If you’re looking for a high-quality, reliable way to make your product ideas a reality, aluminum die casting might be the method for you. Chances are, you already benefit from several die-cast products each day. Aluminum is a popular metal for manufacturing all kinds of parts because of its strength and ability to mold to many unique designs.
As a leading product creation method, die casting with aluminum comes with several advantages that can save you time and take your production to the next level.
What Is Aluminum Die Casting?
The process of aluminum die casting begins with a liquid aluminum alloy being injected into a mold called a die. The quick, high-pressure injection ensures the aluminum takes the shape of whatever mold it’s cast into, creating a strong, uniform product each time.
Aluminum die casting applications are numerous. Aluminum forms the basis for several everyday objects, from lighting products and parking meters to RV parts and lawnmower engines. Many industries use casting for various parts and products, such as medical, electrical and industrial companies.
Die casting can use a variety of metal alloys — chemical combinations of two metals to form a version of the base metal with heightened properties. Aluminum alloys are among the most common. Aluminum alloys are a combination of the element aluminum and different compositions of silicon, copper, zinc or magnesium. The ratio of each of these other metals in aluminum alloys presents different properties depending on what product you’re making and how durable or flexible the product needs to be.
One of the most popular aluminum die casting alloys is the A380 alloy. A380 has the combined advantages of being lightweight, easy to cast, stable in complex shapes and the most durable of all the aluminum alloys.
What Is the Aluminum Die Casting Process?
In the process of aluminum die casting, liquid aluminum is injected into a steel die to create an aluminum product in the exact shape of the mold.
The process generally follows these steps:
1. Creating and Preparing the Die
First, a die is created out of a steel alloy. Dies are strategically designed to ensure proper filling and removal of the aluminum product. Each die consists of at least two parts that are fitted together during the casting process and then separated when it’s time to remove the aluminum product.
More complex dies will have many parts to create holes and other specific shapes. One part of the die includes a hole where the aluminum is injected to fill the three-dimensional cavity inside. Dies can be reused tens of thousands of times, but the specific amount of time a die will last depends on the part’s design, the type of alloy you use and the quality of the part being made.
After the die is created, its pieces are lubricated and clamped together to prepare for filling.
2. Injecting the Aluminum
Molten aluminum is injected into the hole in the die to fill the mold. The high pressure at which this is done ensures the aluminum quickly adheres to all the details of the die, and this entire step of the process only takes a few seconds.
3. Cooling the Aluminum
After being cast, the die stays clamped together as the aluminum cools. Cooling allows the aluminum alloy to solidify as one solid material, creating a strong product. After cooling, the die can be unclamped to reveal a product in the exact shape of the die. This process can be repeated as necessary to create thousands of products.
Benefits of Aluminum Die Casting
Many of the positive characteristics of aluminum die casting come from the properties of aluminum itself. Die casting takes advantage of aluminum’s many assets to easily manufacture products that will be useful and last for a long time. Benefits include:
- Customizability: Die casting’s high-pressure process easily molds aluminum into complex and detailed forms, so your products will come out as you want them to. Casting using aluminum also allows for variations in the wall thickness of parts, so you can create products as thin or as thick as you need.
- Light weight and strength: Aluminum is an incredibly strong metal, even at low temperatures. It’s also lightweight, making it the perfect material choice for durability and ease of use. This is especially true for making products with thin walls because aluminum can withstand pressure within a lightweight frame. Additionally, die casting often eliminates the need for a part to be assembled using fasteners or joiners. With every aspect of the product cast as one piece, the strength of the product comes from the strength of the alloy, not limited by potentially weak fasteners.
- Higher manufacturing rates: Aluminum alloys are easy to work with, making it faster to manufacture parts from aluminum than other metal alloys. The pressure and speed with which the aluminum is shot into the die quicken the pace of the overall process and require less machining than other casting processes.
- Corrosion resistance: Aluminum atoms have a high affinity for oxygen. As soon as aluminum or its alloys come into contact with the atmosphere, the aluminum atoms bond to oxygen, forming a protective outer layer of aluminum oxide. When aluminum oxide contacts water, its chemical structure changes so it’s unable to react with the water, and therefore doesn’t rust. Aluminum’s corrosion-resistant capabilities are important to consider for die-cast products that may be used in environments where other metals would be prone to rust, such as car parts.
- Cost efficiency: Because aluminum is so easy to work with and can be quickly cast into a variety of complex forms, more products can be made in a shorter amount of time. That benefit leads to cost-effective production.
- Thermal and electrical conductivity: Heat and electricity easily flow through aluminum, which has one of the highest electrical conductivities of any metal. For this reason, aluminum can be used for a variety of electrical products.
- Dimensional stability: Die-cast aluminum products reliably maintain their original shape and structure from the end of the die casting process throughout the product’s given uses.
Contact Us for Aluminum Die Casting!
Whatever products your industry specializes in, consider aluminum die casting for efficient manufacturing methods and products that will stand the test of time. Premier Die Casting works with a variety of industries to provide you with custom parts you can trust and put to use.
Based entirely in the U.S., we’re here to collaborate with you and prioritize your business needs. Beyond casting your aluminum parts, we also assemble and test all die-cast products to ensure everything we’ve made is up to our quality standards. Fill out our contact form today to get started!