Die casting is a production process used to manufacture components used in a wide range of products by nearly every industry including automotive, aerospace, power equipment, lighting, valves, medical and many other market applications. Die cast components are mass produced in a variety of metal alloys and the parts are cast in precision steel tools, molds/moulds and dies. The process produces precision parts that can be very small to very large and all can have complicated shapes and geometries, small features and thin walls. Once molded, die cast components can be post-processed by precision CNC machining and surface finishes are commonly applied; these include shot-blasting, texturing, plating, and painting. The die casting process is quite versatile and high-quality tools are used to produce high quality die cast components in volumes that go from a few thousand to millions of parts per year.
Zetwerk has in-house die casting expertise and, together with our production partners, we successfully support demanding programs involving complicated part designs and project requirements. Our team’s tool design expertise and use of the industry-leading software and mold flow analysis tools ensures that the production tools are designed to efficiently and accurately produce high-quality die cast components in the required alloys and materials. Our global resources enable Zetwerk to quickly design, develop and produce prototype “soft” tools, hardened steel volume production tools and production parts all with extremely short lead times.
Zetwerk employs several of the most common die casting process technologies including High Pressure Die Casting (HPDC), Low Pressure Die Casting (LPDC) and Gravity Die Casting (GDC). Each of these processes can also support the semi-permanent casting process which uses one or more sand cores to form internal passages within the production die cast component. All of these casting processes offer advantages and the process selection is based on program factors including annual volume, part size and weight, part geometry and complexity and surface finish requirements.
Zetwerk can provide Pressure Die Castings produced using hot chamber and cold chamber production die casting machines. Die cast components of any size and volume can be produced in die casting machines (“presses”) – that range in tonnage from 80T to 3500T. Machine tonnage is selected based on a number of factors including part size and cavitation - the quantity of cavities in the tool. Zetwerk offers a wide range of material selection, covering but not limited to, aluminum alloys, zinc alloys, brass, copper, magnesium.
Finishing processes - Once production components are die cast, they are subjected to one or more finishing processes to remove the gates, overflows and any flash as well as smooth out and finish the parting lines on the part. To do this die cast components are often vibrated and/or tumbled and thermal deburring is sometimes used to remove burrs and other imperfections from die cast parts.
Secondary Operations & Machining - Production die casting tools are designed to produce components that meet dimensional requirements and the process can cast in external threads. When the finished dimensions and other features cannot be met by the casting process secondary operations are utilized to ensure specific features, areas and dimensions of the castings meet the required tolerances. Die castings are commonly drilled, tapped, reamed and are precision CNC machined to meet design criteria and dimensional tolerances required for product performance and quality.
Surface Finishes – Die castings sometimes require conversion coatings to remove any surface impurities or contaminants. When the surface finish of “As Cast” die cast components isn’t sufficient, the application of surface coatings and finishes is common on parts that require one or more of the following:
Plating & Painting - A combined coating or plating can replace the use of a surface conversion coating and can service as a base coating under paint or as the part’s final surface finish. Examples of combined conversion coatings and functional finishes of Aluminum die castings include anodized black, anodized clear, anodized clear hard coat, and chromate (Zinc die castings only). Cosmetic finishes are often painted in either powder (powder coating) or liquid painting and like other surface coatings, there are many color choices and options. Painted parts can have fine, medium and coarse surface finishes. Cosmetic finishes can also involve plating and some examples include electroless nickel (for all parts), copper/nickel/chrome plating (for Zinc parts) and those parts can also be polished and buffed. Polishing of Aluminum die cast components is frequently done in applications where the polished aluminum is suitable for the application and part usage.
Additional Services – Zetwerk provides additional services including testing and heat treatment of cast components. An example would be Salt Spray testing to determine or confirm the finished part will meet the corrosion resistance specified and required. Hydrostatic and pneumatic pressure tests are commonly required as well. Other services Zetwerk provides includes assembly work where we can provide the parts we produce put together in a sub-assembly and this service can include acquiring hardware or other components involved in the assembly.
Our customers demand the highest quality components and Zetwerk satisfies the highest quality requirements. We work with many of the world’s most demanding original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). With our global access to world-class technology and processes, we serve many industries requiring high-quality precision metal components. Our suppliers’ have plants that are IATF 16949:2016 automotive quality certified (in October 2016, IATF 16949:2016 replaced ISO/TS 16949:2009) and we have global quality expertise in FMEA, APQP, PPAP, SPC, and MSA.
Zetwerk’s global sourcing solutions are practically unlimited in terms of casting alloys/materials, production capacities, part sizes and weights, secondary operations, surface finishes, assembly and services. How can we help you?