2019 | Happy Thanksgiving!

2019 | Happy Thanksgiving!

Fun Thanksgiving Facts

• Thanksgiving is ranked as America’s second most popular holiday (Christmas is #1).
• Americans eat approximately 46 million turkeys (which is about 535 million pounds of turkey) each Thanksgiving.
• Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the US national bird, not the bald eagle.
• Each year, beginning in 1947 with President Truman, the president of the US pardons a turkey and spares it from being eaten for Thanksgiving dinner.
• Even though it is not the most popular pie flavor, an estimated 50 million pumpkin pies are eaten every year on Thanksgiving.
• If you count all of the snacking done, the heavy meal and all of the desserts, the average American will consume about 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day.

From our family to yours – Happy Thanksgiving!
-A&B Die Casting

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!

2019 | Happy Veterans Day!

2019 | Happy Veterans Day!

Veterans Day is a U.S. federal holiday, observed annually on November 11th, honoring military veterans (persons who have served in the United States Armed Forces).

To all Veterans, we sincerely thank you for your service.

-A&B Die Casting

2019 | Happy Halloween!

2019 | Happy Halloween!

Seven spooky fun Halloween facts
• “Halloween” is short for “All Hallows’ Eve” or “All Hallows’ Evening,” which was celebrated as the evening before All Hallows’ (sanctified or holy) Day or Hallowmas on November 1.
• The first Jack O’Lanterns were actually made from turnips.
• The word “witch” comes from the Old English word wicce, meaning “wise woman.”
• Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.
• Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets during Samhain, a sacred Celtic harvest festival.
• Fifty percent of kids prefer to receive chocolate candy for Halloween, compared with 24% who prefer non-chocolate candy and 10% who preferred gum.
• Black and orange are typically associated with Halloween. Orange is a symbol of strength and endurance and, along with brown and gold, stands for the harvest and autumn. Black is typically a symbol of death and darkness and acts as a reminder that Halloween once was a festival that marked the boundaries between life and death.

What Finish Is Right For Your Die Cast Parts? Part 3 | The Finishes that A&B Die Casting Specializes In

What Finish Is Right For Your Die Cast Parts? Part 3 | The Finishes that A&B Die Casting Specializes In

Once a part has been die-cast the process is not quite over. Die cast part finishes are intended to improve the aesthetic and functional characteristics of your component. There are an extremely large number of finishes out there to choose from and the surface finish affects both the appearance and performance of the item. They include everything from finishes that add a decorative touch to the product to others that improve the part’s chemical or corrosion resistance.

A finish is not always essential but it can be a crucial factor in the die casting process since the design of the piece needs to take the finish into consideration to ensure that your final product meets all dimensional requirements. Each step of the die casting process has an impact on the final product. Specific features such as parting lines, vents, ejector pins, and gates need to be taken into consideration early in the design phase to determine the most effective placement so that they don’t interfere with the purpose of the finish.

High quality surface finishes are necessary for things like:
• High shine decorative finish
• Protection against environmental exposure
• Resistance to wear
• Insulation from galvanic corrosion
• And more

Over the last couple of months we have talked at length about finishes in more broad terms and now we want to complete this series by discussing the most popular finishes that we work with. This will help you to find well received finishes, know what they are, and give you the information that you need to find a finish that may be a bit more unique for your product. So, what specific surface finishes do we specialize in?

Decorative:
• Powder coating
• Wet Painting
• Ceramic Coating
Electro Plating

Semi-Decorative:
Electroless Nickel Plating
• Brushed Metal Finishing
• Ball Burnishing

Non-Decorative:
• Chemical Conversion Film
• Anodizing
• Sand Blasting
• Vibratory Finishing

Our standard finishing steps include:
1. Deburring and post-cast processes to remove loose flash, round sharp edges, smooth and brighten surfaces. We use both automated vibratory deburring and mechanical deburring methods to achieve the required finish.
2. Coatings for function including sealing, protection against corrosion, heat dissipation, surface performance and insulation. Most coatings are either paint or plating based.
3. Cosmetic and decorative coatings require a refined approach in both die casting processes and post casting finishing processes. The quality of the finish is directly affected by the quality of the surface underneath.

In general, plating processes are the poorest at hiding underlying surface conditions and require the most surface prep operations to achieve the desired final finish. Due to the fact that a die cast part needs to be heated during certain decorative finishing processes (such as plating and painting), it is vital for the die cast part to have both a good internal structure and good surface finish. These are achieved through good design for both the tool and the component as well as the proper post-casting operations to achieve the optimum surface finish for the desired final plating result.

The process of die casting and following die casting finishes 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 finish you need can help to potentially minimize surface finish problems as well as any potential porosity issues. As you can see A&B Die Casting offers a wide range of options and also works closely with you to discover the perfect finishing solutions for your parts.

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 design requirements which ensures that we achieve the desired end product. With over 75 years of die casting surface finishing expertise, our engineers will evaluate your requirements to recommend the best approach to achieve the desired finish for your part. Contact A&B Die Casting today!

What Finish Is Right For Your Die Cast Parts? Part 2 | Electroplating & Electroless Plating

What Finish Is Right For Your Die Cast Parts? Part 2 | Electroplating & Electroless Plating

A die casting surface finish can provide durability, protection, and an attractive appearance. Last month we detailed the most common decorative finishes used in the industry – this article will delve a bit more into two types of plating that can be applied to die castings; electro-plating or electroless plating. What is the difference between the two processes and which would work best for your application?

Electroplating
Electroplating is a process where thin layers of metal are bonded at the molecular level with another metal. An electrical current is passed by two electrode terminals through a carefully prepared electrolyte solution where a metal part has been placed for plating. The electricity changes the surface properties of the part and allows it to bond with the metals in the electrolyte solution.

What types of metals can be plated this way?
• Platinum
• Gold
• Silver
• Chromium
• Copper
• Tin
• Aluminum*
• Zinc
• Cadmium
• Nickel
• Lead

*Aluminum has a tendency to form an oxide that may prevent proper plating adhesion. It is best to apply a zinc undercoating to aluminum parts before any type of plating.

Why choose electroplating?
• Improve appearance
• Improve the abrasion and wear resistance
• Corrosion protection
• Increase lubricity
• Increase the thickness of a part

What parts are commonly electroplated? Here are a few examples:
• Tools and dies
• Aircraft components
• Machine components
• Mechanical assemblies
• Electronics and computer devices
• Enclosures, chassis, and heat sinks
• Medical diagnostic instruments
• And many more

Electroplating is capable of achieving the best cosmetic plating finish on die castings, since multiple layers of plating are applied and buffing/polishing can be performed after each layer. The main downside to electroplating is that it is very difficult to properly and evenly plate parts with complex shapes. The electroplating process also requires very clean conditions, utilizes possibly hazardous equipment, requires filtration, and typically requires multiple applications to achieve the desired look and thickness. In some instances electroless plating is the better alternative.

Electroless Plating
Electroless plating is quickly becoming one of the most widely used forms of plating today because it is more cost-effective and easier to do than electroplating. Electroless plating is used primarily as a protective and/or used to enhance electrical conductivity. In some cases, it can also be used as a decorative coating.

Electroless plating is also known as autocatalytic plating or conversion coating. Simply put, it is a process for plating a part without using an electrical current. The process for electroless plating basically involves dipping a part into a bath of plating solution where a reducing agent (like hydrated sodium hypophosphite) reacts with the ions in the part to deposit another metal alloy onto it (typically nickel).

A wide variety of metals can be plated this way, including (but not limited to):
• Aluminum
• Titanium
• Mild steels
• Stainless steel
• Hardened steel
• Copper
• Brass
• Zinc

Why choose electroless plating?
• Prevents corrosion and wear
• Adds toughness
• Resistance to abrasion
• Uniform deposits with consistent thickness
• Can be used on parts with very complex shapes

Due to the fact that electroless plating tends to create a very hard and non porous finish, this technique is very popular in industries such as oil fields or marine applications where parts are very vulnerable to wear and corrosion.

What other industries commonly use electroless plating? Here are a few examples:
• Oil and gas – barrels, pipes, pipe fittings, valves
• Automotive – gears, brake pistons, shock absorbers, cylinders
• Food service – food processing machine parts, molds
• Plastics and textiles – dies, machine parts, molds, extruders
• Aerospace – rocket parts, pumps, valves, pistons
• Chemicals – mixing blades, filer units, pumps, heat exchangers
• And so many more

In general, plating processes are the poorest at hiding underlying surface conditions and require the most surface prep operations to achieve the desired final finish. It is vital for a die cast part to have both a good internal structure and good surface finish. These are achieved through good design for both the tool and the component as well as the proper post-casting operations to achieve the optimum surface finish for the desired final plating result. Planning ahead for the finish you need can help to potentially minimize surface finish problems as well as any potential porosity issues.

With over 75 years of die casting surface finishing expertise, our engineers will evaluate your requirements to recommend the best approach to achieve the desired finish for your part. Contact A&B Die Casting today!

2019 | Happy Labor Day!

2019 | Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day, observed the first Monday in September, is a celebration of the labor movement and the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. This US federal holiday is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. Enjoy your day!

What Finish Is Right For Your Die Cast Parts? Part 1 | Decorative

What Finish Is Right For Your Die Cast Parts? Part 1 | Decorative

A die casting surface finish can provide durability, protection, and a decorative appearance. Over the next few months we will explore different types of finishes and how they are beneficial for different types of die cast parts.

Due to the fact that a die cast part needs to be heated during decorative finishing processes (such as plating and painting), it is vital for the die cast part to have both a good internal structure and good surface finish. These are achieved through good design for both the tool and the component. Planning ahead for the finish you need can help to potentially minimize surface finish problems as well as any potential porosity issues.

Types of decorative finish:
• Smooth and Shiny: In cases where a smooth and shiny surface is required, the density of the casting itself must be higher so that the part can be plated and buffed repeatedly. This type of finish requires the most preparation of the casting to achieve a smooth surface under the coating. Smooth and glossy finishes have the least ability to hide any surface imperfections.
• Satin and Textured: For satin finishes, brushing or media blasting can be used to achieve the desired surface finish before coating.

The 5 Most Common Decorative Finishes:
1. Painting
2. Powder Coating
3. Antiquing
4. Ceramic Coating
5. Plating

1.) Painting

Painted

Lacquers, paints, and enamels can easily be applied to die cast parts and work for both decorative and protective purposes. As with any finish, special considerations must be taken at the design stages of the part to plan for the type of painting finish you need. Precautions are taken in order to remove any oils from the cast surfaces. For best results, a conversion coating is applied after cleaning to ensure good adhesion of the coating to the die cast surface.

2.) Powder Coating

PowderCoating

Powder coating is commonly used as a decorative finish because it is able to hide minor flaws in the surface, the thickness is better controlled and more uniform, it is quite durable, very glossy, and has great color consistency and vibrancy. Powder coating yields a very hard, high anti-corrosion finish which makes it better at resisting dings and scratches. Unlike paints, powder coating reaches its final cured hardness during the baking cycle. Paints continue to cure for a period of time after baking, which may cause a delay in subsequent assembly operations. Powder coating is also quite environmentally friendly because the process produces no hazardous air pollutants or waste byproducts.

3.) Antiquing

Antiqued

In order to create an antique look, zinc castings electroplated with copper (or any other of its alloying agents), can be covered in a layer of colored components, such as copper sulfide. This casting is then ‘relieved’ – a process which entails the removal of some of the colored layers on highpoints in order to present the underlying layer of the yellowish brass or the reddish copper. The parts are then treated with lacquer in order to prevent tarnishing.

4.) Ceramic Coating

Ceramic

Ceramic coatings provide a very thin and decorative coating for die castings. Similar in thickness to anodizing, ceramic coatings can be applied to the entire part surface and in some cases even internal threads can be coated. Since the coating is very thin, any surface imperfections in the die casting will show through. Care must be taken with surface prep operations to ensure the desired final finish is achieved.

5.) Plating

Plating

Plating can be applied to die castings using either the electroless or electro-plating processes. Electroless plating is used primarily as a protective and/or used to enhance electrical conductivity. In some cases, it can be used as a decorative coating. Electro-plating is capable of achieving the best cosmetic plating finish on die castings, since multiple layers of plating are applied and buffing/polishing can be performed after each layer. In general, plating processes are the poorest at hiding underlying surface conditions and require the most surface prep operations to achieve the desired final finish.

With over 75 years of die casting surface finishing expertise, our engineers will evaluate your requirements to recommend the best design and finishing options. Contact A&B Die Casting today!

2019 | Happy 4th of July!

2019 | Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!
Please celebrate safely America.

Bald Eagle Trivia
1.) Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson served on the committee that picked the bald eagle for the US national seal (Franklin wanted it to be a turkey).
2.) Bald eagles have very few natural enemies and are only found living in North America.
3.) Bald eagles are not, and never were bald. The term comes from a time when “bald” meant “white-headed”.
4.) Bald eagles get their white head and tail feathers around the age of five.
5.) A bald eagle’s maximum flying speed is 40 mph. It is over 100 mph while in a dive.
6.) They can lift roughly half their own body weight.
7.) The only other kind of eagle that is naturally found in North America is the golden eagle.
8.) Bald eagles mate for life, but if one dies, the survivor will accept a new mate.
9.) It is a felony to shoot an eagle in the United States.

-A&B Die Casting