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The History and Innovation of Die Casting

Die casting is integral part of so many applications that it would be difficult to imagine manufacturing without its use. Despite its prevalence today, the process of forcing molten metal into mold cavities at high pressure didn’t come into use until the early 1800s. At that time, die casting was primarily used as a way to cast print type. These individual letters were used in the early printing presses. If you can, imagine the work that would be entailed not only in creating individual type pieces but also in assembling an entire pamphlet, flyer or newspaper with individually cast letters.

Die Casting goes Mainstream

The first patent for die casting was awarded in 1849 for a manually operated print type machine. For the next twenty years, print remained the main use for die casting. Perhaps it was the flourishing of ideas that accompanied the printing press that eventually encouraged the use of die casting for other machinery elements. In 1892, die cast elements become common in commercial applications for music, banking and commerce as well as for the mass production of individual parts.

Over the years, the major elements of die casting have not changed dramatically. The first alloys were made of lead and tin. Those were then replaced by the use of aluminum and zinc, followed by copper and magnesium alloys. In terms of the alloys used in die casting, the industry has continued with the use of the same alloy materials since the 1930s.

What has evolved is the method of production and the innovations for parts cleaning. Die casting used to be primarily done with low-pressure injection but changes in technology now make swift, high-pressure casting the norm with forces exceeding 4,500 per square inch. These methods ensure that parts produced are not only high integrity but they are easily duplicated and have smooth, durable surface finishes.

Despite its extreme durability, die cast materials significantly benefit from thorough parts washing. Walking beam and power and free conveyors enable die cast parts to be cleaned in a continuous process, allowing the parts to be conveyed synchronously, one position at a time. This allows specific areas of the parts to be reached by a precise spray nozzle or to be probed for clean out or flushing. Depending on the process chosen, this cleaning can take place in a single or multi-stage process.

Walking Beam Method – allows die casting customers to clean and position parts in various zones.

Power and Free Method – offers a flexible platform to move die cast and powdered metal products between manufacturing processes, also allows for buffering in between.

For more than 50 years, Walsh Manufacturing has developed custom parts cleaning equipment as well as machinery to clean die cast molds. Because of the unique nature of these parts, we know there can never be a one-size-fits-all-approach to die casting or cleaning, particularly for cleaning blind holes and small cavities.

Walsh Manufacturing is a Cleveland, Ohio-based manufacturing company with five decades of experience in machine design and metal fabrication. Over this time, we’ve built a reputation as a diversified manufacturer of machined components, subassemblies, alloy material, fabricated steel and machinery. If you’re looking for a cost-competitive, innovative, and reliable supplier with expertise in Parts Washing Systems, Automation Equipment, Metal Fabrication and Machinery Rebuilding, look no farther than Walsh Manufacturing.