Die Casting – When and Why Utilize it in your Product?

by | Jan 20, 2020

Die casting, a similar process like injection molding, needs to be considered for many types of components utilized in IoT products. This article by Scott Miller of Dragon innovation goes over some advantages, processes, part design tips, and material selection tips for incorporating die casted parts into your product.

Often if you can’t get enough strength out of an injection molded part, then die casting is a great process to consider. Parts such as housings, brackets, and gears are good fits. Not only are die cast parts mechanically stronger, but they also are capable of withstanding a much broader range of thermal and UV environmental conditions.

Advantages of die casting include:
  • Ability to create complex geometry
  • Ability to create thin walls
  • Excellent dimensional stability
  • Excellent mechanical strength
  • Good surface finish
  • Suitable for high volume production

Disadvantages of die casting include:
  • Needing to build a large tool that is expensive and takes 6-8 weeks to produce.
  • It can be difficult to make changes once the tool is created, so design readiness is important.
  • Large undercuts are difficult and you cannot do any internal slides on a core tool.
  • Material selection is limited with approximately 6 available alloys (Zinc, Zinc-AL, Aluminum, Magnesium, Copper, GF Nylon).

The process utilizes a die casting machine that is fed molten alloy into a cold chamber, pressurized at around 500 psi and then injected into the tool. The metal then cools and is ejected from the tool. All die cast parts have a significant flash that needs to be trimmed in post-processing. In most cases, you will need to count on some post-processing that can cost time and money (ie - machining).

Finally, Scott concludes with some part design tips, summarized here:
  1. The maximum wall thickness for die cast parts is 10 mm (vs 4mm for injection molding)
  2. Ribs should be designed to be 80% of wall thickness
  3. Assume approximately 1.0 degree drafts for most alloys

If possible, it is generally quite a bit cheaper to go with injection molding; however, there are many instances when injection molding is not the best fit. Hopefully, this article will help you dive into die casting considerations within your product development initiative.
Continue to original Article >
https://blog.dragoninnovation.com/blog/2014/08/05/dfm-course-6-die-casting

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