Automotive Die Casting: A Guide to Die Casting for Automotive Industry

Technology continues to evolve daily, and the automotive world is not left behind. In today’s market, manufacturers and project managers continue to look for quicker, more reliable, and more cost-efficient ways to produce automotive parts. Thus, the advancements in automotive die casting technologies.

Die Casting is important for the automotive industry for multiple reasons. This technique is an effective alternative for metal manufacturing to reduce the weight of automotive parts and improve mileage without compromising quality. It helps to create parts that are more lightweight, robust, and have thinner walls. This is an immense contribution to the automobile industry.

Here, we will discuss the various roles of die casting in automobiles and cover the many applications of auto parts casting.

Why Is Die Casting Rising in the Automotive Industry?

die casting applications in the automotive industry

In the past few years, automotive manufacturers have focused on manufacturing lightweight automobiles without affecting durability. Therefore, die casting is one of the most valuable techniques for creating automotive parts. The number of die cast parts used for automobiles continues to rise daily.

But why are we experiencing such a skyrocketing increase in the die casting demand by automotive manufacturers? Here are some reasons.

Manufacture of Lightweight Components

The automotive industry now has more stringent fuel economy standards. There is growing pressure to create more efficient vehicles. Therefore, automotive manufacturers employ aluminum die-casting to achieve this goal.

Aluminum is a lightweight metal with an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. As a result, it is the leading metal used for casting engine parts and wheels. Therefore, manufacturers now make lighter and safer vehicles by ensuring the quality of external and internal components.

Increased Automation and Flexibility

The popularity of automotive die casting continues to increase due to the growing use of advanced technology. Automation of the production process makes die casting more effective and productive, ensuring the creation of higher numbers of automotive die cast components.

Moreover, this method is efficient for developing intricate automotive parts with unique designs. The die casting technique helps to create parts with complex shapes and sizes and install them within vehicles easily.

Increased Sustainability of Components

Die casting for automotive parts also ensures the manufacture of eco-friendly and sustainable vehicle parts. Consequently, we can be sure of auto parts casting without causing damage to the environment. In addition, the ability to recycle the materials used for these components makes them even more valuable. For example, it is possible to recycle reclaimed aluminum indefinitely.

Common Materials Used in Die Casting for Automotive Industry

Many metals can be suitable die casting materials, especially non-ferrous metals. However, the most common materials for die casting in the automotive industry are zinc, aluminum, and magnesium. These metals have their unique advantages and ideal applications. Let’s take a look at them.

Zinc Die Casting

zinc die cast components

Zinc die casting makes up almost 28% of automotive die casting components. Although it was commonly used in the industrial sector due to its high impact strength and ductility, it is now widely popular in the automotive sector. Being castable in hot chamber die casting machines, this process gives an accuracy of almost 100%. As a result, it produces parts with smooth finishes and eliminates the need for further processing.

This die-casting metal is prominent for products like door lock housing, retractor gears, pulleys in seat belts, and many more. Besides, it is ideal for creating automotive parts with quality aesthetics requirements, embossing, or strict tolerances.

Advantages of Zinc Die Casting

Some of the advantages of zinc die casting include the following:

  • Increased Flexibility. Zinc beats other casting materials when it comes to fluidity. While aluminum is more lightweight than zing, it can help create intricate parts with complex shapes and thinner walls.
  • High Resistance to Corrosion. Zinc reacts very minimally upon exposure to the atmosphere. Therefore, parts made from this metal are usually durable. These die-cast parts often stay for extended periods without needing constant maintenance.
  • Excellent Thermal and Electrical Conductivity. We are in the era of advanced vehicles and smarter automobiles. Therefore, it is important to make their components with metals that can withstand those needs. Zinc conducts heat and electricity effectively, making it the ideal choice in this case.
  • Sustainability and Eco-friendliness. Zinc is environmentally friendly and is easily recycled into new products. Therefore, it is a great choice for automotive die casting to prevent excessive waste and the release of harmful substances into the environment.
  • Dimensional Stability. Zinc also beats other die-cast metals in terms of dimensional stability. Auto parts casting with zinc gives products with superior finish and aesthetic appeal.

Aluminum Die Casting

aluminum die casting process

Aluminum is another popular metal used in manufacturing automobile parts. It is lightweight and has excellent dimensional stability, making them top choices for thin-walled machine parts. Generally, low-density aluminum is more extensively used in the automotive industry. Automotive castings from this metal have higher strength even at high temperatures.

The aluminum die casting process can employ a steel mold to produce thousands of castings in one session. It is ideal for making parts such as engine brackets, gearbox cases, valve bodies, hydraulic cylinders, etc.   

Advantages of Aluminum Die Casting

Some of the numerous benefits of aluminum die casting for automotive parts include:

  • Manufacturing Lightweight Components. As mentioned earlier, fuel economy standards are increasing for automotive manufacturers to make vehicles cleaner and more efficient. Therefore, engineers now improve the fuel economy of automobiles by reducing their overall weight. As a result, they opt for aluminum die casting to manufacture very lightweight parts. These parts are robust, efficient, and long-lasting.
  • Increased Flexibility. The latest vehicles now have components with more complex designs. Unlike many other metals, aluminum is more flexible, making it possible to develop complex aluminum die-casting auto parts with unique designs.
  • Safety and Reliability. Safety is another important factor that manufacturers consider in automotive parts production. Aluminum die casting makes it possible to create heat and friction-resistant parts to protect drivers and passengers from accidents.
  • Environmentally Friendly. Like zinc, aluminum is also highly recyclable. In fact, it is possible to recycle some aluminum alloys indefinitely, making them more environmentally friendly. Moreover, aluminum parts production causes less environmental pollution, making it highly beneficial.

Magnesium Die Casting

magnesium die casting parts

Magnesium is another flexible and lightweight metal used in die casting. It contains other lighter metals, offering a wide range of possibilities for creating complex and thin-walled components. It also offers an incredible strength-to-weight ratio and excellent heat and temperature resistance.

Advantages of Magnesium Die Casting

Some of the benefits of using magnesium die casting for automotive parts include:

  • Manufacturing Lightweight Automobiles. Magnesium is a lightweight metal that also incorporates other lighter metals like aluminum. In addition, it offers an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. Therefore, it can help create well-performing lightweight auto parts.
  • Increased Corrosion Resistance. Newer magnesium alloys with higher purity ensure that manufacturers can achieve better corrosion resistance than aluminum or steel alloys.
  • Environmental Friendliness. Magnesium is a naturally occurring metal derived from minerals, seawater, and brines. Its widespread availability makes it easy to be harvested without affecting the environment. It can also be 100% recycled without leaving traces in the environment.

Die Casting Process for Making Automotive Parts

There are two basic die casting processes for manufacturing automotive components – hot chamber and cold chamber die casting machines. The process you choose will depend on your material choice, size, geometry, and complexity.

Hot Chamber Die Casting

hot chamber die casting process

The hot chamber die casting process is sometimes called hot die casting. The gooseneck machines used in this process have built-in furnaces that heat the metal up until it gets molten. A hydraulic-powered piston forces the molten metal from the furnace into the die cavity using the nozzle and the gooseneck. The molten metal is then held under pressure in the die cavity until it solidifies.

This type of die casting has an internal melting point. Therefore, it is best suited for metals with lower melting points. Aluminum’s melting point is 1,220 degrees Fahrenheit, making it unsuitable for this process. On the other hand, Zinc and Magnesium with relatively lower melting points are ideal for this process.  

Hot chamber die casting offers a fast production rate with over 18,000 shots per hour for small automotive die cast components. It melts metals within the casting machine, producing minimal material waste. Since it is a low melting point process, there is a longer die life, helping to save overall die casting cost. However, it is only cost-effective for high-volume productions. There is also low metal fluidity, thereby limiting products’ complexity.

Cold Chamber Die Casting

cold chamber die casting process

This process involves pouring molten metal into the shot sleeve of the injection cylinder. After pouring, a hydraulic plunger forces the molten metal into the mold cavity without heating the sleeve. The pressure used in this process is between 30 Mpa and 150 Mpa. Since there’s no heat involved, the process is called cold chamber die casting. This process is ideal for high-melting-point aluminum alloys.

Cold chamber die casting offers exceptional dimensional accuracy to components. It also produces higher strength automotive parts and denser metal castings because of the increased pressure. The process is easy to carry out and requires lower maintenance costs. However, the cycle time is slower than the hot chamber process due to the transfer process. There are also possible high levels of contaminants that may affect the quality of the final auto parts.

Different Automotive Die Casting Parts

automotive parts from die casting

Automotive die casting helps to produce parts with complex shapes with high durability and improved aesthetic appearances. There is a wide variety of applications of die casting for automobiles, including:

  • Engine parts, e.g., cylinder head and gas engine parts
  • Mounting brackets for electric motors and stepper motors
  • Electronic covers for gearbox, motors, shade poles, etc.
  • Shielding telematics and electronic equipment
  • Sensor and airbag housings as active safety mechanisms
  • Fuel intake parts
  • Air-conditioning systems
  • Retractor spools for seatbelts
  • Intricate lock barrels
  • Transmission and chassis components
  • Connectors for autonomous vehicles
  • Sensor and lidar housings
  • Durable power steering and braking systems

RapidDirect, Your Automotive Die Casting Services Partner

rapiddirect-die-casting-services

At RapidDirect, we work with you to design and develop metal casts that perfectly meet the requirements of your applications. We are a leading automotive parts manufacturer with an excellent record of producing high-quality and lightweight automotive parts. Our expert technicians are highly skilled and experienced in die casting technologies, so you can be sure that we will offer you the best die casting services.

Our knowledge of an extensive range of materials also helps us choose the most suitable materials for your auto parts. This will ensure that you get the best results for your project. You’ll get these at competitive prices and faster lead times. Upload your design files on our online manufacturing platform and get a rapid quote.

Upload Your File and Get Started Today

Automotive Die Casting Market Trends

various automotive die casting parts

According to reports, the automotive die casting market is expected to cross 20.31 billion dollars by 2028. It earned 11.1 billion dollars in 2021 and would grow annually at 7.8% from 2022 to 2028.

The rise in automotive parts die casting is subject to the increase in income of middle-income groups, causing a rise in sales of passenger cars.

In addition, die cast parts help reduce the weight of automobiles, thus minimizing fuel emissions and enhancing fuel efficiency. The production of eco-friendly parts will steer the growth of these market trends.  

Conclusion

Die casting has revolutionized the automotive world, helping to create high-quality, lightweight components. In turn, manufacturers can now meet industry requirements without compromising the quality and efficiency of engines.

In this article, we mentioned the essential die-casting metals for the automotive industry and their unique advantages. This will help you make the right choice for your project. However, if you still have more inquiries about automotive die casting, contact RapidDirect today, and let’s get you started.

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