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How to optimize die casting mold design
A mold, in die casting terms, is a mechanic tool that allows to replay a product endless times, considered manufacturing limits, among the consolidation process of the same metal molten before.
The mold is then the first actor in die casting field: so die casting mold design is a core activity to reach the customer needs.
Optimizing the mold guarantees a better satisfaction of the designer, therefore the client, that obtains a product as demands and, in economic terms, a better optimization of the mold assures a considerable reduction of the maintenance costs, improving also the productivity with a consequent impact in terms of lead time as time to market or time to order.
To optimize the mold, in terms of die casting mold design, is necessary to operate on 3 variables.
How to optimize mould design in zinc die casting?
These 3 variables need to be lead to produce the best performance maintaining the equilibrium of factors, being interconnected among them.
In terms of product it is necessary a co-design activity with the client and/or the designer to develop a more compatible system between mold and component. In terms of technology it will be necessary to produce a mold that guarantees the best performances possible and, regarding the production, it will be necessary to find the best solutions for the mold regarding the productive lines of the company.
Shown below, in details, the principal actions of optimization for every variable.
Product: Co-Design Phase
The first step to optimize the mold is understanding the needs of the client and/or designer, in order to produce a mold that is able to maximize the product demand and properties.
The second step will be to understand the functional or aesthetical features of the products, searching for a better optimization reducing the stylistic excess, such as not relevant aesthetic details, physical excesses as non functional material masses that can be replaced with ribs or adequate structures. In this phase is necessary to define the interaction of the product with other components: it is important to work together with the client, trying to understand the use of the part as a component of a complex project.
These two phases are the right steps to choice the ways of fall down of the piece. In fact the part can come out of the mold to fall or can fall inside an automation system: the choice of this step, well defined with the client, depends on the aim of the die cast.
Technology: maximise the materials
It is used alloy steel to create better mold for zinc die casting, in particular alloy of chromium molybdenum vanadium: many treatments have been accomplished to increase the main characteristics of the material and specific treatments to improve the usury resistance.
About the consolidation of the casted products inside the mold are fundamental implement solutions to develop a circuit conditioning, using water, oil or air. This step is very important because it allows the product a better solidification phase.
In terms of mechanical function, during the mold planning phase and its optimization, it is necessary to choose high level materials for standard mechanics organs, to guarantee a better performance without extra costs.
Now, that the mold has been defined, it is necessary to implement actions to guarantee the best fill up for the mold: so it is essential to compose a gate and a runner to achieve the client’s expectations. As said before, the material flows liquid in the mold, then it cools down, so the injection part is fundamental for the good success of the process.
To deal with this phase calculation tools and simulations are necessary for helping in the choice of the best solutions of fill the mold cavity, in terms of gate and overflow.
Software tools and specialists' experience can make the difference.
In terms of production the mold need to be suitable to the productive lines of the company: in this way the production time is optimized with a lot of advantages for the client.
It is a tailor made process, that has to factor in the plant characteristics.
It is a important step because the mold has to work on a precise machine in the productive plant, with fixed characteristics of tonnage, that guarantee the die cast quality. In this case the outcome of the product is fundamental, as above described, but it is also important not to underestimate the conditioning of the die cast itself that is related to company availabilities.
Depending on the conditioning system it will be necessary to define all the conditioning process.
In the last step, after the outcome of the piece out of the mold, in the production phase, it will be necessary to define the flow marks process, that can have different grades in automation.
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