Latest from Molds/Cores

Franklin Precision Castings
Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry
Ryobi Die Casting
GF Casting Solutions
Messe Dusseldorf
Thongchaipeun | Dreamstime
The first SmartPlatform TF high-pressure diecasting installation, supplied with molten aluminum by a Westomat dosing furnace.

Modular HPDC System Now Casting EV Components

Oct. 24, 2022
A Chinese manufacturer started up the first machine of a new high-pressure diecasting machine series designed for flexibility and configurability.

A large-dimension high-pressure diecasting machine has started operating for a Chinese manufacturer of battery-electric vehicles at Hefei, Anhui province – the center of EV production in that country. The machine is casting and forming aluminum front and rear shells for transmission housings, and the start-up marks the initial series production program for the new, modular variant of ItalPressGauss’ Toggle Free HPDC machine series.

Reportedly, several more TF machines will be installed at the same location later this year, significantly increasing the capacity volume and range for the automaker’s production. According to the developer of the machines, their flexibility and modular design will lead to greater cost-effectiveness for the operators, including the opportunity to cast larger structures in higher volumes.

The hydraulic system driving the press closing action is the key to ItalPresseGauss’s – part of the Norican Group of companies – TF series machines. 

Hydraulics in place of mechanical power means that the machine needs just two platens rather than the typical three to achieve the pressure needed to form complex parts. This design reduces the machine footprint, which is significant because producing larger-dimension parts is the design imperative that has prompted the up-sizing of HPDC machines in the past decade. Such machines also require more automation and handling equipment to tend the HPDC process, another reason to optimize the scale of the installation.

TF machines’ platens are fabricated from the hardest certified steel alloys available, with well equalized tie bar loads, a hydraulic locking system that offsets dies’ geometrical imperfections or thermal expansions, and the shot end system has real-time injection control, all contributing to process repeatability. 

The innovation in the new series is a modular construction. ItalPresseGauss describes these ‘SmartPlatform’ machines as “highly configurable, meaning they can be more easily tailored to match the needs of each individual customer.”

The HPDC machines are available with closing forces ranging from 1,400 to 11,000 metric tons, with six options for the injection process and up to two closing unit options for each machine size, over 55 different combinations in all.

“Their modular configuration means we can ship the pre-tested, pre-certified modules quicker, at less cost, and assemble on location ensuring faster delivery and ‘right-first-time’ performance,” ItalPresseGauss SVP Mario Cincotta explained earlier this year, “All concepts we have tested in real life. What’s more, if casting needs change, so can the configuration of the machine by re-adapting it with a new module. It’s simple. That’s why we call it SmartPlatform.”

The developer also calls customers’ attention to the new machines’ contribution to “sustainable productivity,” in line with the environmental scoring standards increasingly imposed by casting buyers. TF machines are designed to be lightweight, and incorporate IPG’s ECO-FIT “smart” system to regulate the hydraulic pumps’ operation, to consume less energy. Fluid flow-rate and pressure request are compared in real time with target values, to minimize the flow waste; and maximum hydraulic efficiency is achieved by reducing the motor speed to the minimum rate required for requested pressure.

Automatic speed variation combined with reduced pressure in the circuit achieve a significant overall reduction of energy consumption per cycle.

At the new Chinese installation, the HPDC machine is supplied with aluminum melted in several StrikoWestofen Westomat dosing furnaces of different sizes. Westomat furnaces are closed holding and dosing (no crucibles) units renowned for high-accuracy dosing and energy efficiency, with metal losses as low as 0.06%, according to the developer.

More Westomat furnaces will be installed in line with the additional HPDC cells planned at the automaker’s Hefei site.

“We are dedicated to developing and continually evolving solutions to ensure they perfectly match the needs of our customers and the markets they serve,” according to Peter Holm Larsen, president of Norican Aluminium. “The new TF range from ItalPresseGauss certainly embodies this commitment and we are delighted to see our first machine up and running.”