The automotive industry relies on die casting for a variety of applications. Most automobiles have many metal parts that must be cast into specific shapes. Die casting is the perfect method for making these parts. When choosing a metal for the casting process, aluminum or magnesium are often obvious choices. These metals are very lightweight, making them ideal in the automotive industry.
At the same time, zinc is one of the easiest metals to cast, and zinc die casting for automotive parts offers numerous benefits. Zinc die casting combines a high level of production efficiency, superior quality and cost-effectiveness. Here’s our guide to using zinc die casting for automobile parts, including benefits, applications and the casting process in the industry.
Benefits of Zinc Die Casting
The benefits of using zinc for die casting include:
- Faster die casting process: The two main die casting processes are hot chamber die casting and cold chamber die casting. Aluminum die casting requires the cold chamber method, which only allows for two or three shots a minute. On the other hand, zinc die casting uses hot chamber die casting, which can allow four or five shots a minute, saving you both time and money.
- Maximum strength and hardness: Zinc parts are naturally stronger than aluminum or magnesium parts without any special treatment. In fact, some zinc alloys can be over twice as strong and 15 times harder than A380 aluminum alloy.
- Greater flexibility: Zinc is an extremely fluid metal. It is easier to work with than aluminum and gives you more options when casting parts. With zinc, you can make parts in complex shapes with thinner walls. This capability makes up for the fact that aluminum is lighter in weight than zinc.
- Excellent thermal and electrical conductivity: Zinc offers good electrical conductivity, which is becoming increasingly important as more car systems become dependent on electronics.
- High corrosion resistance: Parts made with zinc that are exposed to the environment will stay looking great for longer. As a result, you get extended die life without the need for continuous maintenance.
- Eco-friendly and sustainable: Making products out of sustainable resources is more important than ever. Zinc die casting is an environmentally friendly process, and it’s easy to recycle zinc parts into new zinc alloys.
- Better stability and finishing: Zinc offers a higher level of dimension stability than other metal alloys as well as superior finishing characteristics for an aesthetically appealing finished product.
Applications of Zinc Die Casting in the Automotive Industry
There are many applications for zinc die casting in the automotive industry. One of the most important is manufacturing parts designed to increase the safety of the vehicle, such as seatbelt components. The ability to form zinc into very specific parts, without losing the metal’s stability and strength, makes zinc ideal for automotive safety components.
Due to its excellent corrosion resistance, zinc is also often used to make parts on the exterior of the vehicle, including parts of the windshield wiper, sunroof and chassis. In addition, zinc is often found in door lock housings, camshaft components, brake parts, components under the hood, parts of the fuel system and more.
Many automotive manufacturers prefer to make as many zinc parts as possible, since zinc-casted products can often go directly into the assembly process. They already have an attractive finish, so they do not need to undergo any special finishing. Plus, zinc parts are already strong, so there’s no need to add a reinforcing alloy.
Casting Process Used in the Automotive Industry
Die casting is made for the automotive industry. Although die casting is used in a variety of industries, the modern die casting process was designed to accommodate the many metal part needs of automobile production. Companies like Premier Engineered Products have been die casting parts for automotive products such as trucks, recreational vehicles and off-road vehicles for many
Hot Chamber Die Casting
Die casting zinc parts for the automotive industry involves a process called hot chamber die casting. The zinc is heated until it reaches a molten state, then pressure forces it into a mold in the shape of the automotive part needed. After the metal cools and hardens, it is removed from the mold. In this method, the furnace and the die are connected as a single machine. The pressure comes from a hydraulic piston that forces the molten zinc out of the furnace and into the die.
Traditional aluminum die casting cannot use this process, because aluminum has a much higher melting point than zinc. Aluminum die casting requires cold chamber die casting in which the furnace and die are separate. The metal is melted in a furnace, then transported to a casting machine to be forced into the mold.
The hot chamber process is much faster, since you can skip the step of transporting the molten metal to the die. This is another reason why using zinc parts can help speed your automotive production.
Contact Premier Engineered Products to Learn More About Zinc Die Casting
For over 70 years, Premier Engineered Products has been the East Coast expert in metal die casting. We know all about the benefits of zinc and zinc die casting for automotive parts. We can also discuss zinc die casting needs for many different industries, such as firearm production, lighting, consumer electronics, furniture and more.
We are a U.S. based, family-owned company that is ISO 9001:2015 Certified and active with the North American Die Casting Association (NADCA). We strive to become an extension of our partners by offering experienced, reliable services.
For more information about zinc die casting or for a consultation on your company’s specific die casting needs, contact Premier Engineered Products today.