While die casting may be the most modern and popular form of metal shaping for manufacturing parts, there are certainly many others to consider. It can be helpful to know about a variety of metal shaping methods in order to best determine what process is right for you, your parts and your business. One type of metal shaping you may not be that familiar with is called metal extrusion. While metal extrusion is not appropriate for as many metal parts manufacture applications as some other metal-shaping methods, including die casting, it’s still useful to know what it is and how it works.
How Metal Extrusion Works vs. Die Casting
Die casting is a simple and modern way to create consistent, quality metal parts at high volume and low cost. Die casting typically employs aluminum, zinc or copper alloy, melting the metal and injecting it into a closed die in the shape of the parts you want to produce. The process subjects the metal to high pressure as it cools, resulting in a consistent and durable shape when the process is completed.
Metal extrusion is a very specific type of metal shaping. While die casting can be used to create just about any shape of metal part, metal extrusion is specifically designed for long, straight metal parts like L-shapes, T-shapes, tubes and rectangular shapes.
The process of extrusion works by squeezing metal into the die using a hydraulic or mechanical press. The die is lined with a wear-resistant material allowing it to handle high radial loads. This method is very effective for shaping without tearing the metal. Extrusion can be done cold, at room temperature, or hot – up to three-quarters of the metal melting point. Most types of parts created through metal extrusion use a cold process, which has no oxidation and allows for a good surface finish. Parts made through hot extrusion may include automotive and aircraft structural parts.
Advantages of Die Casting vs. Metal Extrusion
Metal extrusion will usually only be used for specific types of part creation. Parts that do not have uniform cross sections are not good candidates for metal extrusion and will require secondary machining services. When you have a good candidate for metal extrusion, you may opt for it over die casting. This is because tooling costs are usually lower and certain alloys, like magnesium and zinc, respond to the metal extrusion process with similar strength and stiffness as die cast parts, but with higher ductility. However, die cast parts still have greater stiffness and often do not require any secondary finishing processes.
Die Casting for Your Metal Part Needs
In the many cases where die casting is your best option, Premier Engineered Products is the company to call. Premier Engineered Products has been supplying companies across a wide variety of industries with high-quality metal parts for more than 70 years, using state-of-the-art machinery and the most effective die casting processes. Premier has a system of automated process monitoring which, combined with expert staff, allows easy detection and correction of process issues and out-of-control variables. Premier also has a licensed vacuum system for the highest-quality surface finish and casting and mold integrity. Whether you need hospital equipment, firearm trigger guards, bullet light fixtures or a wide variety of other parts, Premier can produce them quickly and at high quality at low cost. To learn more about the metal-shaping process and how die casting with Premier Engineered Products can enhance and improve your business, contact Premier Engineered Products today.