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Use Case DGS China Further Invests in Lightweight Casting

Editor: Isabell Page

Although aluminum automotive structural parts are still considered relatively new product lines in China, DGS China invested in an aluminum die casting plant from Norican, so that they can produce large and complex automotive parts for one of the most dynamic economic markets.

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DGS China opened its new foundry in Nansha, Guangzhou in 2012.
DGS China opened its new foundry in Nansha, Guangzhou in 2012.
(Source: gemeinfrei / Pixabay )

As electric cars become more popular and vehicles become lighter, aluminum is increasingly the metal of choice for high-value auto components like transmission housings, steering systems and chassis modules.

About DGS China

A wholly-owned Chinese subsidiary of the Swiss DGS Group, DGS China specialises in high-pressure die casting in aluminum and magnesium alloys. Founded in 2007, the company moved to its current foundry at the end of 2012 where it mainly manufactures high-end components for China’s thriving auto industry – the world’s largest since it overtook the USA in 2009.

Growing Automotive Appetite for Aluminum Components

“Over the last decade, the Chinese automotive industry has been growing rapidly,” says Mr Chengliang Song, General Manager of DGS China. “Over the past five years, our company has seen rapid development.”

As the lightweight trend has grown, auto companies have asked DGS China to manufacture increasingly complex structural aluminum parts. These components are often large with intricate shapes and thin walls, and must meet high mechanical performance requirements – specifications that make them difficult to cast accurately and repeatably.

“Aluminum automotive structural parts are relatively new product lines in China,” says Mr Jipeng Jia, Production Director at DGS China. “To meet our requirements, we needed die casting machines with high performance and stability.”

DGS China opened its new foundry in Nansha, Guangzhou in 2012. With demand for its products still rising, it decided to install a set of state-of-the-art, highly automated aluminum casting cells. To deliver an integrated solution from pouring to deburring, DGS China turned to Italpresse Gauss and StrikoWestofen – now part of the Norican Group.

A suitable Solution for Aluminum Casting

Italpresse Gauss supplied two IP1650 1600-tonne, three-platen die casting machines with toggle, installed in 2013 and 2015. A further IP2150 2150-tonne machine arrived in 2016.

To automatically feed liquid metal to its die casting machines, DGS China also ordered four new Westomat dosing furnaces in 1200 kg and 1700 kg sizes. The Westomat is a clean, closed crucible-free dosing system that limits metal loss to only 0.06 %. Liquid metal for dosing is always taken from below the bath surface, ensuring it is free of contamination and meets the high quality standards required for structural aluminum parts.

The Westomat’s closed clean system is energy efficient, meets occupational safety standards and consuming only one-third of the energy required by a classic ladle system with a holding furnace. With three 900 kg Westomats already in service, DGS China now employs a total of seven StrikoWestofen dosing furnaces. Song quotes “I have been working in the die casting industry for over a decade and we have always used StrikoWestofen equipment”.

Coordinated Equipment Ensures Good Performance

According to DGS China’s Production Director Mr Jipeng Jia, Norican’s integrated casting solution has delivered outstanding results since 2012. “Over the last five years, we have been monitoring the performance of our Italpresse Gauss machines,” he says. “We are incredibly impressed with the quality of this equipment and have been extremely satisfied with its processing stability, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and product yield."

The StrikoMelter furnaces provide a metal yield of up to 99.75 % and only requiring 525 kWh to melt a tonne of aluminum per hour. “In production use, the StrikoWestofen furnaces provide many advantages, such as high energy savings, high safety standards, very simple maintenance and high system uptime,” says Jia.

This results convinced DGS China to install a further 2500-tonne IP2500 die casting machine. “This is our fourth die casting machine from Italpresse Gauss and it has the highest tonnage in our factory,” says Jia.

With the use of aluminum in automobiles forecast to double from around 12 % to 25 % of global consumption by 2025, it looks like DGS China will continue to thrive.

The complete case study can be found at StrikoWestofen.

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