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Circular economy and sustainability: die casting of zinc alloys
Of all the modern manufacturing methods available today, the zinc alloy die-casting process proves to be one of the most efficient and environmentally friendly processes. In fact, these alloys offer numerous advantages in terms of environmental and economic sustainability, which we will see below.
The circular economy of zinc alloys
The eco-sustainable approach to zinc alloy die casting offers several distinctive benefits. Firstly, the process is based on the efficient use of resources, as zinc is an abundant material on Earth and can be recycled repeatedly without losing its mechanical properties. These characteristics make it possible to reduce the extraction of natural resources and to limit the environmental impact associated with the extraction itself. Furthermore, its ability to be melted down and reused repeatedly without ever losing its mechanical properties makes it an ideal product for the circular economy.
The circular economy is an economic system based on the reduction, reuse, recycling, and restoration of resources. Instead of considering products as objects to be used and discarded, the goal of the circular economy is to create a continuous cycle in which materials and resources retain their value for as long as possible over time.
The properties of zinc alloys obtained by die casting are perfectly suited to the needs of the circular economy since they can be remelted and reused repeatedly, returning to being a raw element ready for new processing. For this reason, it is correct to say that zinc is a material that is reused during its life cycle and not "consumed" as can happen with other materials, which, after each recycling and reuse, tend to lose part of their mechanical properties or chemicals arriving at an "exhaustion" of the material and turning into an unusable waste.
It is also recognized that metal recycling plays a key role in ensuring the availability of resources necessary to maintain and expand the technologies and infrastructure of the future.
The reduced environmental impact of zinc alloys
Zinc die-casting is a much more sustainable process, especially from the point of view of energy consumption, compared to other metal die-casting processes such as aluminum for example. This fact translates into lower greenhouse gas emissions (GHG - Greenhouse Gas) and a reduction in the overall carbon footprint (CF - Carbon Footprint). Furthermore, the die casting of zinc alloys requires less energy to reach the melting temperature than other metals, contributing to further energy savings.
The results of the life cycle assessments (LCA) of zinc alloy die-cast products confirm the low environmental impact. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is, in fact, a methodology used to quantify the ecological effects of a product or service throughout its life cycle: from production to the end of its useful life in which it effectively becomes waste and is no longer usable. This methodology assesses environmental impacts regarding greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, water and natural resources use, waste generation, and other environmental factors.
CO2 emissions and other categories that stand in the way of CO2 neutrality. The CO2-neutral concept "avoid - reduce - compensate" can be followed, i.e.:
- Avoid emissions at the outset, both for material extraction and processing.
- Reduce emissions, where possible, during production processes by implementing measures to ensure greater energy efficiency and self-sufficiency.
- Offset the CO2 emitted through projects or certificates that can offset unavoidable emissions.
In conclusion, the eco-sustainable die casting of zinc alloys offers an advanced and responsible approach to production. Thanks to the combination of production efficiency, recyclable materials, and reduced environmental footprint, this technology is aimed at companies that want to achieve environmentally friendly results without compromising functionality. Zinc alloys can replace less sustainable materials by improving energy efficiency and dramatically reducing overall environmental impact.
Furthermore, in our article on the Automation of the die-casting production process, we explore the benefits in economic and, above all, environmental terms of a production process converted from manual to automated. By analyzing a specific case study, you will discover how the die-casting industry is adopting new advanced processes to achieve ever more ambitious quality and environmental sustainability objectives.