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Manufacturing Parts with High Pressure Die Casting Process

The automotive industry is the largest market for high pressure die casting components. The demand for electric cars has been rapidly growing due to changes in global emission standards and consumer preferences. These changes have prompted car manufacturers to replace heavier components with lightweight and environmentally friendly options made from alloys such as magnesium or aluminum.

High pressure die casting in the Automotive Industry

For hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and electric cars where battery efficiency is critical, reducing weight is significant. Aluminum and magnesium die cast components can significantly reduce vehicle weight, improving overall vehicle performance, increasing fuel or battery efficiency, and extending driving range. Chicago White Metal is helping to drive this evolution by using lightweight alloys to cast complex shapes in large quantities and tight tolerance ranges close to net shape.

Automakers manufacturing electric or hybrid cars are increasingly turning to aluminum because it combines excellent mechanical and physical properties with highly attractive cost. In addition to weight reduction, high pressure die casting of aluminum alloys increases dimensional precision and stability—not to mention added strength and high-speed production capability.

High Pressure Die Casting is Lighter and More Ductile

While not as light as magnesium, aluminum is still one third the weight of steel, making it a big help in reducing vehicle weight. That's why aluminum die cast components are replacing steel in the structure and decorative body parts (i.e. body, hood, doors, bumpers, crash boxes) of modern vehicles.

Ductility is also an important factor driving automakers to turn to aluminum. It can easily be rolled into sheet stock, formed via stamping or extrusion, or welded. It can be high pressure die cast, converting molten metal rapidly into net shape, complex three-dimensional shapes. Aluminum is well-suited for automotive applications where high visibility and structural integrity are needed, such as in A-pillars. Though aluminum is lighter than steel, it absorbs more energy, providing an additional layer of safety for vehicles. The use of aluminum components can help reduce vehicle weight by as much as 40% without compromising vehicle safety.

Magnesium was first used in racing in the 1920s because of its lightweight, giving it a competitive advantage. Now, automotive manufacturers are using this lightweight alloy for applications such as rear-view mirror housings, steering columns, driver-side airbag housings, seat frames, and instrument panel housings. The pursuit for higher battery and fuel efficiency, as well as the need for improved performance, has driven increased interest in high pressure die casting of magnesium alloys. These alloys include AZ91D, which combines excellent mechanical performance with the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any structural metal.

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