Aluminum casting is a process of creating parts and products by pouring molten aluminum into a mold cavity. The molten aluminum then cools and solidifies into the desired shape. This process is widely used in the manufacturing industry, with aluminum being one of the most commonly used metals in casting.
Aluminum casting has several advantages over other casting processes. For example, it is a relatively low-cost process, and it can produce parts and products with excellent dimensional accuracy and surface finish. Additionally, aluminum has excellent mechanical properties, making it ideal for a wide range of applications.
CFS Foundry is a well-known manufacturer of aluminum casting services in China. We offer high-quality aluminum castings for a wide range of industries, including automotive, aerospace, marine, and more.
The Aluminum Casting Process
The aluminum casting process consists of several steps. The first step is to design the mold, which will determine the final shape of the product. The mold is typically made from a two-part pattern, which is usually made from wood, plastic, or metal.
Next, the mold is prepared by coating it with a release agent, which helps to prevent the aluminum from sticking to the mold. The mold is then closed, and the molten aluminum is poured into the mold cavity.
As the molten aluminum cools, it solidifies and takes on the shape of the mold. Once the aluminum has cooled and solidified, the mold is opened, and the finished product is removed.
Types of Aluminum Casting
To meet the needs of different cast aluminum parts, CFS Foundry offers a wide range of aluminum casting types as listed in below:
High pressure aluminum die casting is a manufacturing process in which molten metal (aluminum) is injected with a die casting machine under force using high pressure into a steel mold or die to form products. Precisely formed aluminum parts requiring a minimum of machining and finishing can be produced through this casting method. High pressure aluminum die casting is mainly used for thin wall thickness aluminum products with high volume production.
In the low pressure die casting process the metal is transferred from an air tight furnace through a rising tube into a metallic tool. The casting temperature is about 750°C.
Low pressure aluminum die casting is competitive casting method when the production quantity is relatively small and/or when heat treatment is needed to improve the mechanical properties. The tolerances and the surface finish are the same as achieved by gravity die casting. The tooling costs are somewhat higher than by sand casting. For its low pressure, this manufacturing process is more suitable for thick aluminum products, even small volume is feasible.
Aluminum gravity die casting involves molds and cores of steel or other metal. Molten aluminum is usually poured into the mold, although a vacuum is sometimes applied. Aluminum gravity die castings can be made stronger than either die or sand castings. Aluminum gravity die casting is also named as aluminum gravity casting in China . Semi-permanent mold casting techniques are used when permanent cores would be impossible to remove from the finished part.
Aluminum Sand Casting
Sand casting is the most versatile method for producing aluminum products. The process starts with a pattern that is a copy of the finished casting. Virtually any pattern can be pressed into a fine sand mixture to form the mold into which the aluminum is poured. The pattern is slightly larger than the part to be made, to allow for aluminum shrinkage during solidification and cooling. As compared to die and permanent mold casting, sand casting is slow process but usually more economical for small quantities, intricate designs or when a very large casting is required.
Comparison of Aluminum Casting Methods
|Sand casting||Gravity die casting||Low pressure die casting||High pressure die casting|
|Weight of the casting, kg||0.1 … 500||0.01 … 50||1 … 70||0.01 … 30|
|Annual volume||1 … 5000||100 … 50 000||100 … 10 000||5000 … 1 000 000|
|Pattern / tooling cost||Relatively low||Moderate||Moderate||High|
|Cost of changes||Low||Moderate||Moderate||High|
|Flexibility of design||High||High||Relatively high||Relatively high|
|Minimum wall thickness, mm||4 … 6||3 … 4||3 … 4||0.8 … 1.5|
|Dimension accuracy||Fairly good||Good||Good||Very good|
|Possible surface roughness, Ra||> 6.3-12.3||≥ 3.2 (2.5)||≥ 3.2||≥ 1.6 (0.8)|
|Delivery time for samples, weeks||3 … 5||4 … 5||5 … 6||4 … 5|
|Special features||Also with sand cores and heat-treated||Also with sand cores and heat-treated||Also with sand cores and heat-treated||Also heat treated (in special conditions)|
Common Aluminum Casting Alloys
There’re lots of aluminum alloys in market, but not all of them are suitable for casting process. For example, parts made from 6061 aluminum alloys could only be forged or machined to the specification. Common aluminum casting alloys available from CFS Foundry are as follows:
ASTM A356 is the aluminum casting alloy for gravity die casting process. Such aluminium casting alloy is with good liquidity, no hot tearing susceptibility, small shrinkage rate. Gravity die casting of A356 alloy can achieve better size accuracy and surface finish than sand casting process, that will save machining cost.
T6 heat treatment could be done to improve the properties, especially the strength of the parts. Mainly used for marine parts, truck parts, impeller, housings, exhaust manifold, etc.
A360 is harder to cast than A380, which is why many die casters avoid it. However, it does offer higher strength at high temperatures, better ductility, and higher corrosion resistance, so you may want to consider this alloy depending on your casting abilities and needs.
ASTM A360 is the aluminum casting alloy mainly suitable for high pressure or low pressure die casting process. This aluminum alloy is often used to produce automobile oil pans, automobile controller shells, 5G communication boxes, motor shells, LED lamp housing and so on.
ASTM A380 is by far the most widely used alloy for pressure die casting process. This type aluminum casting alloy is with good thermal conductivity, pressure bearing, high temperature resistance and easy to be machined. Unlike A356 alloy, it could not be heat treated after casting. It may be specialized for most product applications. Some of the uses of this alloy include electronic and communications equipment, automotive components, engine brackets, transmission and gear cases, appliances, lawn mower housings, furniture components, hand and power tools.
ADC12, also known as ASTM A383, is a common aluminum alloy used in die casting process. In China, due to its ease of casting and excellent mechanical properties, ADC12 aluminium is more often used as an alternative of A380 aluminium to creat highly intricate parts .
This material is commonly used in a large number of aluminum die castings such as furniture, valves, machinery, power tools, engine brackets, etc.
Advantages of Aluminum Casting
Now that we know aluminum casting methods, the next question you are probably asking is, “What are the advantages?”
Aluminum casting is especially important in the manufacturing industry for commercial and industrial products. Therefore, let’s share with you the advantages of aluminum casting.
First, aluminum castings can allow the attainment of complex designs and forms for die cast parts. This means that manufacturers can easily order customized castings that will be suitable for their production needs.
Second, aluminum castings allow producers to manufacture parts at an extremely higher and faster rate than other alloy materials. Aluminum die casting can also achieve near net shape so the process of machining can be eliminated to produce finished parts.
Third, aluminum castings have the strength of steel but very lightweight. The appearance and aesthetic value of aluminum parts are also superior to other metal alloys. However, aluminum die cast parts are cheaper so end consumers can get high quality metal products at very affordable prices.
Lastly, castings made from aluminum are versatile, corrosion resistant, and can be used for different purposes. These qualities allow manufacturers to produce multiple products using aluminum parts. The finished products also have longer lifetimes thus giving consumers more value for their money.
In addition to the advantages discussed, aluminum casting also offers other advantages over other casting materials. For example, aluminum has a low melting point, which makes it easier and less expensive to cast compared to other metals such as steel. Additionally, aluminum is a readily available material, which makes it easy to source for manufacturers.
Despite its many advantages, aluminum casting does have some limitations. One limitation is the cost of the equipment required for the casting process. The equipment needed for aluminum casting can be expensive, which may make it cost-prohibitive for smaller manufacturers. Additionally, aluminum casting can be a complex process that requires specialized knowledge and expertise.
To overcome these limitations, some companies choose to outsource their aluminum casting needs to specialized casting companies like CFS Foundry. CFS Foundry has the necessary equipment and expertise to produce high-quality aluminum castings efficiently and cost-effectively.
Surface Finish Options of Aluminum Castings
There are several surface finish options available for aluminum castings. Here are a few commonly used methods:
- Anodizing: Anodizing is an electrolytic process that creates an oxide layer on the surface of aluminum castings. This oxide layer can be dyed to achieve a range of colors and provides a durable and corrosion-resistant finish.
- Powder coating: Powder coating involves applying a dry powder to the surface of aluminum castings, which is then cured using heat to form a durable and attractive finish.
- Polishing: Polishing can create a high-gloss finish on the surface of aluminum castings, which is achieved by mechanically grinding and buffing the surface.
- Painting: Painting is a common surface finish option that can be used to achieve a range of colors and finishes. Aluminum castings are typically first primed and then painted with a topcoat to achieve the desired finish.
- Sandblasting: Sandblasting involves using a high-pressure stream of sand or other abrasive material to clean and texture the surface of aluminum castings. This can be used to create a matte finish or to prepare the surface for other finishing options.
- Shot blasting: Shot blasting is a similar process to sandblasting, but it uses small metal pellets instead of sand to create a textured surface. This can be used to create a matte or slightly rough finish on aluminum castings.
These are just a few of the many surface finish options available for aluminum casting, and the best choice will depend on the specific application and desired appearance of the finished product.
Aluminum Casting Applications
Due to its light weight and good corrosion resistance, cast aluminum components are widely used in the aerospace industry, which accounts for approximately 80% of the structure of an aircraft. Aluminum casting is applied in aerospace after Second World War, it show great advantages that is demands by this industry.
To decrease the weight of vehicles, automotive manufacturers are replacing steel material with aluminum material. Besides light weight, aluminum casting can meet the demand of high strength for automotive industry as well. Aluminum foundries are continously optimizing their casting methods possible to simplifly the manufacturing process to offer a reasonable price for each cast aluminum automotive part.
Common aluminum castings for automotive industry include: oil pumps, water pump housings, connectors, transmission parts, and a wide variety of brackets. The use of cast aluminum parts greatly promotes the innovation of automotive industry.
In addition to cast stainless steel, cast aluminum is popular in creating marine hardwares as well. Common cast aluminum marine parts are: cleats, handles, brackets, covers, and so on. Marine hardwares cast from aluminum is always corrosion resistant and last long.
Similar to automotive industry, aluminum casting can also creat some significant components for agriculture machines. Typical cast aluminum parts for agriculture are: crankcase housings, gearbox housings, and motor housings, etc. Of course, considering the cost saving, most agricultural components are produced in cast steel.
The durability and reliability of aluminum casting makes it ideal for lighting use. Cast aluminum light is non-toxic, lightweight, and corrosion resistant. The popular aluminum casting methods for lighting production is gravity die casting and pressure die casting, which is relatively economical and time saving.
Choosing a proper aluminum casting method can meet the stability and characteristics of the design required. The ease of production, weight of the final product, and exceptional resilience all make aluminum casting popular for lighting industry.
Heatsinks are commonly used for electronic products which can effectively remove heat. Considering heatsinks are relatively thin and complex, they are general produce by aluminum die casting process, which can minimize machining, save production cost and improve the production speed. CFS Foundry can cast aluminum heatsinks to each drawing’s specification and design.
Bracket is a common component for industrial use and home use, which is generally made in aluminum casting. Aluminum casting can provide near net shape bracket, and there is no need to do further welding or assembly. Cast in one piece, the cast aluminum bracket is stronger and more durable. And holes can be cast out directly without secondary operation.
Contact CFS Foundry for Your Aluminum Casting Project
If you’re looking for a reliable partner for your aluminum casting project, CFS Foundry is a company that should be at the top of your list. With years of experience in the industry, CFS Foundry has established itself as a leader in aluminum casting and is trusted by businesses across various industries.
Here are some reasons why you should choose CFS Foundry for your next aluminum casting project:
Expertise and Experience
CFS Foundry has been providing high-quality aluminum casting services for over a decade. We have worked with clients in various industries, including aerospace, automotive, construction, and more. Our team of experts is well-versed in the latest casting techniques and technologies, ensuring that we deliver precise and consistent results every time.
CFS Foundry has invested heavily in state-of-the-art facilities to ensure that we can provide the best possible service to our clients. We have a range of advanced equipment, including induction furnaces, gravity casting & die casting machines, and CNC machines, that allow us to produce high-quality aluminum castings quickly and efficiently.
Strict Quality Control
At CFS Foundry, quality is a top priority. We have a rigorous quality control process in place to ensure that every casting we produce meets the highest standards of quality and accuracy. We use advanced testing equipment, such as spectrometers and X-ray machines, to ensure that the castings meet the required specifications.
CFS Foundry understands that every project is unique, and we offer a range of customization options to meet the specific needs of our clients. We can produce aluminum castings in a range of sizes and shapes, and we offer various surface finishes and coatings to meet specific requirements.
CFS Foundry offers competitive pricing for our aluminum casting services. We well know the importance of keeping costs under control, and we work closely with our clients to ensure that we deliver high-quality castings at an affordable price.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a reliable partner for your aluminum casting project, CFS Foundry is an excellent choice. With our expertise, state-of-the-art facilities, strict quality control, customization options, and competitive pricing, you can be confident that we will deliver high-quality castings that meet your requirements. Contact us today to discuss your project requirements and get a quote.