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March 17, 2015

Sand Casting or Die Casting: Which One Is Right For Me?

Sand Casting is the process of forming steel products with a mold made of sand, or silica based products than can packed into a tight mold to create a smooth surface.  Molten metal is poured into mold which sets up fairly quickly.  Engine Blocks, Manifolds, and literally hundreds of metal products are still manufactured this way to.

Benefits of Sand Casting:

  • Relatively inexpensive production cost.  Good option for higher mix – lower volume manufacturing.
  • Ability to manufacture large products and components
  • Allows forging of ferrous or non-ferrous metals (steel, iron, carbon, stainless, wrought vs. aluminum, copper, nickel tin, zinc, or lead).  Quick tip, ferrous metal contains iron and can usually rust.

Concerns about Sand Casting:

  • Typically produces a lower degree of accuracy vs. other types of casting if critical tolerances are required.
  • Will produce products with a more rough surface finish.

    Metal_Casting

Die Casting is the process of manufacturing typically non-ferrous (Aluminum, Zinc, Tin, Copper, etc.) under extremely high pressure.  A mold is coated with a releasing agent prior to molten metal being rapidly injected under high pressure until the cycle time is complete.  Some products that are typically high pressure die cast include elevator treads, warehouse automation robot chassis, and automobile wheels.

Benefits of Die Casting:

  • Ability to produce consistent design and dimensional consistency.
  • Ability to control very tight tolerances over multiple production shots or cycles.
  • Typically Reduces the volume of machining required after casting.  However runner and flash will need to be removed.

Concerns of Die Casting:

  • A much higher investment in tooling costs
  • Better option for high volume production

So now you face the question: Which manufacturing process is right for me, Sand Casting or High Pressure Die Casting?  Not sure? That’s ok.  That’s why you speak with manufacturing engineers who ask you dozens of questions to help you make the best decision for your product and your business.  Ultimately manufacturing shouldn’t be about the process.  It should be about you!

Are you looking for the right contract manufacturer? Check out this post to help you in your search.

FREE Guide: 7 Essential Questions to Ask When Choosing a  Strategic Manufacturing Partner

Filed Under: Manufacturing, Offshore Expertise