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Process Optimization for Die Casting Cycle Time Reduction

by Marcello Cazzaniga May 22, 2017

In the current industrial context, reducing production times will become ever more crucial to offer customers an optimal product in the shortest time possible, with consistent cost savings.



In order to enhance efficiency of the process, various topics can be explored:

  • Design of the production process
  • Risk analysis
  • Choice of production tools
  • Planning of activities


Design of the production process for Die Casting Cycle Time Reduction

The most advanced technology that is available for die casters today includes software that can simulate production and therefore optimize process parameters.

These include:

  • Sequence of the casting process
  • Shot curve
  • Temperature of melt
  • Thermal regulation

The results of the simulation can be represented in graphs or videos that show the various phases of the process: filling the die, solidification of the material and possible defects that could happen and that we will discuss in the next paragraph under risk analysis.

During the design of the process one shouldn’t forget additional operations to be performed after the die casting phase. Beyond their impact on time, which in such case will lengthen and must be included to establish the delivery date, additional wall thickness must be considered to maintain the tolerances as required by the customer.


Risk analysis

The possibility to simulate the entire die casting process provides a precious opportunity which allows to foresee possible defects and eliminate them by acting on the causes before production starts.

The most common defect is burr, requiring additional machining for elimination, increasing the production time and the cost of the final product.

Another aspect to be analyzed in the preliminary phase is the surface quality of the part: based on the more or less correct filling of the die, flow marks and cold laps could appear.

Shrinking of the material during the cooling phase must also be calculated: we are referring to porosity, being the appearance of cavities inside the die cast product while solidifying. The main cause of this defect is the differing speed of cooling and hence solidification in the various zones of the die. A preventive analysis of material flow inside the die allows to optimize this delicate effect and render speed and temperature the most homogeneous possible.

For the die caster, being able to identify defects and analyze them in each and every aspect (quantity, shape, exact location, etc.) is crucial because by establishing the causes of defects one can choose to modify the productive process or to modify the die.

In these cases, a choice that might seem more complex could induce a time and cost saving by eliminating additional machining.


The choice of production tools

In the die casting sector, when choosing a supplier it is fundamental to evaluate if they use cutting-edge machinery, if they effect periodical checks on the tools and if they offer the possibility to develop automation processes in-house.

An expert die caster is able to execute efficient implementation of automation even when involving third parties.

Numerical control of all equipment allows to intervene in every phase to optimize and reduce production time. 

To this point, industry philosophy 4.0 foresees to make the entire industrial process digital. The die caster’s engineering team receives feedback from both the internal quality control department and from the client when product defects are identified. The analysis of the entire process also has the objective to make production times more efficient.

With data at hand, the analysis repeats itself the same way as in the preliminary design phases of the production process.


Planning of activities

The initial planning covers the definition of the technologies to use, the production phases and the process parameters such as which die to utilize, casting temperature of the material etc.

At a later stage one can be more precise and define:

  • Runner design
  • Gating design
  • Detailed process parameters

From product co-design in strict collaboration between client and die caster, to simulation of the production to prevent defects, from die casting cycle times to reduction of additional machining operations and surface treatments, up to final in-house assembly avoiding additional manipulation, the whole productive chain can be analyzed and made to the highest level of efficiency.

Speaking of surface finishing and surface treatment and again pointing to die casting cycle time reduction, the surface characteristics of the end product as requested by the client can be achieved in a more efficient way when the entire productive process is analyzed.

Starting with the client component design idea, some characteristics can be optimized to render the subsequent machining less complex and avoid issues with wall thickness or defects.

If the part needs to be delivered painted, for example, a chromate conversion coating is usually applied to prepare the surface for an improved life span of the paint finish. If a product with smooth finishing is needed, the surface of the product needs to be prepared before chromate conversion with a vibrating treatment.


Placing confidence in expert suppliers, you can count on a quality product at contained costs, because analyses to identify die casting cycle time reductions are included in all phases of the project to always guarantee an excellent result which is conform to the client’s expectations.

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