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Zinc Die Casting in Cars — A Modern Lifesaver with a High-Tech Look

| Editor: Janina Seit

Every car contains a huge amount of highly modern plastic, light aluminium and solid steel. Another material has not been given such great attention, although it often fulfils life-saving functions: zinc.

Zinc plays an important role in the automotive industry. There it is used to manufacture die cast components for vehicles. Zinc die casting is used wherever safety and maximum stability are required in a vehicle
( Source: NuernbergMesse / Frank Boxler )

Zinc plays an important role in the automotive industry. There it is used to manufacture die cast components for vehicles. Zinc die casting is used wherever safety and maximum stability are required in a vehicle — often concealed and invisible to the eyes of drivers and passengers. Zinc die casting will be indispensable in the coming decades. The ease of processing, not only when it comes to large quantities, will ensures that the quantity used is going to increase rather than decrease.

High-Tech Products Made from Zinc Die Casting

The market for car parts made of die cast zinc is highly important for the automotive industry. Its significance will increase even more with lightweight construction. This is because zinc is used to manufacture thin-walled parts which have a narrow scope of tolerance and are very robust. Zinc die casting is used especially for components where safety is a top priority and the life of the occupants is to be protected — for example, the rollers of the seat belt or belt pretensioners. But housings such as the wiper motor which provides a clear view are also made of zinc. Spark plug heads, the housing of many starter motors, the cylinders of modern door locks and even the door handles rely on zinc.

The market for car parts made of die cast zinc is highly important for the automotive industry. Its significance will increase even more with lightweight construction.
The market for car parts made of die cast zinc is highly important for the automotive industry. Its significance will increase even more with lightweight construction.
( Source: NürnbergMesse )

Car Parts Made of Zinc Die Casting — Harmonizing Value, Appearance and Haptics

Of course, the functionality of the installed parts takes precedence in a car. The value, appearance and not least the haptics are criteria that contribute very much to the customer's purchase decision. This is where zinc die casting is stepping in. In many of the latest car models, parts of the fittings, handles, dampers (e. g. ventilation flaps in the interior), switches and blinds are made of zinc. The advantage of zinc die castings is obvious. The die casting process can transform zinc into all kinds of shapes needed by the automotive industry. Additionally, alternative metals cannot keep up with its surface qualities. The parts maintain narrow tolerances and the surface of products made of zinc die casting is smooth. This means that all zinc parts have an exquisite look and increase the value of high-end cars.

Zinc Die Casting in the Car — A Sustainable Product

It is right that the automotive industry is increasingly relying on the inherent properties of zinc. Its consistent ratio of dead weight to material strength makes it possible to reduce the weight of a vehicle. The corrosion protection provided by zinc ensures optimum service life for housings exposed to the weather, e. g. the housing of wiper motors. But zinc has more to offer than that: The more important autonomous driving becomes, the more important will parts that protect against electromagnetic and electrical influences become. These parts ensure that components that are essential to transmission do not correlate. Not to mention external influences which must also be shielded.

Zinc meets these requirements. And even if it is not feasible to produce the complete part from zinc, it can be applied by thermal spraying. Due to the high cost-effectiveness of zinc die castings not only in the production of large series, it is to be expected that the automotive industry will increasingly rely on zinc for instance in connectors or housings.

Furthermore, zinc is a sustainable and resource-efficient material. It can be recycled perfectly and returned to the materials cycle. Zinc pressure parts are later used in the recycling process for example in the form of zinc alloys. Due to the closed material cycle, zinc ensures a responsible and sustainable use of raw materials.

Zinc — Safety as a Central Topic in Vehicles

Zinc die casting meets the strict safety specifications that apply inside and on a vehicle. That is why belt pretensioners or belt rewinders which require strength and functionality in hazardous situations where life and death are at stake, are made of zinc. In addition to safety aspects, the material ensures long service life even under extreme weather or operating conditions.

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NürnbergMesse; Euroguss; Zare; Spaleck Oberflächentechnik GmbH & Co. KG; Pixabay; NuernbergMesse / Frank Boxler; Schaeffler; ©Kybele - stock.adobe.com_[M]_Vogel Design_Werkstatt; Maxim Integarted; Donald Trump / Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0; Daimler; Stefan Bausewein; BMW