Here are the top answers to common questions about manufacturing and sourcing die casting products from China.
“What are the pros and cons of die casting?”
“How much does tooling cost?”
Die casting is a metal casting process in which a molten alloy is injected under high pressure into a steel mold or die where it is held till it cools. Once the metal solidifies, the die is opened and the casting is taken out.
Most die castings are made from alloys of non-ferrous metals such as zinc, copper, aluminium and magnesium. Alloys of lead and pewter and tin are also used sometimes.
Typically, if your product isn't complicated, you will need to give us at least 2D files showing its basic dimensions, tolerances and weight so that we can calculate the cost of the material. We will require 3D files for more complex parts. Design files are available in several formats and it is not really important which format we receive. Step files are generally fine.
Die casting factories can be found just about anywhere in China depending on the environmental restraints imposed by the Chinese government in that area. Your best bet is to work with an experienced China sourcing agent. An agent with boots on the ground in China will be a huge benefit when it comes to finding suppliers and managing production.
Tooling is the process of designing and engineering the tools you will need to manufacture your product. These include cutting tools, jigs and fixtures and dies. The tooling cost for the die cast process can range from a few hundred dollars for small simple tools to hundreds of thousands of dollars for larger more complex tools.
This will depend on how much you pay for the tools, the material used, the material injected and general structure of the part being injected. Tools made for the die cast process can last up to 100,000 cycles in some cases, but a more realistic figure is 60,000 to 70,000 cycles.
We will need about 20-60 days depending on specifications, complexity and size.
Tools are usually machined or cut using EDM (electrical discharge machining). After this, they are heat treated and any surface texture is added. Specific surface finishes or textures can in some cases greatly extend your wait for the tool (tooling lead time).
High complexity intricate parts can be made.
Quick production rate.
Low cost per unit.
High tooling cost.
Warpage and shrinkage.
It’s possible that parts straight out of the die won’t have as good a surface finish as machined parts.
Hollow parts can be problematic depending on the structure, but in most cases investment casting would be used to cast parts that are too challenging for die casting. (Investment casting is a process in which a ceramic mold is made around a wax pattern of a product that is removed before the molten material is poured in.)
As with any process, dimensions and surface finish of die cast products can have problems too. Depending on the after treatment or final finish, porosity of the product can also be an issue.
Sourcing Allies is a team of expert China sourcing agents that has helped western customers manufacture and source products from low-cost regions since 2006.
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