Low Pressure Die Casting (LPDC) is a widely used process for producing automotive components. Those components have high mechanical requirements, which are difficult to achieve reproducible within standard LPDC process conditions. Due to those high requirements, process instabilities and casting defects, the scrap rates are sometimes very high, reaching values of 20%. To ensure part feasibility, some areas are oversized in order to allow proper filling of specific critical areas, which results in additional material which is not mechanically required for the part. This leads to additional costs and has a negative environmental impact.
Targeting the issues of insufficient process stability, low mechanical properties and oversized areas, voestalpine, in collaboration with LKR, have developed an “active insert”. This insert, which can be integrated in every LPDC tool, tackles all those issues providing a “plug and play” solution for the customer. According to the latest results with AlSi7Mg alloy, localized porosity is reduced by 75% and tensile strength and elongation increased by 11% and 50% respectively. Additionally, the grain size was reduced by 30% and the microstructure has been homogenized. Moreover, the active inserts improve the aluminum behavior. All this together leads to significantly improved process stability, especially in critical areas. This technology opens big possibilities for LPDC- foundries in order to reduce high scrap rates as well as to produce lighter and stronger automotive LPDC components.