China SubContract Manufacturing and Sourcing Solutions

Die Casting: Developments, History and Processes

Our six part article delves into the history and latest developments within this metal casting process. With informative videos, a discussion on the process in China and a list of the type of products produced, you will get all the information you need and more.

In this Article:

Page 1: A look at the History
Page 2: Latest Developments
Page 3: The Casting Process in China
Page 4: Pros and Cons of Die Casting
Page 5: Type of Die Cast Products
Page 6: Informative ChinaSavvy Videos

A look at the History

The first equipment used in die casting was invented in 1838 with the purpose of producing moveable type for the printing industry. In 1849, the first die casting related patent was granted to a small, hand operated machine used to mechanise printing type production.

By 1885, a man named Otto Mergenthaler invented the Linotype machine – an automated type casting device which would become the dominant type equipment used within the printing industry and entailed a process that remained in use until the 1970’s.

From this, other applications also grew rapidly, facilitating the growth of consumer appliances and goods through making it an affordable production process for intricate parts in a high production volume.

By 1914, the die casting process had expanded and included the casting of aluminium alloys and zinc, followed by the casting of magnesium and copper in the 1930’s.

Since that time, the casting process has been refined, but the basic elements do still stay the same. Molten metal is poured or forced into a closed die cavity and, once the product has solidified, it is ejected.

In 1966, General Motors had its own development of the process called Acurad. Acurad was specifically developed for the production of automotive parts and was the first die casting process that could successfully cast low iron aluminium alloys, such as A356 and A357.

Before this development, these low-iron aluminium alloys would solder to the die itself. Since this Acurad development, special materials designed for die casting were developed including copper, lead, magnesium, zinc, aluminium, tin as well as numerous other alloys.

Today in China, the population of aluminium die casting manufacturers are well established and covers a wide range of casting activity. For aluminium, the range of die casting products produced go up to 32 kilograms in size.

The aluminium die casting industry in China, from a financial aspect, has, in recent years, seen a growth compound rate of 12%.

Keeping China at the leading edge of casting technology for this specific process is the great support from tool making and press building activity. Operations in China features both hot and cold chamber processes, producing dies with a life of up to 100 000 cycles.

Ways to produce castings faster and with a better surface finish are being developed. This has led to high pressure die casting, which has a injection pressure of up to 4 500 PSI, and squeeze casting, in which the metal is injected into the mould cavity in a semi-sold state.

Looking back at its history, one can clearly see the degree of automation that is needed to complete the process. This automation in turn reflects the process’ ability to high volume components.

Though it has a relatively short history, aluminium die casting has become one of the most wide ranging manufacturing processes of our time. With its roots found in addressing the needs for the printing sector in the 1830s, aluminium die-casting components are today found in most of the products we use.

Next Page: Latest Developments

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