If you are wondering about the difference between die casting and metal forging, don’t worry. Here at SEI Castings, we will be discussing an article about die-casting versus metal forging, and we will help you to decide which one you should use for your products. If you want to know more information, please continue reading below to find out.
What is Die-Casting?
Die-casting is the modern process of metal shaping. Its process involves metal being melted and placed on a closed die, then left alone to cool and take the form or shape of the die that has been used. It has a lot of advantages and one of them is that the tools used are less expensive than those used for metal forging. In the die-casting process, the tools do not absorb impact.
Since you can reuse the die or mold, the die casting process is efficient and allows high-volume or mass production of the same part in a short period. It is commonly advised for high-speed applications. The die casting process is done by pouring molten metal into a metal mold using pressure to fill the mold accordingly.
What is Metal Forging?
Metal forging is the process of shaping metal. It has been used for a long time, all the way back to when blacksmiths in medieval times created swords with a hammer and an anvil. Nowadays, metal forging has been modernized by using a technologically advanced hammering machine and a die that takes place of the anvil. While it has been modernized, the process and principle still remain the same.
The metal forging process involves a machine that physically forces a heated metal into the open die so it will take its shape. The advantages of using the metal forging process are the following; because of heating and physical deformation, the product resulting from metal forging undergoes recrystallization at an atomic level and grain refinement also occurs so it becomes stronger and more durable. They are denser and mechanically stronger which is capable of handling impact force and wear. It also prevents porosity and cavity defects which can occur in other processes.
What is the Difference Between Die-Casting and Metal Forging?
Die casting uses different types of metal alloys such as aluminum, copper, magnesium, and zinc, while metal forging involves the use of metals such as iron, steel, and titanium which are not used for casting because of their high melting temperatures. The die-casting process can create different shapes and geometries. They are more refined and defined versions than the metal forging parts and can be produced at greater volumes and shorter period times.
How Do You Decide if Die-Casting or Metal Forging is the Best Process for Your Product?
Here are some of the things that you must consider when choosing between die casting and metal forging for your product’s application and needs.
Size of the product
One main difference between die casting and metal forging is the maximum size that can be produced for the finished product. The forging of metal moves it while it is still solid. A huge amount of force will then be required to change the shape of the metal and the force applied must also increase as the size of the metal surface becomes larger. On the other hand, with die-casting, since the metal is in its liquid state, it can just easily flow towards the die or mold to take up the shape and size accordingly.
You must also consider the weight of the parts that will be yielded during the manufacturing process. If the parts are identically made from die-casting and metal forging, the resulting die-casting product will be lighter than the metal forging one. So this shows that when a product is converted from forging to casting, it will result in a decreased weight.
When designing a part for die casting or metal forging, these are the characteristics that you must evaluate.
- The complexity of the part
- The integrity of the structure
- Structure of the grain
When evaluating the complexity of the part, metal forging products are usually limited. The creation of tiny details and internal chambers are often too difficult to be fabricated during the forging process.
With die-casting, because the molten metal is used, it can be created with complex shapes so you are allowed to create small and distinct products. Reduced machining will also be required because the fine details are already created during the casting process. Considering the design and prototype phase of a product, die-castings are usually more economical and time-saving. If you want to change a tiny detail in the mold or die, it is easier and faster to accomplish.
Selection of Metal Alloy
One difference when choosing between die-casting and metal forging is the availability of the metal alloys that you can use for the processes. In metal forging, the components will be manufactured from billets produced at a steel mill. The mills will only produce a specific number of metal alloys and metal grades.
On the other hand, die-casting uses molten metals which will be poured at the foundry which allows for feasible costs even with special metal alloys. When choosing alloys for a manufacturing process like metal forging and die -asting, you must also consider the desired ferrite content. Ferrite has characteristics that will make a product more corrosion-resistant.
Internal structure and strength of the component
You must also consider the internal structure and strength of the component that you will need before you choose between the process of die casting or metal forging. The metal forging process changes the grain structure of the metal and can point to a specific direction, which can create a directionally strong component. Forged components are anisotropic, which refers to the allowance of the changing different properties in different directions. While die-casting components are isotropic, it is a physical property of an object and means it has the same value when measured in different directions.
When you are choosing between the two processes, it will also depend on the application that it will be used for. Keep in mind that metal forging components will be stronger in a specific direction but the die casting components will be consistently strong all over.
When the specific application that your product will be used will require recurring impacts, components made from metal forging will be capable of maintaining their shape for a long time, if you will need a uniformly strong component for a specific application, then you must choose a die-casting component because its performance is better than its counterparts.
Cost of the process
The price of die casting versus metal forgings will depend on the different aspects. Each process will be cost-effective in most cases and more costly in some. Check out the different factors below that can affect the price of a component:
- Complexity of shape
- Specific process
- Volume of production
Metal forgings can be cost-effective for medium to large sizes while die castings can be cost-effective in small, medium, and large sizes. The cost of raw materials needed for the die-casting process is usually lower than metal forging since the process for casting ingots and processing them into billets which are required for metal forging is not necessary for the die-casting process.
Buying castings that were machined is more cost-effective since you can recycle the metal chips by melting them again. This is not applicable in metal forgings, so you must purchase them in their forged condition. Machining rates for die-casts are similar to metal forging for most metal alloys. Since fine grains are used for metal forging, nickel alloys and stainless steel have better machinability.
What Are the Advantages of Using the Die-Casting Process?
- Have high maximum size limit in casting weight
- Huge range of choices of metal alloys
- Tooling is cost-effective
- Custom alloys can be used such as nickel and chrome during the melting stage
- Small production of parts is allowed
- Can be a great choice for mass production
- Complex shapes and thin-walled components are doable
- Molten metal can be formed in different shapes and sizes, flexible with the designing of parts
- Part modification designs and molds are easy and fast to carry out
- Post casting products are close to the specified designs so there is no need for secondary processing
- Products are lighter than forgings
- Shorter lead times
What Are the Advantages of the Metal Forging Process?
- Improved mechanical characteristics and better malleability but usually depends on the metal alloy that will be used in the process
- Can handle high impact better than die casting products
- Grain flow is continuous and grain size is finer
- Prevents porosity, cavities, shrinkage, and cold pour issues
- Better wear resistance because of grain flow
Depending on your component, application, and overall needs you can either choose the die casting or metal forging process for your products. If you need die casting products, SEI Casting is the perfect company for you. You can submit a request for a quote for custom die castings here. If you have any questions or inquiries about our products you can contact us by filling up this contact form.
SEI Castings is a manufacturer of standard and custom die-cast products using metals like aluminum and zinc. You can also order customized products according to your specifications please let us know so we can accommodate your request accordingly. If you want to order our products please contact us by calling 408-374-1031. We are located at 66 First Street #4 Gilroy, CA 95020. What are you waiting for? Contact us today! We are looking forward to providing you with die-cast products.