Several people are involved in the process, but it begins with one person signing off on a design for the part to be made. This is the “die cast mold engineer.” They make decisions about everything from complexity to wall thicknesses and draft angles. They talk with customers – OEMs, often – who specify size requirements, materials, and weights. Sometimes they will also consider how many pieces can be cast per mold or even environmental concerns. Once that’s decided upon, they put together drawings to guide toolmakers through building molds.
Toolmakers themselves could be considered next in line as they build these steel molds, which consist of two halves male and female) fitted together to form the cavity, which will eventually contain molten metal.
This is when production engineers take over, overseeing the entire process from start to finish. They check in with different teams manufacturing die-cast molds, ensuring the tools are built correctly and within specifications. Sometimes they will test prototypes of tooling or parts themselves. Generally, they work with both suppliers and end-users to ensure that everyone understands how all the pieces fit together (and what problems mean for getting the final product out on time).
What’s more important is that they oversee the flow of parts through the facility – watching every step involving molds, dies, molten metals, and finished products – making sure nothing slows down the overall process.
Alongside them is quality control checking each part for defects using X-ray fluorescence, ultrasound, and other non-destructive testing techniques.
The quality team also oversees how molds are made in line with engineering specs through the injection-molded tool. Molds are tested multiple times before moving to die cast production. When they’re done, it’s time for another person to take over – metallurgists who work closely with engineers during the development of automotive die casting company alloys or powders. They focus on making parts within specifications and may help with issues once production begins (like problems with the metal flow).
Overseeing that process is a dedicated quality control team. This is where things get interesting since alloy chemistry is crucial to getting good results, good enough to meet and hopefully exceed customers’ expectations. The slightest variation can mean disaster for a part – too much magnesium could make it brittle, not enough lead would make it weak. Rare Earth Metals also play an increasingly important role as automakers look for lightweight components without sacrificing performance or even safety concerns. At the end of this chain is one person who keeps track of every part from start to finish – flow process engineers. Their job is to ensure that suppliers and assembly plants know where parts are at all times and how to get them moving towards the final destination.
These might seem like many people involved in producing a single die-cast. Still, other critical players are beyond those listed here, including testers, mold setters, machinists, inspectors, operators, and the like. And since die-cast parts are usually not one-offs but rather made in batches (sometimes numbering hundreds of thousands), these individuals will come together to form an entire staff dedicated to pushing out tens of thousands of pieces at a time. For more information, visit the automotive die casting company.