After months of research, developing a die casting design concept and validating it, you’re ready to move into the next phase of the project: selecting a die caster to turn the concept into a reality. Unless you have an existing relationship with a reputable die casting supplier that you’ve established, finding the best metal die caster to produce your product can be an arduous task.
There are some key areas that should be considered when choosing a die caster, whether it is for aluminum, magnesium, or zinc materials. Certainly, the cost of die cast tooling and production will carry much weight in the decision process, but a good die caster will offer much more than a competitive price. And, if you’re just comparing on price alone, be aware that some additional services may be included in the cost to build the tool. In such cases, one quote for metal die casting may be higher than another so that you may not be comparing apples to apples. Be sure to have a full understanding of what is included in the quote. Also, a quote with additional services may cost more upfront but it can literally save you thousands of dollars over the life of your product. That’s why it’s important to consider several areas when selecting a good metal die caster and understand what’s included in the quote.
Before building an expensive tool for your metal die casting design, be sure to request a comprehensive description of the engineering consultations that will be held with your team. The die casting engineers should fully understand your concept and its performance requirements in the end product. With that understanding, the engineers can optimize your drawing for maximum performance in both the die casting process and its function in the end product. The die casting engineer’s preplanning and analysis can recommend cost saving measures —or prevent costly mistakes over the project life.
With the initial engineering consultation, does the die casting supplier have the ability to take advantage of advanced technology using process simulation software (e.g., Magmasoft®) before the tool is built? Using your CAD file, they can use the software to predict and optimize metal flow, air entrapment, metal velocity, thermal balance, hotspots etc., during the die casting process. This will assure a quality die casting design, shorten lead times and can lower production costs.
Can you trust that you’re getting an unbiased opinion about the correct metal alloy to use for your project? There are multiple alloys (aluminum, zinc, and magnesium) and each has its own unique properties with advantages and disadvantages to each. If your product requires post-finishing, it’s even more important to choose the right alloy because the physical properties of each alloy may or may not work with each type of finish. Along with getting the right metal alloy recommendation, be sure that your die casting supplier fully understands all the finishing options available and can guide you to the right finish. The die casting engineer must know all these variables from the project onset or it can result in costly quality issues later on. Finishing can be a complex subject so we’ll talk more about it in another post.