Gravity Die Casting

At CFS Foundry, our gravity die casting technique can make quality cast parts for a range of industries, including Marine, Cars & Trucks, Gas Turbines, Compressors, Pumps, Valves, Medical Equipment, etc.

What is Gravity Die Casting?

What is Gravity Die Casting

Gravity die casting, also called permanent mould casting, is a typical die casting technique to create high quality metal components that have low melting points, such as aluminum and zinc alloys. In gravity die casting process, the molten metal is poured from a ladle into the mould, then fills the mould cavity under the force of gravity and fastly solidifies to achieve metal parts. This process gives a better surface finish than sand casting as well as better mechanical properties, both due to rapid solidification.

Unlike other casting methods, gravity die casting is a simple pouring of molten metal into the mould without any additional pressure applied. And, gravity die casting can use both metal and sand cores, referred to as semi-permanent mould casting, for greater complexity of design. It is the perfect choice for applications that require a solution that’s somewhere in between sand casting and high-pressure die casting. Gravity die casting requires lower mould cost than high pressure die casting, but is more durable than sand casting by using a steel mould. The mould is a permanent form that consists of two halves.

Gravity Die Casting Process

Gravity die casting is often a manual process, with the molten metal added using a ladle. However, for some high volume applications, an automated ladle can also be used to pour the molten metal. Tilting the die can also control the speed and the direction of the filling.

Apart from the method by which the molten metal is poured into the die cavity, and the gravity die material, the casting process is essentially the same as sand casting. It involves four steps:

  • The die is heated and then sprayed with a refractory coating, and closed. The coating helps control the temperature of the die during manufacture and it also assists in the removal of the casting.
  • Molten metal is then manually poured into the die, (although in some cases a machine can be used) and allowed to solidify.
    The die is then opened and the cast parts are either removed by hand or in some cases ejector pins are used on the mechanized machines.
  • Finally, the scrap, which includes the gate, runners, sprues, and flash, is removed from the casting(s). The castings are then processed to remove sharp edges and excess material, then blast cleaned (if required) prior to despatch to the customer.
  • Gravity die casting is a natural partner to sand casting, and allows us to offer the customer the most cost effective route for casting manufacture.

Gravity Die Casting Materials

Gravity Die Casting Materials

Gravity die casting is a specific casting process for light metals or non-ferrous metals casting, such as aluminum alloys, zinc alloys, copper alloys, and magnesium alloys. Based on the differences of chemical elements, each material has its unique features and the properties are also different. So, the selection of gravity die casting alloys should based on the application of the parts, which will affect the serving life and performance.

Aluminum Alloys

Aluminum alloys are the most commonly used gravity die cast metals for their exceptional properties, including lightweight, good corrosion resistance, and excellent machinability. Typical gravity die cast aluminum alloys are:

A380 This aluminum alloy is known for its high strength and good corrosion resistance. It is often used in automotive components and aerospace applications.
A356 A356 Aluminum alloy is favored for its excellent castability and heat-treatability. It is used to manufacture intricate parts.
ADC12 ADC12 is a versatile aluminum alloy that provides excellent castability and mechanical properties. It is widely used in consumer electronics and household appliances.

Zinc Alloys (Ideal for Intricate Designs)

Zinc alloys are another popular metal in gravity die casting, especially for parts with intricate designs. Zinc alloys offer exceptional dimensional stability and excellent castability. Some commonly used zinc alloys include:

Zamak 3 Zamak 3 is known for its excellent fluidity during casting, making it suitable for complex shapes and thin-walled components.
Zamak 5 Zamak 5 offers improved strength and hardness compared to Zamak 3, making it ideal for applications where durability is crucial.
ZA-27 ZA-27 is a high-strength zinc alloy that is often used in applications requiring superior mechanical properties.

Copper Alloys (For High Conductivity)

Copper alloys show great electrical and thermal conductivity, so they are suitable for creating copper castings by gravity die casting process, especially for electrical and electronic components. Some widely used copper alloys in gravity die casting include:

C83600 This copper alloy exhibits excellent machinability and corrosion resistance. It is frequently used in plumbing fittings and valves.
C95400 C95400 offers a combination of high strength and corrosion resistance, making it suitable for marine and industrial applications.
C18000 This alloy is known for its exceptional electrical conductivity, making it a top choice for electrical connectors.

Magnesium Alloys (Lightweight and Durable)

Magnesium alloys are good for their lightweight nature, making them an excellent choice for applications where weight reduction is critical. Some commonly used magnesium alloys in gravity die casting include:

AZ91D AZ91D is a popular magnesium alloy known for its high strength-to-weight ratio. It is used in automotive and aerospace components.
AM60B AM60B magnesium alloy offers good corrosion resistance and weldability, making it suitable for various automotive parts.
AE44 AE44 is an alloy with improved creep resistance, making it ideal for high-temperature applications.

Advantages of Gravity Die Casting
Gravity Die Casting Advantages

Gravity die casting’s primary advantage lies in producing castings with complex geometries while still offering exceptional mechanical properties like strength. That makes gravity die casting particularly suitable for producing aluminum castings which cannot be met through the pressure die casting process alone.

One of the advantages of the gravity die casting process is that it can produce high quality castings with complex shapes, while still maintaining excellent mechanical properties like strength. That makes it very suitable for creating aluminum castings that can not be satisifed by the pressure die casting process.

Gravity Die Casting Advantages Include:

  • Suitable for parts in both low and high volumes.
  • Suitable for larger, thicker parts that can not be produced by the pressure die casting process.
  • Less investment in mould compared with pressure die casting process.
  • Produces components with far smoother surfaces than that of the sand casting method.
  • Produces parts with excellent mechanical properties, and T6 heat treatment can also be applied to improve the properties.
  • Almost no dimension limitations and complex shapes can be realized. For products with hollow areas, sand cores can be placed into the mould.

Is Gravity Die Casting Cost-effective?

Whether you want to produce medium or high quantities, gravity die casting is the most cost-effective option. However, if you are producing a low volume of parts, it will cost you more due to the increased initial cost of the die itself.

Solid steel is used to machine a die because of the irregular and custom requirements of each part’s design, making it expensive. The die has a strict tolerance during production. Other elements to consider include alloy cost, machine shop setup, production time, and lubricant. If you produce large volumes, the overall cost will be reduced because it will spread over many units. The die can hold its shape and dissipate heat quickly, making it reliable for repeated use.

For manufacturers looking to produce high-volume parts, gravity die casting would be the best option. With gravity die casting, you’ll get reliable, repeatable parts of consistent quality and a wide selection of different metal alloys. Manufacturers prefer to use aluminum gravity die casting because it offers high strength, thin walls, conductivity, low weight, corrosion resistance, and good mechanical properties. In addition, this alloy is relatively affordable compared to others.

How Gravity Die Casting Compared to Other Processes?

There are two other  available processes to make aluminum castings besides gravity die casting: pressure die casting and sand casting. So, what is the difference between gravity die casting and these two casting processes?

Gravity Die Casting vs. High Pressure Die Casting

Gravity Die Casting vs High Pressure Die CastingIn the high pressure die casting process, steel mold is first created to form a cavity that has the same shape as the required part, then liquid metal is forced into a die under high pressure. Then, the injected metal solidifies quickly in the mold, after solidification, the solid metal part is removed from the mold. When the metal cools, the excess material is removed and a net shape product is done! This process is repeated to produce the parts with the ordered quantity.

Compared to high pressure die casting, there are several differences between these two casting methods:

  • As gravity die casting uses gravity to pour metals, while high pressure die casting replies on high pressure, so the strength of gravity die casting is slightly lower than that of high pressure die casting.
  • The mold material of high pressure die casting is tool steel, so the mold cost of high pressure die casting is much higher than that of gravity die casting. So, if the volume is small, gravity die casting is preferred.
  • For parts with small wall thickness, high pressure die casting is better, as it is easy to cause casting defects if using gravity die casting.
  • For aluminum alloys, gravity die casting usually uses A356 as the cast alloy, while A380 is more widely used in high pressure die casting process.

Gravity Die Casting vs. Sand Casting

Gravity Die Casting vs Sand Casting

In the sand casting process, molten metal is poured directly from a ladle into a mold. The mold is created when a pattern made out of wood — typically called a matchplate — is placed inside an enclosure. Sand is then filled in around the matchplate and inside the enclosure. Once the sand is added and packed densely, the matchplate is removed, and the remaining cavity is filled with molten metal. Following the pour, the metal solidifies, the mold is opened and the sand is shaken off the hot casting, which leads to a product being manufactured. At this point, the gating material can be removed and the casting is complete.

So, the same point between gravity die casting and sand casting is that the metals are both poured under gravity, not additional pressure. The main differences are:

  • The mold material of gravity die casting is metal, while sand casting uses wood as the mold material.
  • If the aluminum parts are quite large, sand casting is more suitable.
  • The surface finish and dimensional accuracy of gravity die casting is better than the sand casting process.
  • The cost of gravity die casting is slightly higher.

Tips on Selecting Gravity Die Casting Process

It is very important to select a suitable casting process for your design. Before making a decision, several factors should be taken into consideration, such as process limitation, production efficiency, investment, dimensional accuracy, surface finish, lead time, etc. Normally, purchasing companies prefer to buy castings from China foundries like CFS Foundry, due to its mature production process and low production cost.

Sometimes, a designed aluminum casting part is suited to both gravity die casting and pressure die casting processes. Gravity die casting is suggested when the order quantity is small because it has a lower mold cost. Remember, not all the metals can be cast by this process, only metals that have low melting points are suitable. But for thinner parts, pressure die casting process is considered as it is easy to occur defects if choosing gravity die casting process.

CFS Foundry: Gravity Die Casting Manufacturer in China

Gravity Die CastingPurchasing companies prefer CFS Foundry for high integrity gravity die casting, tooling and machining. CFS Foundry is a China-based gravity die casting company that has played a major role in the casting industry for more than 30 years. Our value-added services include CNC machining, metal finishing, and assembly. However, our main objective is to achieve high strength, and structurally superior gravity die castings.

Our partners and customers can count on us to grow their business. We have an experienced team of experts offering reliable services to our customers to meet their quality and service goals. As a family business, we do our best to keep the virtues of communication, quality, and hard work as our priority. We are associated with the China Die Casting Association and are ISO 9001 certified.

If you want quality, reliability, and 24/7 customer service, let CFS Foundry help you. We will go above and beyond your expectations to provide the best possible results for our partners and customers. Contact us right now for more queries regarding our gravity die casting services!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *