Metal molding and fabrication is a process that requires extreme precision, expertise, and care. As a consumer, you don’t want the molded metal pieces you order to crumble under pressure. As a metal worker, you don’t want a mishap to occur while molding the metal to put your team in danger. Thankfully, aluminum die casting represents a safe, reliable process by which metal pieces can be cast and molded for a variety of purposes.
Let’s take a look at what aluminum die casting is, what it entails, what it can create, and how it can help clients looking for well-crafted aluminum items.
What to Know About Aluminum Die Casting
The most basic idea of aluminum die casting is to fill a die (a mold) with liquid metal in such a way as to press it into whatever shape you wish to cast. It is the go-to process for most industrial projects that require metal parts. Part of this is due to the fact that, while it has higher startup costs than some other processes, over the long-term it can produce less expensive per-unit costs, especially for mass production. In addition, aluminum die casting also creates a smooth finish that gives products a nice aesthetic sheen.
Everything begins with casting the mold itself. The mold cavity is created by using two steel dies which have been machined into shape. These molds are then used similarly to an injection mold during the casting process.
One of the most important factors to keep in mind when it comes to casting and producing metal products is keeping temperatures down. High, out of control temperatures can lead to the metal burning and spoiling, to say nothing of the severe safety issue that presents. Another benefit of aluminum die casting is that it helps tamp down those concerns by lubricating the die during the metal production process, which helps keep things cool and likewise makes it easier to remove the freshly-cast metal product once it’s finished.
That finish to the process comes when the two halves are pressed together, with molten metal being forced into the space created by the two reverse side dies. Once the casting has solidified, the die is opened and the piece removed.
Hot Casting Versus Cold Die Casting
Depending on the project, aluminum casting is done via “hot” or “cold” processes.
In hot die casting, a hydraulic-powered piston is critical for forcing molten metal into dies for casting. Hot die casting machines feature build-in furnaces in which the metal is heated up in real-time during the process. Hot die casting is also quick die casting, with the typical casting time from start to finish being about 15 minutes.
By contrast, cold casting involves an extra step because it lacks a built-in furnace. This is instead done in a separate chamber. Once the metal has been melted down, it is then transferred via an injection cylinder into a machine for casting. The big advantage of this method is that it allows for die casting to work with more materials than can be used in hot die casting. Metals with a high melting point that may melt too quickly in hot die casting chambers require more delicate handling and casting, which is what cold casting can provide.
Die Casting Materials
Examples of metals that can be best served by cold chamber machines include aluminum, brass, copper, iron, nickel, and steel. Hot chamber casting is better suited to working with metals such as tin and zinc as well as alloys that have lower melting points.
Sand Casting Versus Die Casting
This is another divide in the casting processes that is between sand and die casting. Die casting involves forcing molten metal into molds via high-pressure injection and extrusion, whole sand casting pours that same metal into the mold instead. Sand casting involves sand and clay being pressed together to create flasks. These can then be used to shape the metal as needed. Once the metal cools, the sand is then blasted away.
Aluminum die casting tends to proceed at a faster pace than sand casting.
Squeeze Casting Versus Semi-Solid Molding.
Another variation in the aluminum die casting process is between squeeze casting and semi-solid casting. In the former case, the die halves are pressed together and the metal cast by generating high pressure without gas becoming entrapped. In semi-solid casting, the metal billets are instead cast with the intention of creating aluminum casting with low consistency that are easily treatable.
Work With A Trusted Aluminum Die Casting Partner
As demonstrated above, there are many different variables when considering a die casting project. When tackling them, you want to know you’re working with aluminum casting experts who understand the ins and outs of the industry and can give you the best advice as to which methods are best for you.
At TFG USA, we take great pride in being able to do that better than anyone else in the state of Michigan. We will work hand in glove with you to take you through each of the processes listed above and describe how they can best be applied to your particular needs. Moreover, we will be glad to answer any questions you have about the die casting process and how it can work for you.
Every die casting project is different, and at TFG USA, we treat your order with the care and individualized attention it deserves. Contact us today to get a free quote for your next aluminum die casting project.