What is Die Casting?

Die casting is the process of producing large quantity of complex, intricate metal parts through the use of a die, a reusable mould created to the specific design of your component. In essence, this process works by pouring or injecting molten metal under high pressure into a mould cavity.

After creating a specific die for the production of your part, a metal with a low melting point, like aluminium, is forced into the die and cast to create even the most complicated design, with the finished product being a part manufactured to the highest of standards.

The equipment for die casting was created in 1838 with the purpose of producing a movable type for the printing industry. The first patent was granted in 1849 and, in 1885, the printing industry was able to grow its capabilities with the creation of the first Linotype device; this was an automated type-casting machine that became the norm in the publishing industry. For three decades, die casting was mainly used to create type for printers.

Over time, this process started being used for other applications, such as cash registers and frames. The materials utilised also changed. While lead and tin were the main metals used in the beginning, zinc and aluminium alloys were introduced in 1914. Copper and magnesium followed soon after. This expansion allowed die casting machines to manufacture a large variety of components suited for a wide range of industries and applications.

Having been awarded the BSI ISO 9001:2015 accreditation, Dean Group specialise in providing high-quality castings that suit our customers’ exact specifications, using the finest quality materials. We also work closely with our clients through every step of the process, from design to completion.

Advantages of Choosing Die Casting

There are many reasons why you would want to specify die casting as a manufacturing process for a product, part or component. These advantages include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • High-speed production – thousands of identical castings can be manufactured with little to no machining.
  • Dimensional accuracy and stability – with die casting, you can be confident that your parts are durable and dimensionally stable while maintaining close tolerances.
  • Thin walls – die casting allows for the production of casts with thinner walls when compared to other methods.
  • Finishing options – whether you require a smooth or textured finish, die casting can produce parts that match your specifications.
  • Lightweight parts – die casting is capable of producing parts for industries where weight is a concern, such as the aerospace and automotive sectors.
  • Improved performance – die casting parts are proven to improve general performance such as Mpg and vehicle handling.

Pressure Die Casting vs. Gravity Die Casting

At Dean Group, we offer two different methods of die casting: pressure die casting and gravity die casting. While there are some significant differences between these two types of casting, we can help you decide which is better for your requirements, following a discussion over your specifications.

Pressure die casting is an automated process in which the metal is injected at high force into the die. It’s a quick, cost-effective and reliable process for a high-volume production and the metal components manufactured through it are net-shaped and have tight tolerances. The molten metal solidifies very quickly and is automatically extracted. This process is capable of producing thousands or millions of components with close consistent dimensional control and thin walls.

Gravity die casting produces good-quality components as well, but it’s best-suited for low to medium volume orders. This process requires the molten metal to be poured into the mould by relying on hydrostatic head height to offer pressure to the casting, with the correct filling of the die being controlled by tilting. This can be a manual process and, although an automatic ladle to pour the metal can also be used, tooling is generally simple and as a consequence is far cheaper than pressure die casting.

This process offers many benefits which include good dimensional accuracy, smooth surface finish, good mechanical properties, fast production times, thin walls and repeatable quality.

Both pressure and gravity die casting are only suitable for alloys with low melting points such as aluminium and zinc. Zinc is the easiest metal to cast and offers a high degree of ductility, high impact strength and a long lifespan. Aluminium is a lightweight material, so it’s perfect for industries where weight is a concern, such as aerospace and automotive. It offers high dimensional stability, good resistance to corrosion and high thermal and electrical conductivity, amongst other properties.

Deciding Factors

Die casting is a very efficient and versatile process used in metalworking, capable of producing countless varieties of parts used in a wide range of applications and industries. However, it is important to take certain factors into consideration when making the decision between pressure and gravity die casting. These factors include:

  • The batch and quantities required
  • The complexity and surface finish of the castings
  • The wall thickness of the components
  • The type of material you would like to use
  • The lead time you need for your project

In order to get the right finished product, it is crucial that you make the right selection for your specifications. To find out which process is most suited to your project, get in touch with our experienced team.

Casting Process Specialists

Dean Group are a family-owned foundry with over four decades of casting experience. We’re a member of the Cast Metals Federation and BSI ISO 9001:2015 accredited, so you know you can trust us to guide you through your project and provide you with an excellent final result. Contact our expert team today by calling 0161 775 1633.