Technical Reports

techreport_precision01Precision Die Castings – Part Selection & Development

Component manufacturers and OEMs have used die casting for more than a century to produce complex, repeatable metal parts at greater speed and a fraction of the cost of traditional hog-out machining. No other mass production technique can deliver such a wide range of complex metallic shapes within such close tolerances, allowing manufacturers to develop intricate designs that can be cast to near finish dimensions, often requiring little or no machining other than simple flash removal.

The vast majority of die cast parts are made from aluminum alloys, although zinc, copper, lead, tin and magnesium are also used for specific applications. Aluminum offers excellent dimensional stability and a smooth surface finish, and many of its alloys are well suited to die casting. Most die cast parts are specified as replacements for machined parts or other casting methods, typically achieving significant cost savings through faster production and/or eliminating secondary operations such as milling, drilling and mechanical fastening.

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techreport_metalparts01Metal Parts: An Overview of Production Methods

Few manufacturing techniques can rival traditional machining for producing extremely close-tolera nee, complex metal parts with excellent surface characteristics. With today’s extensive computer-controlled automated machining centers, OEMs have the ability to cut, drill, mill and grind 3-D shapes of infinite variety with a die maker’s touch, at speeds never before possible.

Even so, convention a I hog-out machining is a relatively slow process compared to other manufacturing techniques, and it typically produces significant scrap from the various meta I removal steps. The capital equipment is a I so very expensive, with large CNC machines easily costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and requiring a highly-trained employee to program, run and maintain.

True part cost is typically the reason an OEM investigates alternative production methods. In general, the more complex the shape (and the more machining that’s required to produce it), the greater the potential benefit from switching to a cast or molded component The earlier in the product life cycle that a change from machining is made, the more value there is likely to be.

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