When you are designing an aluminum component, it is important to consider what manufacturing procedure you should use in producing it. There are different methods for producing aluminum, and one of the most common options is aluminum die-casting. Most designers prefer to use this method.

Additionally, aluminum die casting is also a preferred choice for most industrial, automotive, and telecommunications products. Most often, it is also used for producing lighting, hydraulic, and electrical components.

If you want to learn more about aluminum die casting, then you are in the right place. Furthermore, we can also help you in deciding whether this is the best choice for your application.

What is Aluminum Die-Casting?

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It is a fact that aluminum die-casting alloys are commonly used because they are lightweight and have excellent dimensional stability which is excellent for thin walls and complicated parts.

Aluminum can withstand mechanical properties and has good corrosion resistance. Consequently, it also has high electrical and thermal conductivity, making it an excellent alloy for die casting.

Furthermore, low-density aluminum metals are crucial to the die-casting industry. When it comes to the Aluminum Die Casting process, its durable strength can be retained at extremely high temperatures by using cold chamber machines.

What is the Aluminum Die Casting Process?

Aluminum die casting is a unique metal-forming method that is used for creating complicated aluminum parts. Blocks of aluminum alloy will be heated at extremely high temperatures until such time that they are completely molten.

The liquid aluminum will be embedded into the cavity or the mold under extremely high pressure. The cavity of a steel die is composed of two halves. Once the molten aluminum has hardened, it must be separated so that the cast aluminum part will be exposed.

The outcome will be an accurately formed aluminum product with a smooth surface that requires little or no machining at all. Since steel dies are used, then it is possible that you can repeat the process as many times as you want using the same mold until it deteriorates. This means that aluminum die-casting is perfect for huge volume production of aluminum components.

What Are the Advantages of Aluminum Die Casting?

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There are several advantages that you can obtain from die-casting aluminum process compared to other metal-forming methods, making it an ideal option for creating your aluminum components. One of the most evident is its capability to produce very complicated shapes that cannot be effectively created in machining or extrusion.

A good example of this is the creation of complicated automotive parts such as engine blocks and transmissions. Other methods cannot constantly accomplish the tight tolerances and complexity needed for these aluminum parts.

Other advantages include the capability to accommodate both small and large parts aside from having the ability to have smooth or textured surfaces.

What Are the Main Considerations When Designing Parts?

When designing the aluminum parts that need to be cast, there are some things that need to be considered. First, the mold should be designed in such a way that it can be separated so that the solid aluminum part can be removed.

The line that indicates where the two halves of the mold should be separated is also known as the parting line. And this is something that you should consider during the initial phase of die design. Another essential factor is the placement of the injection points.

You can design a die that has numerous injection points, especially in instances wherein the molten metal would instantly harden before it reaches every crevice in the die. This can be very valuable, especially if cavities are considered in the design. You can fill them with aluminum and still make the component come off once the mold has been separated.

The thickness of the part’s walls is also something that should be considered. Typically, there are no guidelines when it comes to the minimum wall thickness. But due to modern technological developments, it is preferable to have a consistent thickness on the walls.

How Does It Differ from Permanent Mold and Green Sand Casting?

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Two of the most common alternatives to aluminum die casting are permanent mold and green sand casting. Among these processes, the green sand process is less expensive since it uses wet sand in making the mold for the cast.

Instead of injecting the molten aluminum, in the permanent mold castings, they will be poured into the mold. This is why casts that are produced in permanent mold castings are much stronger. However, die casting provides excellent finished surfaces and better tolerances compared to the other two methods. Thus, getting rid of the need for further surface treatment.

Options for Finishing and Machining

Most often, die-cast aluminum parts only require less machining. Furthermore, there are a lot of options when it comes to surface finishing. Die casting can produce excellent surface finish based on casting standards, however, there can still be some flaws.

For instance, the metal seams that are found in the mold halves. In case there is a rough surface or any other flaws in the part, then it can be fixed by sandblasting, sanding, or orbital sanding.

To improve the fatigue resistance of die-cast aluminum, the cold working method of shot peening will be used. Another alternative would be to apply a decorative or protective coating on the finished part, for instance, a powder coat. Although there are also other types of enhancements that can be used on the parts once it is cast, for instance, drill tapping.

What Are the Most Commonly Used Aluminum Die Casting Alloys?

Some of the most used aluminum die-casting alloys include CC401, A360, A413, B390, 383, and A380. The most important consideration when selecting the proper alloy is your planned application. For instance, B390 provides high hardness and excellent wear resistance, at the same time, it also has the lowest ductility compared to the other cast alloys.

That is why it is typically used for applications like automotive engine blocks. On the other hand, A360 provides the best pressure tightness, corrosion resistance, and excellent fluidity once they are molten.

While Alloy A380 is the jack of all trades since it offers an excellent blend of casting and product properties. Additionally, it is also the most typically specified alloy for casting several products.

Conclusion

Ultimately, the metal-forming method that you choose will greatly depend on the intended application of the aluminum part, your budget, as well as the number of parts that need to be manufactured. Although die casting can be a costly method, it is definitely worth it, if you need a high volume of parts and if your design is extremely complicated.

It is important to choose professional aluminum die-casting services to guarantee that all the parts of the mold are filled with molten metal. Be sure that the manufacturing facility is ISO 9001:2015-certified that offers professional manufacturing with consistent properties and excellent quality control.

The facility should also be ISO14001 certified and IATF16949 certified. There are some manufacturing facilities that also offer powder coating and e-coating finishes for the castings if necessary.

SEI Castings produce standard and customized aluminum die-cast products. We can assure you that we can provide high-quality and accurate aluminum products for your needs. For more details, you can contact us at sales@seimw.com.