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Magnesium Diecaster Gets its New Operation in Gear

Nov. 1, 2006
Multi-function diecasting cells

Innocast Inc., a South Korean producer established just six years ago, has become a quality supplier of magnesium diecastings for electronic and automotive components. Its complex designs are produced for customers that include Samsung, LG, and GM DAT.

Magnesium is lightweight, offers high thermal conductivity, withstands stress well, and melts easily. All these details make magnesium well suited to producing thin-walled components that provide good electromagnetic shielding properties. Thus, it is well regarded by designers of cases for high-quality electronic devices, like laptop and notebook computers, cameras, projectors, and audio equipment. In automotive engineering, magnesium diecastings are gaining acceptance for engine and gearbox components based on their thermal properties and lightweight.

But, magnesium diecasting is not an easy process to master. The molten metal can be difficult to handle, and high operating costs and material scrap rates make it difficult to produce magnesium diecastings profitability.

Innocast Inc. has succeeded in any case. Having achieved recognition with hot-chamber diecasting to produce smaller components, Innocast set out to produce and export large castings — specifically magnesium gearboxes and steering knuckle arms — and enlisted Bhler Druckguss AG as its technology supplier.

Bhler’s applications engineers started working with Innocast before any new equipment had been delivered, providing simulation programs and die proposals that were used to begin working with potential customers, demonstrating the ability to design and supply high-quality cast parts. While Bhler designers were building Innocast’s Evolution 66D diecasting system, the company was able to promote its competency and reliability.

Along with the diecasting machinery, Bhler supplied a magnesium melting furnace and an automatic casting cell. Technicians trained Innocast operators on-site, so that when the diecasting equipment arrived, they were ready to start production.

With the dies in place and the first test shots begun, the benefits of the Bhler equipment and process were clear once a few castings were completed. Simulation and the optimized die design allowed the Evolution 66D diecasting system to be fine-tuned quickly and returned to service. “We set up Innocast to enable our customers to seize new business opportunities, to help consumers obtain more convenient products, and to offer our employees a better life and work in a company they can be proud of,” according to Innocast CEO Rakhun Choe.

Multi-function Diecasting Cells
Bhler's Evolution series of production cells, one of three lines it develops, are suitable for all liquid diecasting operations and recommended for high-vacuum and magnesium operations. Bhler promotes the Evolution line for its flexibility, promising that it will provide the "freedom" needed for new part development and production.

Among the Evolution’s design features are programmable functions; an autodidactic controller; a cavity sensor system; injection units for thin-walled parts with dynamic filling and other demanding applications; and comprehensive process monitoring, with trend data and graphing. It has a dynamic shot-control valve, and “nearly unlimited” shot-curve variability.