Die Casting Competition 2020 Fascination Zinc - Six Winners From Six Categories

| Editor: Nicole Kareta

In the course of EUROGUSS 2020 in Nuremberg the winners of the 8th Zinc Die Casting Award of the Initiative Zink were announced. A jury of 8 experts selected the winners from the categories sanitary engineering, locking technology, medical technology, lifestyle, electrical engineering and automotive.

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Due to the great response to the participation in this year's Zinc Die Casting Award, all six categories could be filled with interesting castings - a challenge for the expert jury.
Due to the great response to the participation in this year's Zinc Die Casting Award, all six categories could be filled with interesting castings - a challenge for the expert jury.
(Source: NuernbergMesse / Frank Boxler)

What is the Zinc Die Casting Award About?

The Initiative Zink has set itself the goal of representing the potential and diversity as well as the outstanding properties of zinc die cast products and the performance of foundries. The Zinc Die Casting Award took place for the eighth time during EUROGUSS 2020. The competition has met with a great response in the industry. For the first time, winners in the following six categories were chosen for the competition: Automotive, Sanitary Technology, Lifestyle (toys, household appliances, SmartHome etc.), Electrical & Mechanical Engineering, Medical Technology, Security & Locking Technology.

A jury of recognised experts in the field of die casting has selected the best of the zinc die cast parts submitted: The jury members come from the fields of alloy production, production of casting machines, from institutes of science and materials research as well as from trade associations. The evaluation criteria include the design of the component and its complexity in the same way as the degree of difficulty and implementation in mold making and production.

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Once again this year, the castings are characterized by innovative and technically interesting casting technology, inspire with their complex and filigree properties and convince with their visually appealing surface design.

Winner Sanitary Engineering:

In the category sanitary engineering the cover rosette for a head shower of HDO Druckguß und Oberflächentechnik GmbH was awarded. The component is a large-area application of zinc die cast as shower head. The large surface area of the cover rosette of a shower head for the GROHE Rainshower series in combination with a galvanic surface treatment places special demands on surface flatness. The galvanisable surface of the zinc die cast work piece in a high-quality application, as required in sanitary engineering, has no sink marks and no cold flow (cold flow lines). The production of such large-area zinc die cast products with a corresponding overall height and a component weight of over 2 kg requires special heat distribution in the casting tool and a powerful die casting machine. The areas of the casting run and gating system require a special design so that the casting tool, which is characterised by many openings and stabilising webs, can be filled quickly and evenly. This zinc die cast component replaces a brass component milled from solid diamond material and thus meets the requirements for identical appearance and function. Under these conditions, the component has been redesigned to be suitable for die casting.

The jury honoured the casting from the Rainshower series for its high degree of innovation in casting technology and the implementation of high technological requirements. The jury considers the high surface quality, which in the past could only be achieved by a milled component, and the casting technology requirements for the large-area component to be implemented in this casting in an exemplary manner.

Winner Locking Systems:

Groß Druckguss GmbH received this award for the implementation of cylinder housing shells and a head cap for ABUS-ECO locking cylinders. Products in the lock sector are characterised by extremely low tolerance ranges, high fitting accuracy and precision. The lock components require high material strength to ensure reliable burglary protection. In addition to the requirement for low manufacturing tolerances on the component, the precision of the mold construction must be emphasised. The result shows the possibilities offered by zinc die casting in mold construction and in the finished product. Zinc die casting delivers quality on the level of conventional mechanical processing. This casting technique offers the advantage of producing large quantities at a high level of quality and under the aspects of low manufacturing costs and resource-saving use of material.

The jury honoured the castings for ABUS-ECO locking cylinders on account of the high degree of innovation of this component in the locking technology category. This application of zinc die casting demonstrates the usability and economic efficiency of zinc even in areas which were previously implemented using mechanically machined workpieces. Due to the precision in mold making as well as in the cast lock components, the award-winning components are an outstanding example of zinc die casting technology.

Winner Medical Technology:

The winner of this category from Dipl.-Ing. Siegfried Müller Druckguß GmbH & Co. KG is a housing for X-ray dental technology. It is characterized by a completely different zinc die casting property than strength, filigree and thin-walled. Due to its use as a component of an X-ray machine, thick walls, tightness and also precision are required. In addition, the cast part has to meet the highest requirements for shielding against electromagnetic radiation. The cast housing is used in an X-ray unit in dental medicine. It serves as a tank for a low-viscosity transformer oil in which the X-ray tube is located. These requirements make the cast part, which initially appears voluminous and sluggish, a highly complex component. In addition, the entire assembly is fitted with numerous attachments made of zinc die cast, whose attachment points must be taken into account in the casting process, even on the tank itself. This represents a particular challenge for the design of the runner and gating system as well as the die casting machine. Due to the good properties of zinc for shielding against X-rays, it is possible to largely dispense with additional cladding, e.g. with lead, for the casting.

The jury emphasizes the special implementation of the requirements for the component. In addition to the challenge of casting a large-volume and thick-walled component in combination with a great deal of mass, the jury considers the implementation of the requirements for precision, tight shape and position tolerances and the necessary tightness against radiation and highly viscous liquid to be remarkable. The component demonstrates in a special way the wide range of possible solutions that can be implemented with zinc die casting.

Winner Lifestyle:

The award-winning casting "Suitcase" from Heiligenstädter Reißverschluß GmbH & Co. KG is based on the original of a suitcase and represents a decorative part in the series of collector's pieces made of wood. While many decades ago, suitcases were still made of leather, a separate edge protection with leather corners was applied to the corners. At first sight, the case from the zinc die cast series suggests a simple cast part. Only at second glance can the attention to detail and precision be seen. The cast case is based exactly on the natural model. The eight corners of the case are minimally small, each projecting 0.2 mm from the actual body of the case. The case lid of the decoration part is also precisely manufactured and is 0.5 mm from the original all the way round. This small component is very big in the implementation of the mold construction and the design of the ejectors in the mold. Thanks to the intelligent solution of ejectors moving at an angle, the mold does not require any mechanical slides at all. The required precision and absence of burrs also places special demands on the production of the mold. With regard to the small parts of the workpiece and the requirements for the material surface, which is electrogilded in the further processing, the mold construction is true watchmaking work. The casting shows impressively that even the smallest quantities are interesting for zinc die casting.

Due to the special challenges in toolmaking for the implementation of the small and detailed cast part, the jury honoured the component with the winner's trophy in the Lifestyle category.

This is how the winners look like (German version):

Winner Electrical Engineering:

In this category, a conductor rail for ebm-pabst fans from Georg Frank GmbH received the award. The award-winning casting is a very filigree, long and sensitive component as a single part. Four individual and very thin conductor strands with dimensions in the tenth of a millimetre range have to be cast in a cross-section of perhaps just one square centimetre. The production of the long flow paths in the casting tool for this conductor rail with plug area and the associated design of the entire tool could only be implemented with a mold-filling simulation. This simulation was used to determine the optimum gate geometry, which made the high casting quality possible. As it is not possible to deburr the component by trimming the filigree overall geometry, this step is carried out by a special tool as well as by plastic granulate blasting. The resulting flake-free workpiece is insulated for use as a current-carrying connection by overmolding with plastic. In addition, the plastic gives the component the necessary stability, precise cable routing and shields any moisture. These properties represent an improvement over the cabling conventionally used. The casting is used as a connecting component in a fan.

The jury honored the zinc die cast component with the winning placement in the electrical engineering category. The precision and filigree nature of the component with the associated design of the casting mold and the further sheathing by means of plastic injection molding, as well as the courage and ability to implement such a component using zinc die casting, were particularly emphasised.

Winner Automotive:

With a shift lever for automatic transmissions, Druckguss Westfalen Behringer GmbH & Co. KG won in the automotive category. The casting is a basic carrier for the gear lever knob of an automatic transmission in a passenger car. The gearshift knob is within the constant field of vision of the driver and the vehicle occupants, which places very high demands on the surface quality of the visible surfaces and on a high-quality haptic. The use of zinc die casting achieves a much higher value compared to commonly used plastic parts when used as gearshift lever and also generally in the interior. The zinc die cast part appears cool, resilient and heavy, although at 150 grams it is rather lightweight. The shift lever as a whole lies well in the hand due to its shape and convinces with its high-quality feel. Recessed LED lights are used to display the gearshift lever and its visible areas in the vehicle, and the jury was particularly impressed by the mold construction solution. Since the gearshift lever is almost exclusively a visible surface, an intelligent solution is required for the position of the gate and the molding. Due to the geometry of the casting, the further mechanical pretreatment and subsequent galvanic surface treatment pose a challenge that was convincingly solved.

The solution to the geometry-related challenges in the production, further processing and surface treatment of the casting convinced the jury to award the zinc die casting prize for the automotive category. The component impressively demonstrates that there are applications in the vehicle whose quality requirements can only be met by zinc die casting.

About Initiative Zink

(Source: Initiative Zink)

This article originates from Initiative Zink. The Initiative ZINK based in Germany is the contact for authorities, users, the press and individuals in all questions relating to zinc. It unites manufacturers of zinc, zinc alloys and semi-finished products based on zinc, manufacturers and processors of zinc compounds and zinc recyclers, belongs to the network of the General Association of the Non-Ferrous Metals Industry (WVMetalle / GDB e. V.) and works closely with national and international associations and institutions together.

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