You are on page 1of 4

CAEDSMouldDesign

Highpressurediecastingcycle
TampereUniversityofTechnologyTuulaHk
High pressure die casting cycle consists of the following steps. The time spans are
roughestimates.Therearealsocrossdependencies.

metalladling(coldchamberdiecasting),35seconds
castingshotandpartsolidification,615seconds
coreforwardmovementifnecessary,47seconds
dieopening,partejectionandremovalfromthediespace,215seconds
verifyingthepartremoval,alongwithothersteps
diespraying,416seconds
diecoolinganddrying,315seconds
dieclosing,12seconds
corebackwardmovementifnecessary,47seconds

Totalcycletimedependsontherequiredstepsandfactorsaffectingthestepslength.
Part designer delimits the time span for the casting cycle. The following chapters
discusstheselimitsinmoredetail.

Metalladling
Highpressurediecastingcellisequippedwithaholdingfurnacetowhichthemetalis
usually brought from a large central melting furnace. Hot chamber die casting ma
chinecastingchamberisplaceddirectlyintothisholdingfurnaceandthereisnoneed
to use any extra equipments between the casting machine and the furnace. Cold
chamberdiecastingmachinecastingchamberisattachedtothemould.Itisapartof
themachineandinadistancefromthefurnace.Themetalisusuallytransferredtothe
coldchamberwithaladlingmachineorportionedoutfromadosingfurnace.
Theladlingphaseaddstothecastingcycleonlyaminimumtime,becausetheequip
mentscanworkindependentlyofthecastingmachine.Thedosecanbepreparedand
keptwaitinguntilthemachineisready.Thepartdesignerinfluenceisnegligible.Hot
chamberprocessisalittlequickerthanthecoldchamberprocessbecausethereisno
needforladlingordosing.

Castingshot
Thecastingshothasthreephases:

slowapproachingphase
rapiddiecavityfillingphase
intensificationphase

Duringtheapproachingphasethedierunnersystemisfilleduptotheingates.This
phasehastobeslowenoughtoavoidturbulenceintheflowingmeltwhileittravels
throughthecastingchamberandrunners.Inthecoldchamberprocessitisimportant
toselectarightsizecastingchamber.Theshotvolumeshouldnotfillthechambertoo
full,butnottooshorteither.Thechamberfillfactorinfluencesthemoltenmetalflow
profile.
Highpressurediecastingcycle1

CAEDSMouldDesign
The runner shapes are important. First of all the runner leads the molten metal to
gatesanddirectsthemeltflowinarightangleandinarightdirectionfromthegate
intothediecavity.Therunnershapesshouldbesmoothinordertoavoidturbulence.
Therunnerdepthandwidthinfluenceaheatflowfrommeltto themouldmaterial.
Flat and wide runners increase the heat flow and create unnecessary large tempera
turedrop.Thefoundrytechnicianswillmostlikelytrytocompensatethelostheatby
raising the temperature in the holding furnace, but this can lead to excess oxidation
andforexamplesolderingproblemswithaluminiumalloys.
The purpose of the filling phase is to fill the die cavity in a very short time period,
beforethemetalstartstosolidify.Thehighpressurediecastingdiematerialconduct
heatintenselyfromthemoltenmetalandthefillingphasecantakeonlyafractionofa
second. The time span of the filling phase is negligible compared to the total cycle
time.
Thepurposeoftheintensificationphaseistocompensatethesolidificationshrinkage
inthemetalandtocompressthegasbubblesinsidethesolidifyingpart.Theintensifi
cationphaselastsuntilthepartissolidifiedenoughandisreadytoberemovedfrom
thedie.
Thepartdesigndoesnotinfluenceonthesuccessoftheapproachingphase,butdoes
influenceonthesuccessofthediecavityfillingphaseandintensificationphase.The
partshapesshouldsupportthemetalflow.Blockingdetailsagainsttheflowordetails
outsidetheflowpathmaycauseserioustroubleinthecavityfillingphase.Theinten
sification phase will be difficult to carry out efficiently if there are narrow walls in
frontofthegateorthickpartssurroundedbythinnerparts.
The dimensions of the thickest casting walls influence most on the total duration of
thecastingshot.Theintensificationandsolidificationphasesarethelongest.Thetotal
partvolumeinfluencesalsotheshotduration,butnotthatmuchasthewallthickness.
Inordertokeeptheshotandsolidificationphasesasshortaspossible,selectthewall
thicknessesnearminimum.

Coreforwardmovement
This phase is necessary only if the part has back draft shapes, which will require a
moving core. Small to average size back drafts can be produced with slide mecha
nismsorothermechanicalstructures,whichopenbythemouldopeningmovement.
Theslidemechanismmayslowthemouldopeningalittle,butusuallynomorethan
0,52seconds.Theslidemechanismswillusuallysucceedifthemovingcoreheight
isnomorethan5060mm.
Ifthemovingcoreisveryhigh,itisnecessarytoequipthemouldwithacorepulling
cylinder. Core pulling cylinders are typically hydraulic cylinders with end position
sensors.Thisstructureslowsthecoremovement,becauseofthenecessaryendposi
tion securing steps. Machine operations need to wait until the core is completely
removedfromthediecavityspace.Withoutsecuringdevices,thediewillbreakinthe
case of core cylinder malfunction. If there are complicated shapes, which require
multiplecoresinmultiplemovingphases,thecorepullingtimeisatleastdoubled.
Inordertoshortenthecastingcycleandalsoinordertocutdownthediecosts,keep
thepartassimpleaspossible.Nohighmovingcoresifthesecanbeavoided.Nocore
pulling in multiple phases. The core pulling movements are repeated in reversed
orderintheendofthecastingcycleinordertomovethecoresback.Intheworstcase
thecoresforwardandbackwardmovementlast814secondsintotal.

Highpressurediecastingcycle2

CAEDSMouldDesign

Dieopening,partejectionandremovalfromthediespace
Dieopeningisveryquickoperation.Itlaststypically13secondsdependingonthe
requiredopeningstroke.Theopeningphaseslowsdownwithadditional12seconds
if there is a need to open the machine safety door and monitor the movement from
endpositionsensors.Themonitoringoperationmaybenecessaryifthereisarobotor
someotherautomaticpartremovingmachineryinvolved.
Afterthedieistotallyopenthecastingmachineejectionsystemworks.Theejectionis
fast,butifthereisagainsomepartremovingequipmentsinvolved,thereisaneedto
delaytheejectionuntilthepartremovingdeviceisreliablyinthepositiontocapture
theejectedpart.
Thequickestpossiblepartremovalmethodisdroppingthepartthroughthemachine
base to a conveyor belt. Manual part removal is a little slower operation, but in the
otherhandalittlequickerthanremovingthepartwitharoboteventhoughoperator
needstostartthenextphaseinthemachineoperationalcycle.Usingarobotorsome
otherpartremovingmachineryistheslowestmethod.Robotautomationneedsvari
ousmonitoringstepsandtherobotmovementscannotbesetveryfastandsmoothin
the close quarters inside the casting machine. It is still possible to gain speed to the
robotoperationsbydesigningthepartgrippingmechanismwiselysothatthereareas
fewandshortrobotmovementsaspossible.
Partdesignerdoesnotinfluenceontheselectionofpartremovalmethods.Theselec
tion depends on casting company manufacturing methods, part lot size and also on
economyinproducingtheparts.

Verifyingthepartremoval
If there is some automation machinery involved, there is a need to check if the part
wastotallyremovedfromthediecavity.Thisverificationphaseisdifferentfromthe
possiblequalityinspectionphases.Itspurposeistoprotectthedie.Itispossiblethat
afterejectionandpartremovalthereisstillapartofthecastingstuckinsidethedie
cavity. Thedie can bedamaged by the closing movement or within the next casting
cycle.
Theverifyingoperationscanbedonealongothercastingcyclestepsandtheydonot
usuallyaddtothecycletime.Themostcommonverifyingmethodsarebyscaling,by
photoelectriccellsorbymachinevisioninspection.

Diespraying
Diesprayingisthenecessaryoperationtocoolthediecavityandtolubricateittoaid
part removal. If the die temperature in the die for aluminium alloys rises too high,
therewillsoonoccursolderinginthehottestplaces.Thereisalsothedangerthatthe
castingwillstucktothecavity.Partwillstuckalsoifthereisnotenoughlubricantin
thesprayingwaterorifthereistoomuchlubricant.
Thesprayingtimeandintensityareselectedaccordingtotherequirementsofthecase
inquestion.Thesprayingtimeisusuallysetlongandintenseifthereareshapeswith
a large surface area compared to the die material volumeunder the surface. Typical
examplesofthesecasesareribsorhighandnarrowcores.Alsothicksectionsinthe
castingaccumulateheat.

Highpressurediecastingcycle3

CAEDSMouldDesign
Itmaybeverydifficulttobalancesprayingifthereareflatsections,intensivelywarm
ing sections and deep sections in the same casting. For example in the case of
aluminiumcastingsflatsectionsdonotwarmupverymuch,areeasytosprayanddo
notrequireexcesscooling;warmingsectionsneedintensesprayinganddeepsections
strong,welltargetedspraying.Withotheralloytypesitisnecessarytoadoptdifferent
sprayingstrategies.
Alsofromthesprayingpointofviewitwouldbebeneficialtokeepthecastingshapes
assimpleaspossible.Butthisisnotofcoursealwayspossible.

Diecoolinganddrying
Diecoolinganddryingisastepneededtosecureassmallmoisturecontentinsidethe
dieaspossible.Moisturecausesporosityproblems.Thedryingandcoolingtimeisthe
longer the more difficulties there are in spraying the die cavity. In some cases the
coolingtimehastobeaslongas68seconds.

Dieclosingandcorebackwardmovement
These are the last steps before the new cycle begins. The core backward movement
takesapproximatelythesametimeascoreforwardmovement.

Totalcastingcyclelength
In total the casting cycle length may vary from approximately 30 seconds up to 1
minute30seconds.Themostinfluentialdetailsare:

largestcastingwallthickness
sprayingefficiencyandthedegreeofdifficultnessinspraying
coremovementdeviceefficiency
robotmovementsefficiency
overallefficiencyintheequipment

Thecastingdesignerisabletoinfluencethefirstthreedetails.

Highpressurediecastingcycle4