Aluminum is a lightweight alloy with high stability. Aluminum die casting is a popular manufacturing process used to create products with complex shapes and designs that involve thin-wall sections. This is one of the reasons why aluminum die casting is widely used in various industries.
If you’re interested in learning more about aluminum die casting and determining its suitability for your application, you’ve come to the right place. This article will provide an in-depth introduction to the basics of aluminum die casting.
What is Aluminum Die Casting?
Aluminum die casting is a manufacturing method used to produce aluminum alloy parts. The aluminum is fully heated and melted at high temperatures, then injected into a mold cavity to form the desired aluminum component.
Steps in Aluminum Die Casting
Typically, the aluminum die casting process involves the following six steps:
- Alloy Melting: Aluminum alloy is melted in a crucible, and specific temperatures are maintained based on the alloy grade.
- Mold Preparation: The mold is thoroughly cleaned and lubricated.
- Injection: The mold is closed, and the molten aluminum is poured into the mold cavity under high pressure.
- Solidification: The pressure is maintained until the casting cools and solidifies.
- Ejection: After the casting solidifies, the mold is opened, and the casting is ejected from the mold.
- Trimming: Excess metal is removed from the casting.
If the aluminum component includes features that are impossible or challenging to achieve through die casting, additional machining may be required.
Advantages of Aluminum Die Casting
If you are designing aluminum alloy components, aluminum die casting should be considered as your preferred solution among all aluminum forming processes. Compared to aluminum casting and machining, aluminum die casting offers several advantages:
- Aluminum die casting can produce aluminum components with highly complex structures, such as automotive transmissions and engine cylinders, which are not achievable with other metal forming processes.
- Aluminum die casting enables mass production of aluminum components, and the molds can be used multiple times.
- Aluminum die-cast products can maintain strict tolerances, which is not easily achievable with other processes.
- Aluminum die casting is capable of producing both large and small castings.
- Aluminum die-cast products exhibit high dimensional stability and offer various surface finish options.
- The precision of aluminum die casting reduces the need for additional machining processes, potentially eliminating the need for secondary operations.
The Most Common Aluminum Die Casting Alloys
In the design process of aluminum alloy components, selecting the appropriate alloy is the first consideration. The most commonly used aluminum die casting alloys are A360, A380, A413, 383, B390, and CC401.
- A360: A360 exhibits excellent fluidity during melting and has outstanding corrosion resistance and pressure resistance.
- B390: B390 is commonly used for engine cylinders due to its lower ductility, excellent wear resistance, and high hardness.
- A380: A380 is a widely used aluminum alloy for various aluminum products, offering a good combination of casting and product performance.
Aluminum Die Casting Applications
Aluminum alloys are known for their lightweight and excellent mechanical properties, making aluminum die casting popular in various industries, and applicable to virtually any field. It finds significant usage in industries such as aerospace, automotive manufacturing, and electronics.
The lightweight nature of aluminum alloys makes them a perfect fit for modern vehicles. As a result, aluminum die casting finds wide application in the automotive industry, including:
- Engine Components: Engine blocks, cylinder heads, and other internal engine parts.
- Mounting brackets for electric motors and stepper motors, gearboxes, and motor accessories.
- Fuel intake components.
- Chassis parts, power steering components, and brake system parts.
- Housings for various automotive components, such as transmission cases, carburetor housings, steering gearboxes, and clutch housings.
Similar to the automotive industry, the aerospace sector demands lightweight and impact-resistant aluminum alloys. Additionally, the aerospace industry requires complex and high-strength structural components, making aluminum die casting suitable for various aircraft parts. These components include cargo loading housings, fuel system parts, aircraft engine piston heads, and aircraft distributor cap covers. Certain lighting fixture parts and electronics housing retaining rings are also produced using aluminum die casting.
In recent years, consumer electronics have seen significant innovation, with aluminum die casting playing a crucial role in these products. Aluminum die castings offer high dimensional accuracy and stability, along with excellent thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity, making them well-suited for the electronics industry. In this sector, aluminum die casting is used for the casings of electronic devices and components, heat sinks, electrical and electronic control panels, connectors and terminal blocks, chassis and frames, cable connectors, edges, and decorative elements.
Aluminum die casting products are lightweight, high in strength, and cost-effective. Therefore, the furniture manufacturing industry is increasingly favoring the use of die-cast aluminum for various household and office furniture. Die-cast aluminum chairs and other furniture components, such as door locks, hinges, knobs, and other aluminum fittings, can be commonly found in various settings.
Surface Treatment of Aluminum Die Castings
Aluminum die-cast products typically require minimal mechanical processing, and in some cases, no machining at all. However, for products that have specific appearance requirements, surface treatment operations are necessary. Below are common surface treatment processes for aluminum die-cast products.
Anodizing is a process that enhances the corrosion resistance and durability of aluminum die-cast parts. It creates a non-conductive protective film on the surface of the aluminum die-cast component. Consequently, anodized aluminum die-cast parts become non-conductive. If electrical conductivity is required for your application, you should consider alternative surface treatment options.
- Powder Coating
Powder coating provides aluminum die-cast parts with scratch and impact resistance and offers a variety of colors, textures, and gloss finishes. It is one of the most popular surface treatment methods for aluminum die-cast components.
- Chemical Film Coating
Chemical film coating, also known as chromate conversion coating, is another popular surface treatment method for aluminum die-cast parts. It involves applying a thin film onto the surface of the component. Chemical film coating can be applied using various methods, such as brushing, spraying, or immersion. Unlike anodizing, chemical film-coated parts remain conductive after treatment.
Aluminum Die Casting Manufacturer
As a precision casting manufacturer, EASIAHOME provides aluminum die casting services, including professional mold design and surface treatment for metal components. While die casting is a relatively costly casting method, it becomes highly cost-effective for large production quantities. If you have any questions or inquiries about aluminum die casting, feel free to contact our engineers at any time.