die casting can be incredibly cost effective because one part can be designed to replace multiple components. It is also possible to incorporate other features into the casting that eliminate secondary milling, boring, reaming, and grinding operations. One die-cast part can also eliminate assemblies that incorporate swaging, riveting, screw machining, stamping, press fitting, and welding.

What other factors affect die cast costs?
•Component complexity
•Part tolerances specified
•Part finishing specified

How can costs be reduced further?
Die casting does not have to be expensive. A thorough design for manufacturability (DFM) review is critical. Getting the die caster involved early in the process can greatly reduce part costs down the road. Depending on part complexity, this review may include a digital fluid flow analysis to help ensure the desired part shape is optimized for the die casting process.

On top of that, additional savings come from material reduction, improved tolerances, and good part-to-part consistency.

Much like any other engineering process or build, proper planning before production will drastically reduce your costs while speeding up the actual production time.

Need assistance or want to get started on your next die cast project?
Contact A&B Die Casting today!

Die Casting and Part Geometry

Die Casting and Part Geometry

What’s the most cost effective way to cast metal parts with minimal machining?
Die casting.

Die casting allows you to create sharply defined smooth – or textured – surface metal parts from a durable range of non-ferrous metals, such as zinc, magnesium, aluminum, and an array of composite materials at high-speed and with precision. The type of metal chosen to fabricate the part determines whether it will require the hot chamber or cold chamber method to inject the metal into the die. Die casting enables the production of components with fine details like lettering, textured surfaces, and other features without the need for additional processing.

The main benefits of the die casting process include:
•High quality: Die cast parts deliver a long service life.
•High reliability: Exceptional uniformity of mass-produced parts.
•Quick production: Die cast tooling requires minimal maintenance.
•Versatile: Die casting can create virtually any size, part geometry, surface texture, or luster.
•Minimal assembly: Assembly features such as studs, drill holes, and bosses can be integrated into the mold design.

What effects die casting the most?
Part geometry.

The initial part design is crucial and determines how parts fill and cool – part geometry affects the porosity, grain structure and internal stress states. Stress concentrators, such as those found at sharp corners, are also geometry dependent and can reduce a part’s working strength. Parts whose geometry has been optimized for die-casting–in terms of filling, cooling, and ejection–will have substantially different microstructures and internal stress states than comparable machined or spin-cast parts.

Geometry planning works as an important influential tool on casting designs. Proper geometry planning will ensure time is not lost re-casting and counterbalance problems like:
•Poor fluid life
•Temperature maintenance and effects
•Hot cracking
•Strength issues (compressive strength, impact strength, and tensile strength)
•Slag formation tendency

Advantages of proper geometry designs:
•It avoids defects: Reduces the need for multiple post casting quality checks, and reduces the number of rejected castings.
•Increases energy efficiency and reduces environmental impacts: an effective geometry design influences how much energy consumption is needed for cooling and lighting temperatures used in the manufacturing.
•Improves overall quality and life of the casting: with reduced defects and reduced lead-time to produce a casting, the overall quality and operational life of the casting is increased.

Our job at A&B Die Casting is to guide our customers to the best, most efficient process for their needs. With design for manufacturability in mind, we work with our customers to create features and sub-assemblies that fit into a single part while keeping the number of parts to a minimum. Through our rapid prototyping services, complete visualization of your concept is available to implement revisions if necessary before full production runs. By incorporating innovative engineering and state-of-the-art technologies, we take pride in designing and manufacturing the highest quality tools and parts at the right price.

Contact A&B Die Casting to get started on your next project today!

Vacuum Assisted Die Casting

Vacuum Assisted Die Casting

Bringing innovative technology to traditional craftsmanship.

Adding value to the die casting process is paramount to A&B Die Casting. One significant technology that A&B has embraced is vacuum-assisted die casting.

The basic die casting process consists of injecting molten metal under high pressure into a steel mold called a die. With a vacuum-assisted system, a vacuum is drawn in both the shot sleeve and the mold cavity before the injection shot occurs. Almost all air is positively evacuated from the mold and the vacuum is maintained until the injection cycle is completed. Vacuum-assisted die casting decisively reduces gas porosity in the casting. This significant reduction in the volume of gas porosity and the pore sizes in castings has the result of markedly improving the density and tensile strength of the end product.

A good vacuum in the mold cavity enables the alloy to flow into blind recesses in complex shapes. It also allows the fronts of the molten metal to merge freely without forming shuts.

Vacuum-assisted die casting offers benefits beyond simply reducing porosity.
• Larger, thinner, and more complex castings are made possible.
• Product density and strength are increased.
• Rejections due to porosity are virtually eliminated.
• Excellent surface quality is ensured.
• Less casting pressure is required, resulting in extended tool life and mold life.

Vacuum alone will not make a casting system more efficient. Vacuum supplements the efficiency of a well-designed casting process and extends its capability. It depends on the expertly engineered die cavities, runners, vents, and overflows designed by A&B tooling engineers.

Better Tooling with Mold Flow Analysis

Better Tooling with Mold Flow Analysis

A&B improves the tooling design process with valuable simulations of mold performance.

Great castings start with great tooling. And great tooling starts at A&B Die Casting. One of the ways that A&B ensures their in-house tooling performs perfectly from day one is to run advanced computer simulations well before any physical tooling is made.

At the earliest stages of the tooling design process, A&B engineers utilize FLOW-3D Cast software to simulate the entire die casting process. Included in all A&B tooling quotes at no extra charge, mold flow simulations give A&B engineers valuable insight into how the molten metal will flow and solidify.

FLOW-3D Cast’s highly accurate flow and solidification simulations mean that engineers can test a number of ideas to determine the very best tooling designs. For example, one customer approached A&B with a part shape that was highly cosmetic. An A&B engineer tested several design iterations of gates and runners to reduce overflows to the absolute minimum. The integrity of the part was optimized, while easier cleanup of overflows produced a better appearance.

When you buy tooling from A&B Die Casting, we make sure it’s the best it can be.
• All design changes take place before any new die steel is cut, eliminating the costly process of discovering problems after the tooling has already been produced.
• A&B can quickly and reliably evaluate part designs from any CAD system to predict the effects of the casting process and tooling performance.
• Mold flow simulations are run on all in-house tooling designs at no extra charge.

Die casting fill of a 2-cavity mold:

Single cavity mold overflow view:

The Value Added with A&B Die Casting

The Value Added with A&B Die Casting

Leveraging the die casting process helps maximize your design opportunities.

There is much more to a die cast part than what you hold in your hand. Opportunities abound at A&B Die Casting to add value every step of the way.

Our engineering team is the launch pad for getting a good understanding of how your part will be used. By involving us early in the design process, our customers can leverage our wide-ranging experience of the die cast process to recommend designs that either incorporate all features and sub-assemblies into a single or minimize the number of parts required.

We offer customers significant cost savings and outstanding quality through:
• Design for manufacturability that drives down the cost of your part while building value
• Rapid prototyping that gives a 3-dimensional representation of what your part will look like
• Precision in-house tooling
• Extensive in-house machining capabilities and part finishing
• Excellent delivery and quality, every part, every time

A&B adds value every step of the way to get you the best part at the best price.

Hands Free 3D Scanning for Speed and Accuracy

Hands Free 3D Scanning for Speed and Accuracy

A&B laser scanning is the ideal choice for accurate measurement of complex metal castings.

For measuring complex shapes that are otherwise too time consuming, costly, or simply impossible to measure, an industrial 3D laser scanner is ideal. 3D laser scanners are very fast and easy to use in comparison to traditional handheld methods, such as gauges, calipers, and Coordinate Measurement Machines (CMMs).

A&B Die Casting utilizes the latest in automated 3D scanning equipment to offer rapid and efficient inspection scans of customer parts. A casting is placed on the rotary table of our 3D laser scanner for complete and accurate first-article inspections without human interaction and the risk for human error. This service is always included in tool builds by A&B to ensure your parts are made to specification. Standard CMM inspection is also available for an additional fee.

A&B will also scan parts from other vendors and prepare for you a GD&T report that shows a complete picture of any part deviations. Our laser scanner can accommodate parts as small as the size of a dime up to a height of 48”, depth of 30” and width of 12”.

Whether your parts are made at A&B or elsewhere, give us a call to learn more about our 3D laser scanning.