Why Should You Choose High-Pressure Die Casting?

High-pressure die casting uses a hydraulic piston system to inject molten metals into a steel cast, known as a die, to create complex parts using the most efficient possible methods. There are numerous advantages to pressure-casting metal, including an increase in overall production output and greater flexibility in functional, mechanical and decorative finishes. 

High-pressure aluminum die casting has assisted industry professionals worldwide with the associated low costs and high production rates. The combination of lightweight and superior strength makes aluminum an integral part of many product designers’ operations strategies.

What Is High-Pressure Die Casting?

Products are becoming increasingly complex. Buyers require more detailed specifications of organic shapes to maintain strength and longevity while minimizing material use. High-pressure die casting (HPDC) is a highly efficient method of manufacturing intricate product parts.

The process involves a high-pressure die-casting machine forcing molten metal under high pressure into a sealed mold cavity. This permanent metal mold is known as a die. A powerful compressive machine then holds the metal in place with hydraulics until it has solidified. Once the metal inside has solidified, the die is released and opened to the metal can be removed.

A die-casting machine has an injection end that uses a combination of hydraulics and pressurized gas to inject the molten metal into the mold cavity at extremely high speed. The injection process is known as a shot and can produce between 500 and 18,000 products hourly, depending on the application.

It takes just a fraction of a second to inject the metal into the mold cavity at an astonishing pounds per square inch of between 3,000 and 10,000, depending on the metal — aluminum, zinc and magnesium alloys are most common. This pressure compresses the metal, forcing out any gasses and feeding more metal into the cavity mold to compensate for shrinkage.

In general, high-pressure die casting occurs in two main categories:

  • Hot chamber die casting: Molten metal immerses the injection system in a hot chamber machine. The piston pumps the molten metal along the nozzle and into the die. Hot chambers are used with metals such as lead, magnesium and zinc.
  • Cold chamber die-casting: The molten metal is poured into the unheated chamber, and a hydraulic piston eliminates light and pushes the metal into the mold. The cold chamber method requires more pressure. Metals that melt at higher temperatures are mainly cast in a cold chamber, such as high-pressure aluminum die casting and copper and magnesium.

The Advantages of High-Pressure Die Casting

Using a high-pressure piston system to inject molten metal into a mold has some considerable advantages. Some of the benefits of high-pressure die casting include the following:

  • Increased production rate: The high speeds at which the metal is injected into the dies boost overall production rates, which is particularly attractive to high-volume operations.
  • Reduced porosity: The high-pressure application forces as much metal into the dye as possible, removing unwanted gasses and making the end product extremely durable.
  • Minimized wastage: Injecting the hot metal directly into the die results in less scrap metal. Molds can produce thousands of parts before they need to be replaced.
  • Decreased environmental impact: Almost everything used in the die-casting process can be recycled, including the die. Any waste can be reused and recycled, making this method a sustainable manufacturing option.
  • Reduced processing operations: The ability to produce complex parts and flows with specific dimensions streamlines processing operations as they eliminate the need for further assembling.
  • Increased profits: The molds can complete thousands of shots before they need replacing, which makes them cost-effective. A single mold can produce more complex parts with one shot, decreasing the necessary number of components.
  • Increased compliance with regulatory standards: The ability to produce more complex shapes is excellent for meeting quality standards. It allows for better accommodation of stringent appearance, dimensions and strength regulations.
  • Smooth finishes: The process results in smooth finishes that can be textured. Smooth finishes are essential for plating and provide excellent options for electroplating treatments.

Value Added Operations

HPDC provides strong yet intricate parts with smooth surfaces, but there is also the option for value-added operations such as coating and finishing options. No matter the casting finish requirements, there are finishes, including mechanical, decorative and functional options, to reduce corrosion, prevent water damage or increase visual appeal. It is necessary to determine the most effective finishing application for each product, some of which include:

  • Anodizing: This non-conducting process seals the part and comes in various colors. The use of this finish promotes both corrosion resistance and durability.
  • Black oxide finishes: This uniform black finish is resistant to chipping or peeling. It is also an excellent absorbent for oils and waxes and provides some resistance against corrosion.
  • Chrome plating: This is a decorative, mirror-like finish often seen in the automotive industry. Chrome is a fantastic option for exterior parts as it is both visually appealing and provides protection. 
  • Bright nickel: This is applied under chrome and over copper for a decorative finish. This plating can be brittle, so it needs to be applied with care and is unsuitable for all applications.
  • Cobalt-tin: This finish is attractive, cost-effective and an excellent barrier to corrosion and wear. 
  • Gold plating: Primarily used for electronics applications, gold does not oxidize and has excellent chemical and physical properties. Depending on the application, the additional cost may be a long-term investment.
  • Silver plating: Silver is decorative, highly malleable, ductile and solderable. Silver has any metal’s highest thermal and electrical connectivity but can tarnish when exposed to the elements. 
  • Robotic finishing: Robots can sand and polish the surface for a smooth, bright, natural finish. 

Consider consulting a professional to help you determine your best casting options, as countless varieties accommodate a wide range of product outcomes.

Learn More About the Advantages of HPDC Casting With Premier Die Casting

Premier Die Casting has over 70 years of experience in designing and fabricating custom parts tailored to the needs of our customers and their projects. Our highly efficient aluminum die casting procedures can help you build better parts backed by an expert team and state-of-the-art processes and machinery.

If you would like to learn more about how Premier Die Casting can help you, do not hesitate to get in touch with us!

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