CASTING FOR DIE-CAST ALUMINUM PARTS – FROM CONCEPT TO PACKAGING
When working with aluminum designs, the decision of how and where you will process your material is crucial. Businesses have the choice of various manufacturing processes to cast aluminum parts, and at PHB, die casting is our specialty. From the automotive industry to the production of military equipment, the applications for cast aluminum parts are wide-ranging and diverse.
At PHB, we die-cast a range of products, from high-run precision parts to prototypes. Our 58 presses range in size from 250 tons to 2000 tons, producing aluminum die casting components for low and high-volume production programs. The entire manufacturing process at PHB is done with a quick turnaround and excellent quality. With expertise in mold design and testing, we skillfully bring complex design specs to life. Design to delivery, PHB is the go-to for aluminum parts manufacturing in a US based factory.
WHAT IS ALUMINUM DIE CASTING?
Aluminum die casting is the process of filling a mold with molten aluminum to create a product. With this process, incredibly complex aluminum parts can be produced and reproduced at scale.
To begin the process, a mold – or, “die” – is designed in the size, shape, and thickness of the product being manufactured. Such molds consist of two seamless parts that separate at the end of the casting process so that the part being manufactured can be easily released. To ensure the longevity of molds, PHB uses premium die steel so that the casting process can be repeated many times with minimal mold deterioration. Once the mold has been designed and fabricated, the casting process can begin.
An aluminum alloy is heated to the appropriate temperature until molten. This liquid aluminum is injected into the die and is allowed to solidify. The die’s two halves are then separated, releasing the newly die-cast aluminum product.
After casting, the smooth, seamless aluminum product undergoes any finishing required. One of the many benefits of aluminum castings is that these satiny products often need no further machining before being assembled.
At PHB, we follow a comprehensive process to oversee the quality of the dies and castings that we produce. From mold design and testing to manufacturing and finishing, our proprietary processes are performed in our US-based factory to ensure quality results, every time.
When PHB consults on mold design, there are crucial considerations to discuss. First, the most obvious: the mold must separate to allow the release of the finished aluminum part! This isn’t as simple as it seems: deciding on the position of the line where the two halves of the die meet, the “parting line”, must be carefully considered to ensure the strength and stability of the product. Secondly, injection points must be arranged to allow the molten aluminum to reach all parts of the die before solidifying. The thickness of walls, and cavities within the die, are also detailed in this stage of the process.
PHB uses the internationally recognized MAGMAsoft® simulation technology to ensure the highest aluminum casting quality. MAGMAsoft® simulation provides a simulation of aluminum injection mold filling, high-pressure aluminum die casting, solidification, mechanical properties, thermal stresses and distortions, and much more. With this testing, clients save valuable time and money by “test-driving” their molds virtually before production even begins. Fully menu-driven with an integrated solid modeler, CASD interfaces, and extensive databases, MAGMAsoft® simulation provides a solution for design, production, and quality issues before they even appear on the manufacturing floor.
PHB technicians know that temperature, pressure, and speed are the most important elements in producing a smooth casting. First, the optimal temperature of the aluminum alloy is reached. Then comes injection. Finally, high pressure is maintained in the mold until the aluminum becomes solid. Once the metal is solidified, the die is opened and the cast metal is removed.
AT PHB’s US-based factory, we are careful to always use the appropriate aluminum alloy when casting products. We have a dedicated metallurgy department to ensure our alloys are always within customer specifications. These alloys are lightweight and have high dimensional stability to accommodate complex part geometries and thin walls.
Our alloys have high corrosion resistance, high thermal and electrical conductivity, and solid mechanical properties. Our alloys include:
- Aluminum: 360, 380, 383, 413, and A304 K
- Zinc-Aluminum: ZA-8, ZA-12, and ZA-2
After the die is cast, PHB meets customer finishing requirements with efficiency and skill.
Our aluminum surface finishes include, but are not limited to:
- Powder Coating (electrostatic application)
- Wet Paint
- Electroless Nickel
- Silk Screening and Stenciling
- EMI/RFI Shielding
- Surface Conditioning (shot and bead blasting)
Once casting is complete, we provide layered or individual cell packaging. In our US-based factory, we cater to clients across the world, and are proud to offer custom-designed returnable cardboard or plastic packaging.
PHB can provide components and assemblies in prototyping and low-volume production quantities using a multitude of methods, including (but not limited to):
PHB – The Global Leader in Aluminum Parts Manufacturing
With over 100 years of experience as an aluminum die casting manufacturer, PHB has evolved into a global leader in precision aluminum parts manufacturing and prototyping. By offering finished, assembled components and bespoke shipping, PHB can provide the integrated services required to be your complete global manufacturing resource. Looking to learn more about aluminum die-cast manufacturing and precision aluminum parts? Get in touch!