The process of die casting traces back to the 1800’s. It was in 1838 that the first die casting equipment was invented to produce parts for the printing industry. It was later patented for mechanized printing type production. The use of die casting equipment was limited to this industry for a couple decades before it became an integral component in the production of parts for other products like consumer goods and appliances.
Its ability to efficiently produce parts with intricate and complex shapes with incredible accuracy and to repeat the same mold many times over is changed the manufacturing world forever. From then on, the uses for die casting grew dramatically, as did the technology.
The actual term “die casting” does not have a complicated explanation. It basically comes directly from the process itself. It will be easier to start a little backwards, explaining “casting” first, and then “dies.”
The term “casting” can be defined as the process of pouring liquid metal into a mold in the shape of whatever part is desired. After the metal has entered the cavity, it is given time to cool and solidify before it is removed. This solid product taken from the mold is the “casting.”
The “die” is the term given to the actual tool steel mold that the liquid metal is poured into. The die consists of two different sections: the fixed die half (or the cover half) and the ejector die half.
The fixed die half is attached to the stationary platen of the casting machine, whereas the ejector half is attached to the movable platen. When the machine closes, the two halves are locked together as the pressure of the machine holds them together. Where the two die halves meet is referred to as the “die parting line.”
The fixed die half contains the “shot sleeve hole”, through which the liquefied metal enters the die and fills it. The ejector half contains what are called “ejector pins,” which help push the casting out of that die half. The pins are found in the ejector half because the die is created so that the finished casting will simply slide out of the fixed die half (the half attached to the stationary platen of the machine) and remain stationary in the ejector half as the casting machine pulls the die halves apart. The casting is then carefully removed from the ejector die half, after which further final touches may be applied to the casting to make it ready for its purpose.
Here at Premier Engineered Products, we are pretty familiar with these processes. Our website shows how a product can go from a prototype to a live product in a few days using die casting methods. If you don’t believe us, email us your questions, or come visit us at our state of the art facilities!
By Leonard Cordaro, President of Premier Engineered Products