The Federal Group is a fabrication shop in Michigan that provides high-quality die casting services. We have provided custom die-cast parts to companies in a variety of industries and regions for nearly 40 years.
The basic die casting process involves pushing molten metal into a metal mold called a “die.” Die casting is one of the most used methods for producing high-quality parts for a variety of applications. Almost every industrial business relies on die casting for various components.
What Is Die Casting?
While die casting parts involves higher initial costs compared to some casting methods, it tends to result in lower per-unit costs for high-volume production. Other benefits include smooth finishes, durable products, and a reduced need for some secondary machining processes.
This process involves multiple steps. The first step is the creation of the mold. The die is created based on a prototype or pattern, allowing for the rapid production of identical parts. During the production process, the die is prepared with a lubricant, which helps to control temperatures while making it easier to remove the casting. The two die halves are pressed together. Molten metal is then forced into the cavity created by the dies. After the casting solidifies, the die is opened and the part is ejected.
Is Die Casting Right for Your Product?
Die casting may not be the perfect solution for every project. At The Federal Group, we offer a wide range of metal casting services, including:
- Investment casting
- Rapid prototype casting
- Sand casting
- Lost foam casting
- Lost wax casting
- Centrifugal casting
- Permanent mold casting
Some projects may also benefit from metal stamping or forging instead of die casting. The choice depends on a variety of factors, including the size and geometry of the part. Here is a closer look at how die casting compares to a few of our other metal fabrication services.
Hot Chamber vs. Cold Chamber Die Casting
We employ two types of machines for die casting. Depending on the material and timeframe, we may use a hot chamber machine or a cold chamber machine.
Hot chamber systems rely on a piston to force the molten metal into the dies. The machine has a built-in furnace to heat the metal. The hydraulic-powered piston then forces the metal into the die at a fast pace with a typical cycle lasting just about 15 minutes.
Cold chamber systems include an extra step in the process. Instead of a built-in furnace, these machines require a separate furnace to melt the metal.
The molten metal is transferred to the machine using an injection cylinder. The cylinder extrudes the metal into the die using a piston. The additional step of transferring the molten metal increases the production cycle.
The main advantage of cold chamber casting is the ability to work with a wider range of metals. Metals with a high melting point require the use of a separate furnace, which is not an option with hot chamber systems.
Cold chamber casting is best suited for working with materials like brass, steel, copper, nickel, iron, and occasionally aluminum. Hot chamber casting provides an efficient solution for tin, zinc, and alloys with lower melting points.
Sand Casting vs. Die Casting
While die casting relies on high pressure to force the liquid metal into the mold, sand casting involves pouring liquid metal into a mold.
The sand casting process includes a mixture of sand and clay pressed into boxes called flasks. The model part is placed in the mixture, creating a mold. The molten metal is poured into the mold to create the desired shape.
When the metal cools, the sand is blasted away. Our sand casting process produces high-quality parts with minimal porosity and defects compared to die casting. Sand castings are also suitable for a wider range of materials.
While we offer alloy die casting services, die castings do not work with all materials. Sand castings can be made from various ferrous metals and non-ferrous alloys. However, sand casting is a more exhaustive process.
If you have a short timetable for your product development cycle, die casting is the preferred choice. Our die casting services include fast turnaround for most projects.
Metal Stamping vs. Die Casting
Metal stamping is another service that we provide for the fabrication of quality parts. Our stamping equipment allows us to work with steel and alloys that may not be suitable for the die casting process.
Stamping is preferred for simple parts and rapid production. However, this process typically involves fewer components and assembly operations along with a closer net shape.
Investment Casting vs. Die Casting
Investment casting is another casting process offered at The Federal Group. With our investment casting services, we create wax patterns from a master die. The wax patterns are coated in a ceramic material that eventually hardens.
The wax is then melted, leaving an empty ceramic mold. This process allows for very intricate designs and greater precision compared to die casting parts.
While investment casting requires less tooling, the price per unit is often higher. It is also a more time-consuming process.
In the end, die casting is the preferred choice for a wide range of applications. It remains one of the most efficient casting processes, especially for high-volume production runs. Depending on your specific project, little to no machining is required.
High-Pressure Casting & Gravity Casting
At The Federal Group, we also offer high-pressure casting and gravity casting based on the requirements of the project.
Gravity casting is typically used for heavy products and high-volume production runs. It relies on gravity to allow the melted metal to naturally flow into the mold cavity. Compared to sand casting, this process is better suited for projects that require thin walls or a smooth surface.
Along with gravity casting machines, we have several types of high-pressure die casting machines including 600-ton, 800-ton, and 1200-ton machines. These machines allow for fast turnaround, thanks to shorter casting cycles.
The Federal Group’s Die Casting Capabilities
The Federal Group utilizes both classic and cutting-edge methods to fabricate reliable and accurate castings for use across a multitude of industries. We use both gravity casting and high pressure casting to manufacture parts based on product requirements. Before a part can be formed the metal is melted in either of our two high-volume furnaces: Our 10,000 lb and 20,000lb furnaces are precisely controlled to heat a given metal to ideal working temperatures.
Historically, gravity casting was the first form of casting and is still used today for heavier products or products that are to be made in medium to high volumes. It utilizes gravity to allow the molten metal to flow throughout the mold cavity. This process is capable of creating thinner walls with a smoother surface than is possible with sand casting. Gravity casting is highly repeatable and steel pins and inserts can even be cast into a part.
We also have a versatile line-up of high-pressure die casting machines:
- 600 Ton
- 800 Ton
- 1200 Ton
These machines have excellent process repeatability and are capable of very quickly making parts with thin walls. Ideal for automation, our high pressure machines have short casting cycles that will optimize your production capabilities.
Decades of Die Casting Experience and Global Reach
Why choose The Federal Group for your custom metal fabrication and custom die casting needs? For the past forty years, we have produced high-quality custom metal products and developed a large network of partners around the world to source the best materials.
We deliver fast solutions at competitive prices and pride ourselves on our:
- Quality management processes
- Collaboration and innovation
- Decades of manufacturing expertise
- Solutions for a variety of industries
Our quality management system ensures that your parts meet the standards of your industry. We offer a pre-production part approval process (PPAP) and pre-production quality planning. Our production techniques also involve in-process controls.
Along with these steps, we collaborate with you from the beginning to help eliminate issues during the design phase. Our engineers work with you to create more efficient parts.
These solutions are available for businesses in every industry. We regularly work with clients in the automotive, aerospace, agricultural, construction, and telecommunications industries.
To learn more about our custom die casting processes or to receive a quote for your project, contact us today at The Federal Group.