Die Casting Larger Die Casting Machines Revolutionize Body-In-White Production
Bühler is expanding its portfolio with the launch of Carat 560 and Carat 610, and the recently announced Carat 840 to meet the trends for larger and more complex parts. In the eyes of the company, the high demand is a clear opportunity for the die casting industry.
"Structural components have clearly gained in importance in the automotive industry over the last years, with a trend towards even larger parts. This presents a clear opportunity for the die casting industry,” says Cornel Mendler, Managing Director Die Casting. Larger and more complex parts produced in the die casting process are a current trend. The automotive market is seeing the discussion of new body-in-white-concepts, with a tendency to ever larger parts produced in aluminum die casting. This offers the possibility to functionally integrate various other parts, producing them in one shot, instead of in various production steps. This, in turn, reduces complexity and increases productivity in the automotive manufacturing process for the body-in-white. “We are seeing an entire front or entire back of a car produced in one shot, coming out of a die casting machine every 2 minutes. With this we see huge potential for an even more efficient production process for the automotive industry and a fascinating opportunity for die casting,” explains Cornel Mendler, Managing Director Die Casting.
The Force of 1,000 Elephants
The new Carat 560 and Carat 610 with locking forces of up to 61,000 kilonewton (kN) are the latest addition to Bühler’s portfolio. In November 2020, Bühler announced the Carat 840 – with a locking force of 84,000 kN. “The Carat platform has been on the market since 2007 and has always been the solution for large die cast parts. In 2020, we saw a huge increase in the demand for ever larger machines, up to machines double the size as before. Therefore, we are very proud that we were able to announce the Carat 840,” says Martin Lagler, Global Director Product Management & Marketing for Bühler Die Casting.
Imagine a die casting machine as a big as a house, at 6 meters high and standing on a floorspace of over 60 square meters. It is not only the dimensions that are impressive, but also the performance. “The Carat 610 is able to cast over 100 kg of liquid aluminum into a die within milliseconds, thereby holding the die tight by applying a force of 61,000 kN to it. This is comparable to having a thousand elephants sitting on the die,” explains Martin Lagler.
Carat Die Casting Solution
The application of the Carat die casting platform has always been for parts with complex geometries such as structural ones. Today, these parts are getting bigger and there are also additional applications. These include battery housings for the batteries in electric vehicles and new body-in-white-concepts. “With the rise of e-mobility, automotive production is being rethought in many ways, for example even down to how the basic structure of the car is being produced. This opens new opportunities for the die casting industry,” says Cornel Mendler.
The Carat two-platen die casting solution with minimum deflection and a high degree of dimensional accuracy has long-proven its value for the production of large and complex structural components. Equipped with the unique Bühler shot control system, for real-time closed-loop control, Carat enables the casting of parts of high quality, repeatedly, shot after shot.
All the machines in the expanded Carat portfolio have the operator in mind. They are delivered with Bühler’s DataView control unit – which makes the control of the die-casting machine easier and more intuitive via its multitouch screen, making programing up to 25 % faster. Additionally, every machine is equipped with Bühler’s new energy frame concept with a clear and distinctive arrangement of energy couplings. The Carat series also offers the option of servo drive technology.
Bühler Solutions for the Automotive Industry
Bühler not only provides die casting machines for the automotive industry, but also for other innovative solutions. To help meet the rising demand for batteries, Bühler offers novel technologies for the efficient production of electrode active materials and electrode slurries. The solutions include equipment for wet grinding of active materials and precursors, as well as continuous twin-screw electrode slurry mixers.
Another area Bühler is active in, are optical and functional coatings. These thin film coatings enable the car to see and communicate through sensors and cameras as well as improve energy efficiency by reducing the efforts needed for heating and cooling. In fact, future cars will be full of optics. For example, the car glass will be coated for a constant room temperature in the car to avoid energy usage for air conditioning. Optical and functional coatings will be used to monitor the driver inside the car, advising on when the driver needs to interact with the car or when the driver is not in the condition to drive. The cars will even learn to talk to their surroundings with projectors, whereby messages for pedestrians can be projected on the streets. “The future of the automotive sector is about electrification, autonomous driving and connectivity. And Bühler, with its coatings, can make a difference to the customer’s products and to the future of mobility,” says Timo Zoufal, Head of Market Segment Glass, Bühler Group.