Aluminium: Dean Group's Answer to Efficient EV Components

Date: January 5, 2024

Metal casting is a central process in a wide array of sectors, and it's increasingly becoming a linchpin of the electric vehicle (EV) market, an industry that's growing exponentially here in the UK.

Aluminium, in particular, has emerged as an essential element in the EV industry, and it is often through casting processes that these vehicles are manufactured. We know that choosing the correct casting method for producing components is a critical decision that significantly impacts the final product's quality, cost-effectiveness, and suitability. Read on to learn about our experience with the aluminium casting process and why it's so popular with EV component designers.

EV Market and Metal Casting Requirements

The EV industry is huge and ever-expanding, not just in the UK but across the world. It has significantly benefited from the superior manufacturing capabilities of investment casting, especially when it comes to the development of lightweight components.

EV vehicle design is a science and art of precise balances:  balancing weight versus power, cost versus sustainability, and performance versus environmental impact. We understand that having a reliable source of bespoke aluminium castings is paramount for designers to maintain those balances and continue innovating.

What Makes Aluminium Great for EV Designs?

Aluminium and steel casting are the primary choices within EV production, with aluminium particularly beneficial in improving a vehicle's engine capacity and aerodynamics.

Aluminium offers a winning combination: low weight and high strength. This is essential, as each kilogram saved in a vehicle's weight can add to its energy efficiency and driving range. Additionally, the lightweight nature will not compromise the requisite strength for structural elements within the vehicle.

It also exhibits excellent thermal conductivity, a property that becomes undeniably fundamental when managing battery temperature in EVs. Aluminium also boasts resistance to corrosion, further asserting its suitability for EVs as it ensures longer life spans of the components.

UK Aluminium Casting Processes for EV Designs

We have developed an in-house casting process that offers high-quality castings, enabling us to manufacture components that strike the right balance between weight, strength, and durability, adding value to the overall efficiency and performance of electric vehicles.

In our experience, it's apparent that various areas of an EV design, from the motor parts and battery housings to the structural elements, demand both strength and weight reduction for optimum performance. We also know that components for electric vehicles are starkly different from those made for their internal combustion engine counterparts. The design, functionality, and requirements change radically, and we realise that EV designers need materials and manufacturing processes tailored to their unique needs.

As a designer, you can rest assured that you're working with a partner who understands your specific needs. Our approach to casting is designed to deliver precision and excellence, showcasing our commitment to going the extra mile in catering to the specific needs of the EV industry.

A Comparison: Aluminium Die Casting and Aluminium Investment Casting

We specialise in a variety of casting processes, such as investment casting and die casting, and we know that each one has its unique benefits and optimal applications. Our processes provide us with the flexibility to adapt to whatever specifications our clients ask us to fulfil. We are able to choose the most appropriate process for any EV design based on important factors like design specifications, volume requirements, and desired finish.

Aluminium die casting is renowned for its ability to produce pieces with intricate details, tight tolerances, and smooth finishes. It's a high-pressure technique, making it incredibly suitable for mass production of components. It also underpins our ability to produce castings with thin walls and complex geometries, often a crucial aspect of EV design and construction. However, initial tooling costs could be higher, which means it may be more suitable for larger-scale productions, an important consideration for those in the cost-sensitive EV industry.

Aluminium investment casting is a meticulous process that allows for unparalleled precision, superior surface finishes, and minimal machining requirements. It enables the casting of complex shapes, often an attribute required in premium EV component manufacture. While aluminium investment casting might not be as high-speed as die casting, it provides flexibility in design changes. Lower initial tooling cost also makes it attractive for prototypes or smaller batch sizes favoured by bespoke EV designers.

Which is Best for EV Manufacturing?

In the context of EV manufacturing, both kinds of casting find their arena of excellence. Die casting might be more prevalent in mass production, like battery housing or body framing, while investment casting may opt for its precision in creating components with intricate details or complex geometries, like motor parts or suspension components.

The balance between the two methods is determined by cost, volume, and level of precision required. We excel in providing both processes thanks to our years of experience, advanced techniques and customer-centric approach, ensuring that we deliver reliable and robust solutions to EV vehicle designers.

Aluminium Metal Casting at Dean Group

While each material has its vital role within electric vehicle castings, aluminium, with its many benefits, has a unique place in EV designs.

At Dean Group, our understanding, execution, and expertise align with EV designer's requirements easily. We offer reliable, bespoke aluminium casting manufacturing using our acclaimed ELITE aluminium investment casting process, which reflects our commitment to helping EV designers make the most out of their designs. Our aluminium components are more than just parts; they embody our dedication to providing solutions that are not only efficient but also tailored to the unique needs of the EV industry. Contact us today to discuss your next project's needs and discover how we will fulfil them here at Dean Group.

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