What to Do to Become Fit for the Future of Die Casting?
In this article Gerald (Jerry) Peterson - retired director Kokomo Casting Plant at FCA - gives helpful advice how to optimize your diecasting business and explains why collecting and analyzing data is so important.
The die cast industry is in the mist of incredible growth and growth well into 2025. Are you ready? Are you buying new equipment? Are you working on cell improvements? Are you working on quality improvements? Are you working to improve downtime? There are lots of ways to create capacity without buying new equipment. Most of them are in questions listed above. Many die casters have no choice but to buy new equipment due to new projects and the light weighting process. I have been preaching for many years about opportunities to make operational improvements which lead to bottom improvements.
I always ask the question- what does it cost you to make a shot. I generally get mixed responses on this question. Aluminum is easy, how about die lube? How about tip lube? How about shot sleeves? How about shot tips? My favorite is what about your tooling costs? So, ask yourself what does it cost us every time we open and close the machine? When you start asking these questions it will lead you to understand all the inputs and why you are getting your current outputs.
So, are you working on the biggest black hole of any die cast plant- warm-up scrap? Are you using thermal and quality data to find the perfect warm up program? Or are you going by your gut or similar parts from the past? Thermal control is critical in diecast on many levels from quality to tooling life. Understanding the thermals and using science to balance each die will generate lots of saving and increase the bottom line. Another area of concern is using lube excessively to cool the die due to poor die design and not understanding the thermal footprint of the die. Many die casters are going to pulse spray application of die lube and getting significant savings due to less die lube, less porosity, and longer tool life.
Are you tracking and problem-solving downtime? Lots of the warm-up scrap is due to the machine being up and down. Data is key to solving these issues. Many plants collect data but do not analyze it to the degree that they can glean trends and predictability to downtime issues. Downtime can be from lack or good training or poor PM standards in place. Again, this is a key area to generate capacity, increase quality, get improved tooling life, and reduce warm-up scrap.
Die cast plants are sitting in a very good position for several years to come due to the transition of parts into aluminum. The die casters that understand what its written above will succeed and thrive.
Aluminium and the Automobile Industry
In 2014 there was 390 pounds of aluminum put into every vehicle made in the world. In 2025 there will be 550 pounds of aluminum in every vehicle made worldwide. Opportunity is there for those who desire to seize it. Understanding all the inputs to get the desired output will put you on the right path to improve and succeed. If you are not there time is wasting. Commit yourselves to create capacity with all that is discussed above. I love this industry and know that lots of money can be made if data and science are used to solve problems. Be an industry leader not a follower.
This article is written by Gerald (Jerry) Peterson - retired director of Kokomo Casting Plant at FCA.
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