Pure Aluminum –VS– Recycled Aluminum

Pure Aluminum –VS– Recycled Aluminum

As we talked about in our last article, the die casting process is environmentally friendly in three major ways – it uses less waste, offers high accuracy, and long part life. The most commonly die cast alloy, and one of the most abundant in the world, is aluminum. The physical and mechanical properties of aluminum make it an ideal choice for many industries since it is durable, corrosion resistant, low density, and has a high strength-to-weight ratio.

If die casting is so environmentally friendly, does that mean that all alloys that are die cast are also environmentally friendly? Well, yes and no. Let’s look a bit closer at aluminum. Recycled aluminum alloys are very environmentally friendly but pure aluminum is not. Why?

Pure Aluminum
Pure aluminum actually used to cost more than gold. Not because it is a rare metal but because extracting it was (and still is) incredibly costly to do. Pure aluminum is extracted from clay ore called bauxite. The process basically involves carefully smashing the clay into a fine powder and separating the aluminum ions from the powder utilizing electrolysis. Extracting pure aluminum is energy intensive and detrimental to the environment due to mining destruction plus pollutants and large amounts of CO2 that are released during the extraction process. Though utilized in a few industries due to strict quality regulations, like the aerospace industry, Aluminum is very rarely used in its pure form because it also tends to crack and shrink.

Recycled Aluminum
Thankfully aluminum is 100% recyclable and approximately 75% of all aluminum ever extracted is still in use today. Recycled aluminum also only uses about 5% of the energy that is required to process pure aluminum. Aluminum can be recycled again and again without deterioration to its mechanical or physical properties – which means it will give the same level of performance as pure aluminum while being environmentally friendly and more cost-effective.

Most aluminum used today is mixed with other materials including copper, magnesium, and silicon. These other alloys help increase aluminum’s fluidity, elasticity, corrosion resistance, tensile strength, and hardness to provide it with even better mechanical properties. Recycled aluminum alloy die cast parts tend to maintain their strength at high temperatures, possess good thermal and electrical conductivity, are lightweight, and can be cast with intricate geometries and thin walls while maintaining their strength.

The benefits of using recycled aluminum to our environment include reduced energy consumption, reduced mining pollution, reduced shipping pollution, and reduced carbon dioxide emissions… all without sacrificing quality or strength. The ease of use in die casting combined with its environmentally friendly properties, lighter weight, and durability make aluminum a top choice for designers from nearly every industry.

Ready to get started?
A&B Die casting is committed to environmental safety, sustainability, and recyclability. We utilize only 100% recycled materials and offer an exciting array of recycled aluminum and zinc options along with providing high quality secondary surface finishes and treatments (such as paint, plating, and powder coating for functionality and decorative appeal).

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 option 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 your individual needs. Contact A&B Die Casting today to get started on your next project!

Is die casting environmentally friendly?

Is die casting environmentally friendly?

All industries today are concerned with waste disposal and the environmental impact of their manufacturing processes. Practically every nation has passed multiple laws designed to limit waste and protect the environment. When designing new parts it is important to not only design it for optimum functionality and easy fabrication but also its ultimate destiny at the end of its useable life. Basically, can the materials used to create the product be repurposed or recycled when the product is no longer useful?

A typical finished consumer product has more than one material used in its creation. For example, let’s look at an automobile. Approximately 75%-85% of the salvaged metal parts are removed and recycled at the end of the automobile’s useable life. However, a much lower percentage of plastics can be recycled and reused than most people know. Only about 9% of all plastics used (across every industry) can be recycled; the other 91% are dumped in landfills. This gives metal formed products a big environmental advantage over plastic products.

Die casting already boasts so many benefits – it is economical, efficient, repeatable, and reliable. Die castings also providing superior Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) and Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) shielding properties over plastics, which help to meet ever increasing FCC requirements for many medical, telecom, and industrial applications. Did you know that die casting is also one of the most recyclable metal forming processes? Just about all metals and metal alloys are recyclable and since the die casting process does not include hazardous chemicals it poses no problems in handling or reprocessing the materials. Currently, over 95% of all aluminum die castings in North America are made from post-consumer recycled aluminum. Utilizing the recycled materials also saves energy on primary aluminum production which helps conserve nonrenewable energy sources.

Die casting is environmentally friendly in three major ways – it uses less waste, offers high accuracy, and long part life.

1.) Less waste
Reducing, recycling, reusing. Overall die casting produces less waste and consumes less energy than other metal forming processes. Die casting typically utilizes long-lasting reusable dies (or molds) and materials such as aluminum, zinc, and magnesium alloys which are easy to recycle. These factors help lower the environmental impact of creating the metal parts.

2.) High accuracy
High accuracy also has a positive impact on the environment. The die casting process creates parts that are exact to narrow tolerances, and does so repeatedly. Meaning you can cast thousands of identical items at specification without wasteful adjustments, unnecessary energy expenditure, or material scrap. You can also cast threads or other features directly into the part which eliminates some secondary operations and further energy expenditures per part.

3.) Long life
Die cast parts also do not degrade over time due to temperature fluctuations or UV exposure, which are common problems with other materials, such as plastics. They also provide excellent mechanical properties – strength, stiffness, durability, etc. Die cast metal parts eliminate, or reduce, the need to find new sources of materials which lowers potential chemical pollution from extraction and purification, damage to the ecosystem or water supplies from mining materials, overall energy consumption related to the work and transportation, and other negative environmental impacts.

Ready to get started?
A&B Die casting is committed to environmental safety. We utilize only 100% recycled materials and offer an exciting array of recyclable aluminum and zinc options along with providing high quality secondary surface finishes and treatments (such as paint, plating, and powder coating for functionality and decorative appeal).

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 option 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 your individual needs. Contact A&B Die Casting today to get started on your next project!

Die creation thoughts… was yours designed with manufacturability in mind?

Die creation thoughts… was yours designed with manufacturability in mind?

A high quality die cast component begins with a quality die. The die itself determines the tolerances held, repeatability, strength, complexity, and how many parts can be created utilizing that single die. A well-designed die should incorporate as many features as possible to minimize post machining operations; thus saving money for the final unit part cost and faster throughput.

Designing your die for optimal manufacturability (or DFM) is what will truly makes it a high-quality tool. Keeping manufacturability in mind not only delivers a successful die but also one that will last and create more consistent, higher-performance parts.

It is always a good idea to partner with your die casting company early in your project in order to get the best quality casts possible. The die casting engineers can assess your project’s concept or existing part, from design to end product, and work with you to optimize the design for casting. They will go over specifics such as:
• Critical tolerances
• Wall thickness
• Functional requirements
• Cosmetic requirements
• Finishes
• Secondary operations
• Mating parts or assemblies
• Volume
• Project completion expectations
• And more

Though dies can be expensive to create, and it can be appealing to try to cut costs in this area, it is never a good idea to go with the lowest bidder when it comes to die creation. Die design and creation affects the overall quality, uniformity, shape, and configuration of your final cast part. An improperly created die will result in inferior cast products, as well as tool or material corrosion. A die that fails will grind production to a halt and force you to spend more time and money re-building your die. Working closely with an experienced die caster will help you not only achieve the best possible product but also save you both time and money in the long run.

A few other things to keep in mind to ensure a long-lasting and quality die that produces consistent high quality parts:
• Make sure that your die is created with high-quality materials by an experienced shop
• Allow for some wiggle room in tolerances for non-critical design elements
• Plan for some flexibility in the draft angles of non-critical design elements (this will help ensure easy part extraction which will extend the life of the die)
• Make sure to partner with your die caster early in the process (that way their engineers can help make adjustments in the design phase which will save you some money avoiding re-designs)

Ready to get started?
A&B Die Casting utilizes 3D models and our FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling Machine) to check die layouts for part design fit and moldability. This helps us quickly address potential design for manufacturability (DFM) issues so that we can optimize the design for the die casting process. Utilizing our FDM in this manner also allows us to revise the design prior to the creation of the production die which saves you both time and money.

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 option 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!

Robotics and Die Casting : How do robots benefit from die cast components and how are robots used in die cast foundries?

Robotics and Die Casting : How do robots benefit from die cast components and how are robots used in die cast foundries?

Automation is increasing in popularity in just about every industry as the impact of technology continues to improve how we complete tasks. Simply put – robots can work in places and ways that cannot be replicated by human beings; whether we are talking about saving money, decreasing errors, speeding production time, reducing waste, or limiting staff exposure to toxic or harmful materials.

When it comes to die casting, robots are typically utilized to reduce costs and speed up production. This is particularly true in high-volume die casting where the work can be almost completely automated with a single human overseer. Robots are both widely used in the die casting industry to produce products and are themselves produced by being cast.

How do robotics applications benefit from die cast components?
Die casting produces components that are durable, can withstand wear and tear from repeated tasks, exposure to chemicals or harsh environmental conditions, as well as protect delicate interior electrical components. All of these qualities make die casting an ideal process for creating many different parts of a robot.

What types of parts are we talking about? Components such as:
• External parts that make up the arms, wrist, base, elbows, and several other parts
• Internal and external structural components
• Exterior housings that protect sensitive electronics
• Internal components that hold together different CPUs, motherboards, power supply units, and other vital electronics
• Gearing and mechanical controls
• Interchangeable tools such as drills or grippers
• And more

What types of alloys are used?
Since robotic applications require components with excellent physical and mechanical properties the most commonly die cast alloys – aluminum, magnesium, and zinc – all have properties that are ideal choices to cast a wide variety of robotic equipment and parts.
• Aluminum is particularly attractive since it is relatively easy to cast, boasts a higher tensile strength than cast iron at about 1/3 of the weight, it is non-magnetic, corrosion resistant, non-sparking, and a good conductor.
• Magnesium can create even lighter parts with stiffness equal to that of aluminum; however A&B Die Casting does not work with it.
• Zinc is best for thin walls, very tight tolerances, or small parts.

Aluminum Alloys
Aluminum alloys are strong, lightweight, and economical for high-volume casting. Parts cast from aluminum alloys maintain their strength at high temperatures, possess good thermal and electrical conductivity, and can also be cast with intricate geometries and thin walls while maintaining their strength.

Why is aluminum used so widely in robotic applications?
• Lightweight
• High dimensional stability
• Corrosion resistance
• Excellent mechanical properties
• Good machining characteristics
• Superior EMI and RFI shielding properties
• High thermal and electrical conductivity
• High strength-to-weight ratio
• A variety of decorative and protective finishes
• Great choice for high temperature coating processes
• Made from 100% recycled material and is fully recyclable

With strength comparable to zinc alloys, aluminum is frequently chosen for robotic applications when weight is at a premium – it has a very low specific gravity which places it amongst the most lightweight structural materials available today.

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

Why is zinc used so widely in robotic applications?
• Offers high precision with lower tooling costs
• Superior strength and hardness
• Optimal for complex, multi-faceted, versatile, net shaped parts with thin walls
• Excellent electrical performance and shielding properties

How are robots used in die cast foundries?
Since robots are more consistently accurate than human beings can possibly be, many die casting companies utilize robots in their foundries to help produce better quality castings. Robots are also able to withstand temperatures and environments that would be harmful or uncomfortable for a human operator.

Procedures such as:
• Tend to the die cast machinery : Using robots where appropriate to tend to the machinery can speed up production dramatically, can lead to higher material yields due to consistent pouring, reduce the amount of scrap, and create an overall safer working environment for human operators.
• Pour molten metal and other material handling : Molten metal can be extremely dangerous and needs to be poured with a steady hand. A robot can also skim dross and ladle faster and more accurately than a human can, which eliminates the chance of spilling and reduces waste. Robots can also load inserts and extract solidified casting more quickly and efficiently.
• Spray mold release lubricants : Dies need to be properly lubricated and spraying consistently can be difficult for a human to achieve. Uneven application of the lubricants can cause issues with the castings as well as uneven die cooling.
• Trim excess metal away : Unnecessary runners, flashes, and risers need to be removed after casting. Using robots to grind or cut away the excess metal greatly speeds up moving the project to the next stage.
• And many more.

As you can see foundry robots are designed and used for a wide variety of applications that optimize the production process. Utilizing robotics productivity has increased exponentially, errors have gone down substantially, and most importantly they make foundries safer. Robots have had a monumental impact on the die casting process and they continue to play a crucial role in both productivity and worker safety. They are widely used in foundries and are created by them too.

Ready to get started on your next project?
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 option to achieve the desired result for your application. 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. Need assistance or want to get started on your next die cast project? Contact A&B Die Casting today!

How Can 3D Printing Benefit Your Die Casting?

How Can 3D Printing Benefit Your Die Casting?

Die casting is an extremely popular, effective, and reliable 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 also require minimal secondary processes since many features can be integrated into the design such as studs, hinges, drill holes, and bosses, to name just a few.

Die casting is a time-tested manufacturing method that is dramatically benefitting from newer technologies such as 3D printing. 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, gives engineers greater design flexibility since a 3D printer can print just about anything that you can imagine and model a drawing of.

What are the benefits of 3D printing for die casting?
3D printing has quite a few clear benefits for die casting, such as:
• Design flexibility
• Easy to revise designs
• Perfect for prototyping or testing proof of design
• Saves you time and money

3D printing is an inexpensive way to create and test a working model of a design. Utilizing this technology to test your designs makes it easier to make design revisions without the high costs of making multiple dies. The technology helps die casters bypass a lot of costly and time-consuming aspects of creating and testing out dies and is a great choice for achieving proper fit and function of a product when you are testing out the design before beginning high-volume production. This equates to better die cast products, faster production times, and quite a bit of cost savings.

How does A&B Die Casting utilize 3D printing?
Die creation is expensive, utilizing 3D printing to check the part design for fit and moldability, as well as revising it quickly as needed prior to the creation of the production die will save you both time and money. Creating 3D models utilizing FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling Machine), as A&B Die Casting does, helps the die caster address potential design for manufacturability (DFM) issues to optimize the part for the die casting process.

Not only is 3D printing valuable in DFM (Design For Manufacturability) with the mold design but it also helps with secondary operations that will be needed to bring the product to its final specifications. It allows the die caster to develop machining fixtures, as well as get a head start on writing the machining and CMM inspection programs. All of this facilitates getting the actual FA castings processed to completion and approved for production faster.

The use of 3D printing in design for manufacturability in die casting has proven to save time, reduce costs, and ensure better results. Utilizing 3D printing technology is ideal for highly complex casting jobs, facilitating both greater design freedom and cost-effectiveness in pattern and mold production.

Ready to get started?
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 option 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!

The Benefits of Die Casting Zinc for Medical Device Parts

The Benefits of Die Casting Zinc for Medical Device Parts

The medical industry continues to break through technological barriers at a rapid rate in order to continuously revolutionize the way the medical profession can deliver healthcare.
• The way surgical procedures are done
• The way replacement parts are made
• The way medical data is obtained or analyzed
• And the way various other aspects of healthcare are constantly changing and evolving

As new ideas are developed, traditional methods are giving way to new approaches and new technologies. However, one thing remains the same – when it comes to human health, there can be no compromise in quality. The challenge with designing medical devices is striking a balance between products that address clinical needs, minimize human error, and increase patient safety. They must also be biocompatible (hygienic, antimicrobial) and able to withstand not only regular use but also regular cleaning and disinfecting without damaging the functionality or appearance of the device.

Zinc is the alloy of choice
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.

Complex shapes, high density, with thin walls
Due to the high density and extremely thin-walled casting ability of zinc die cast alloys, hand-held medical devices can be designed for better overall usability. Features such as weight, balance, valence, haptic feedback, and inertia can be specifically engineered to provide a more comfortable experience for both the medical professional and the patient.

RFI/EMI shielding capabilities
If the medical device contains sensitive electronics the shielding capabilities inherent to zinc become an incredibly important feature. You want to ensure that the functionality of a sensitive medical device is not adversely being affected by the electrical or electromagnetic radiation from other devices.

Zinc is currently used to produce a wide range of medical device parts for products such as:
• Blood pressure monitors
• Breathing aids
• Defibrillators
• Pacemakers
• Patient monitoring systems
• Ultrasound systems
• and much more

Overall, Zinc is a casting alloy that offers high precision with lower tooling costs. Zinc’s superior strength and hardness is an ideal alternative for machined, pressed, stamped, and fabricated components. Zinc is optimal for complex, multi-faceted, versatile, net shaped parts with thin walls while offering excellent electrical performance and shielding properties which makes it an ideal choice for use in medical applications.

How can A&B Die Casting help with your medical project?
A&B Die Casting leads the industry with a trusted worldwide reputation for unique economical approaches and value-added services for all of your die casting solutions.

We also understand that people’s health and safety rely on the dependability of the products we help create. We work closely with our medical device customers to help them design and produce economical, top-quality, parts from the foundation of the product by generating prototypes throughout the proof-of-concept stage and every stage towards FDA approval.

Medical device manufacturers can count on us for:
• Consistent quality
• Cost-effective production
• Tight tolerances
• Complex component capabilities
• Cast housings that are extremely durable
• Fully recyclable materials
• Wide variety of finishes
• Value-added engineering services
• And more

With over 70 years in the business, we’ve been at the forefront of revolutionary changes by consistently refining our equipment and processes to ensure we provide our medical device customers with leading-edge technology and the highest quality parts.

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

Porosity in Die Cast Parts and What it Means to You

Porosity in Die Cast Parts and What it Means to You

What is porosity in die casting?
Porosity refers to small voids, holes, or pockets of air that are found within a finished part. These holes typically occur when air is trapped in the material being worked with. Porosity is a big concern in die casting, though it is typically acceptable in non-critical areas.

Porosity can happen in a variety of ways. Air can become trapped by the die cast machinery leaving gaps at the top of the die, it can occur when filling a mold too slowly, or when some of the material being used solidifies too soon. It can also occur when the air used to force molten metal into the mold isn’t completely forced out or able to escape through vents and overflows.

Causes of porosity in die casting:
• The design of the mold and cast parts
• The purity of the metal or alloy being used
• Pressure and shot speed of the machines
• Shrinkage of the material wall thickness
• Too much lubricant in the die
• Sharp corners in the mold
• Low metal temperatures
• Air trapped in the metal

How do you check for porosity?
• X-ray the finished material
• Using computerized tomography
• Cutting and polishing a section and then analyzing it under a microscope

Can it be prevented?
Porosity varies in severity and can occasionally be acceptable in the final product, but generally it is best to limit it as much as possible. There are so many areas that need to be closely monitored in order to avoid porosity – the die casting process (such as the design of the mold), purity of the metal, low metal temperatures, pressure and speed of the machines, and more.

The best way to minimize porosity is to make sure the engineers and the die caster are working closely together to provide strategic guidance from the very beginning of the project. In addition, making sure the die caster is experienced and is using only top quality materials also greatly reduces any possible issues with your die cast part.

Need a hand?
Early involvement with a seasoned die caster is essential in avoiding issues with your cast and any possible expensive corrective steps needed down the line. With over 74 years of experience in die casting, A&B Die Casting understands your materials, designs, and parts as well as the casting process factors that are most likely to cause different types of defects. This wealth of experience enables us to prevent many defects before they even occur. We can also assist with redesigning elements to address porosity-prone areas and shift them to locations that will not impact structural integrity.

If you are developing your own tolerance limits, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) lists the standards for porosity in castings on their website (https://www.astm.org/). They are an excellent resource for standards, books, journals, and articles for a variety of industries, materials, and products.

If you are concerned about the porosity of your casting, we recommend you contact us directly and chat about your specific project.

-A&B Die Casting
(877) 708-0009
www.abdiecasting.com

How Important is Temperature when you are Die Casting?

How Important is Temperature when you are Die Casting?

Die casting temperature control is a serious issue. When it comes to die casting, as temperatures increase the tensile and yield strengths of the alloy decrease. Ductility also increases as the temperature increases but differs based on the type of alloy being cast. The proper temperature is crucial for both the die and the metal to be cast. The metal being cast needs to be heated correctly to ensure proper flow and fill of the mold. If the temperature of the molten metal is too hot for the mold, it could damage the mold. If the temperature of the mold is too cold, the metal will cool too quickly as it flows into the mold and will cause defects.


Metal flowing into a die

What temperatures need to be closely monitored?
• The temperature of the die itself
• The temperature of the die casting machine or casting chamber
• The temperature of the alloy used for casting

All three of these temperatures must be kept within their individual optimum range in order to produce the highest quality die cast parts.

What is the proper die temperature?
The die temperature will depend on what alloy you intend to cast. You want to avoid putting excess strain on your die, stressing the die will lower the life expectancy of the die itself. It is best to pour your alloy into your die when it is approximately 50° to 70° degrees higher than the crystallization temperature of the alloy. The die needs to be maintained at approximately a third of the alloy’s temperature.

What is the proper die casting chamber/machine temperature?
The temperature required for the die casting machine is a complex calculation that includes things such as the alloy type, die type, size of the part to cast, and more. The chamber temperature needs to be determined by an experienced die caster.

What is the proper alloy temperature?
Alloy temperatures vary greatly depending on the material. Here are two examples of the most common die cast alloys – aluminum and zinc.

Aluminum
Aluminum 360, 380 and 413 are by far the most popular metal choices for die casting. Aluminum is resistant to corrosion, lightweight, and extremely durable. When casting aluminum 380, for example, you will get a tensile strength of 48 at 75° with yield strength of 24 KSI (Kips per Square Inch). If you increase the temperature to 212°, you will get a tensile strength of 45 KSI, while the yield strength stays constant at 24.

Zinc
Zinc 3, 5, and 7 are also incredibly popular die casting alloys. For these zinc alloys, a temperature of 75° produces an average of 40 KSI. If you increase the temperature to 275° you will produce an average KSI around 10.

Optimal temperature ranges for surface finish:

What happens if the temperature is incorrect?
If the temperature of the metal being cast is too hot for the mold it can damage the mold, which dramatically shortens the effective usage life of the mold. If the temperature is too cold the metal will cool too quickly as it is flowing into the mold which can cause defects (such as porosity problems or misruns).

How can A&B Die Casting help?
Here at A&B Die Casting we take the issue of temperature control very seriously. We are highly experienced at keeping our materials and casting equipment at the optimal temperature. We utilize 3D flow analysis software to ensure optimal die filling for superior casting quality. The software allows us to simulate how the specified material will flow into the a mold so that we can more accurately gauge the overall effectiveness of the mold as well as identify any potential issues with the material temperature fluctuations while it flows into the mold.

For over 70 years A&B Die Casting has been serving world-wide manufacturers with low-to-medium volume aluminum and zinc die castings. Our experienced team creates solutions for your production needs from the formative stages of engineering and prototyping to machining, finishing, assembly, packaging and shipping with adherence to your exact specifications.

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

Design Geometry Considerations for Die Casting

Design Geometry Considerations for Die Casting

Producing a top quality die cast component part starts with a solid and well thought out design. The goal of any die cast design is to create a casting that will maximize the function of the part, while being one that can be produced fairly quickly, efficiently, with few defects, and little to no secondary operations necessary.

There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration when designing a die, such as:
• Wall thickness
• Wall thickness uniformity
• Draft
• Pockets
• Fillets and corners
• Ribs and bosses
• And more

Wall thickness
Wall thickness is the distance between two parallel (or nearly parallel) surfaces and will vary depending on the thickness to length ratio of the entire part. If your part is very long it is difficult to maintain a very thin wall. You want your wall thickness to be as thin as possible while maintaining the strength and overall functional requirements necessary for your specific application.

Typical minimum wall thickness:

Wall thickness uniformity
Ideally, you want a design that creates uniform wall thickness all around the casting. This doesn’t mean that it needs to be 100% the same on all sides, only that you should strive to minimize drastic wall thickness variations. Dramatic variations in wall thickness can result in different rates of cooling along the cast wall which can alter the dimensions of the finished part. Uniform thickness also allows you to better control the flow of the metal into the die in order to ensure a complete fill.

Draft
When it comes to die casting a draft refers to the slope or taper that run in the direction of the die’s opening. The taper should be greater on the interior of the die walls than it is on the exterior walls so that when the alloy cools and solidifies it will shrink and fit more tightly on the inside of the casting. The greater the interior draft, the easier the finished part will be to remove from the die and the more precise the finished product will be.

Pockets
If your part needs to be light, pockets are excellent inclusions in die cast designs. Basically these pockets, also referred to as metal savers, are open spaces or holes placed in the design of the die. Strategically placed pockets make your final part lighter without compromising any of the structural integrity.

Fillets and corners
Fillets are the curved parts of the casting where two surfaces would normally have come together at a sharp angle. They are added to a die casting to eliminate hard edges and corners that are not desired in the final part. It is best to utilize large inner and outer corner radii for the cast part. The larger the radii the stronger the final part will be.

Ribs and bosses
Bosses generally serve as stand-offs and mounting points, while ribs are added to provide support without increasing wall thickness. If it is possible, design any necessary ribs and bosses directly into the die cast. These features help eliminate sharp corners and help increase the overall strength of the finished part.

Consulting with an experienced die caster during the design phase will help eliminate any potential problems affecting tooling and production of your new part.

How can A&B help?
A&B Die Casting leads the industry with a trusted worldwide reputation for unique economical approaches and value-added services for all of your die casting solutions. We pride ourselves on doing the hard work upfront so that we can generate the most value to our customers for years to come.

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

Die Castings vs. Hog-Outs

Die Castings vs. Hog-Outs

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.

What are the advantages of die casting?
• 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 is a hog-out?
A hog-out is a part that has been fully machined from a bar or blank rather than formed, net shape, by a casting or forging process.

What are the primary advantages of hog-outs versus die castings?
• Flexibility: Changes can be made on a part-by-part basis, as the design is being developed. Design changes can be made, without the need for capex tooling changes.
• Lead time: A hog-out can be produced very quickly, usually measured in days.

What are the primary advantages of die castings versus hog-outs?
• In many cases, once tooling has been built, the die casting can be produced for a cost that is near the material cost for the hog-out alone.
• Features and design details that are very costly to produce in a hog-out can be readily incorporated into the die cast tooling and will carry through to every part made from that tooling.

Why choose die castings over hog-outs?
Die casting allows you to create sharply defined metal parts from a durable range of non-ferrous metals. Die casting enables the production of components with fine details and features without the need for additional processing. Additionally, die castings can be made lighter than can be done economically with hog-outs since the additional machining time for removing extra material in a hog-out can be costly.

Though hog-out parts are perfect for quick prototyping of 1 or 2 components, short production runs, smaller-sized items, or to test the fit of a component in something else; die casting becomes the clear choice once part design has been finalizes and production is anticipated. Hog-out parts also become incredibly expensive as part size increases due to the material needed as well as the machinist’s time machining the component.

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 option 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!