Die Casting Competition 2020 Prizes for Innovative Aluminum Die Castings
The winners of the International Aluminum Die Casting Award 2020 have been announced. In all, four castings were awarded prizes at EUROGUSS in Nuremberg, while two others received special commendations.
The 9th International Aluminum Die Casting Competition was organised by Gesamtverband der Aluminiumindustrie e. V. (GDA). It was run in partnership with the German Foundrymen’s Association (Bundesverband der Deutschen Gießerei-Industrie, BDG), the Swiss aluminum association (alu.ch) and the non-ferrous metals trade association of the Austrian Economic Chambers (Fachverband Nichteisenmetalle in der Wirtschaftskammer Österreich).
Die casting has been a successful industrial casting process for series or mass production of structural parts for decades. Die casting foundries have become increasingly important as suppliers to automobile manufacturers, companies engaged in mechanical and plant engineering and other branches of industry, such as communications technology, the furniture industry and the electrical and electronics industries. The development of ever-newer die cast components is advancing rapidly. Whether it be structural elements, parts for electric cars or intelligent components for conventional vehicles, attempts are being made everywhere to make use of the outstanding options that die casting has to offer. Together with machine manufacturers, alloy suppliers and processing companies, die casters are constantly pushing forward the limits of the process by means of innovations. It is remarkable what innovative solutions and components have been developed.
The International Aluminum Die Casting Competition has been a successful platform for demonstrating the high standard of quality of aluminum die casting for many years. The aim of the competition is to increase interest in the versatile material aluminum and to highlight innovative areas of use. The criteria for evaluating the castings submitted to the International Aluminum Die Casting Competition 2020 were compatibility with the die casting process and the resource efficiency of the design. A jury of experts from research and practice awarded prizes to six entries.
1st Prize: Oil-Coolant Module
First place went to the oil-coolant module from Hengst SE. The company is being awarded for the consistent development methodology used from the design of the casting via the tool design through to the casting process, and which clearly has no taboos and is aimed at achieving optimum results. Decisive aspects were the complex geometry, with inner slides and the smallest possible demolding drafts and low tolerances, which at the same time meets the most exacting demands for pressure tightness. The intensive tempering using all technical means available is particularly impressive.
2nd Prize: Housing for HV Booster
The winner of the second prize is the housing for HV Booster from Druckguss Westfalen GmbH & Co. KG. It has a large number of integrated functions that is subject to the most stringent sealing requirements because it has water-conducting cooling zones arranged next to zones with electricity at high voltage. Despite the thin wall thicknesses, high stiffness and dimensional accuracy were achieved using stiffening ribs. The low-copper aluminum alloy used ensures the part has high corrosion resistance and strength in the as-cast condition.
3rd Prize Awarded Twice
Alupress AG receives the third prize for its upper part of housing for dual-channel EBS that must comply with stringent safety requirements. The aluminum die casting has won through against injection-molded plastic parts thanks to dimensional accuracy, with the smallest of tolerances and minimum radii, impermeability and the good finish of the as-cast sealing surface. Remarkably, the as-cast part is ready for assembly. The innovative and efficient tempering system with additively manufactured mold segments was also rated highly.
Another third prize is going to a hybrid battery housing cast on a 4400 tonne machine from Nemak Slovakia s.r.o., using a complex 3-platen tool with four outer slides and a vacuum die casting process. The casting is joined by friction stir welding to three extruded profiles that form the base of the housing. This provides the best possible guarantee of adherence to the stringent tightness requirements (helium tightness test). The use of a naturally hard AlSi9Mn alloy eliminates the need for any heat treatment.
The housing components for electric-vehicle control device from Alupress AG are receiving a special commendation for the savings of up to 30 % on installation space and weight that result from the integration of a large number of functions. The casting has an intelligent liquid cooling system with a laser-welded housing cover. From a design point of view, this meant adapting the original design and reducing the mass locally. A significant reduction in cycle time could be achieved by the use of laser welding for joining. Further-more, the overall concept provided a cost-effective solution.
A four-piece string inverter with a large number of integrated functions and mounting options for the internal electrical components from FBL Pressofusioni srl is also receiving a special commendation. The castings are characterised by deep ribs to cool the housing. The consistent method of developing the casting system with the aim of reducing porosity or distributing it to a non-critical area is also highly commendable.