Lightweight vehicle designs need high volumes of complex cast parts, prompting a wave of projects for large pressure die casting machines.
Excerpt from the Foundry Management & Technology November 2015 article by Robert Brooks.
Walker Die Casting, a Lewisburg, TN, producer of aluminum components for automotive and truck manufacturing, has ordered a 4,500-ton cold-chamber die casting machine from HPM North America to be delivered in 2017. According to the contractor, it is the largest cold-chamber machine it has produced to-date in North America. But, that distinction may not last for long.
There is an outbreak of demand in North America for new die casting capacity on that scale, machines sized to produce a range of highly engineered parts in aluminum alloys. Its demand was prompted by motor vehicle manufacturers working on new production programs keyed to lighter vehicles, with lighter component parts for powertrains, drivetrains, and structural systems.
But lighter car and truck designs are not the only factor in the wave of new die casting capacity: Mercury Casting, a business unit of Mercury Marine, ordered a new large-scale die casting machine as part of a plan to expand the group's stern-drive engine platform.
The 4,500-ton Series II cold-chamber machine for Walker Die Casting machine will be built by by HPM North America, Marion, OH, and its corporate parent, China's Yizumi Group. In operation, it will produce 125- to 135-lb. castings.
Series II machines have a C-frame support for the shot-end; a five-point toggle clamp, with a high-strength, cast-steel linkage, hardened pins and bushings; and a crosshead that is fully supported by guide bars from the back plate to the movable plates. The shot is delivered with closed-loop shot-speed control, monitored by Allen Bradley CompactLogix plc and IO production process controls.
The developers claim the Series II provides the die casting industry's lowest total cost of ownership.
The machine ordered by Walker Die Casting will be engineered to HPM North America specifications by an HPM/ Yizumi engineering team led by HPM North America president William Flickinger. He said Walker's procurement decision was based on the reliability of several HPM die casting machines operating now at the Tennessee plant and on the performance of new HPM North America die casting equipment at other major auto parts producers.
Also influential in the decision was the HPM/Yizumi plan to build the machine with SAE hydraulic fittings, inch fasteners, and inch tubing. North American suppliers will provide the machine's major hydraulic, electrical, and control components, and HPM will complete the final assembly and test runs of the 4,500-ton die casting machine at the Yizumi facility prior to delivery.
Expanding In-House Capacity — BuhlerPrince Inc., Holland, MI, is building Mercury Casting's new die casting machine for delivery in June 2016. The model 4575CCA machine will have 75 inches of free space between the tie bars, space that Mercury Castings unit will use to help expand the dimensions of its in-house casting capability. BuhlerPrince described it as "the largest high-pressure die casting machine built in North America."
BuhlerPrince is building a new high-pressure die casting machine with 75 inches of free space between the tie bars, space that will expand the dimensions of Mercury Casting's in-house casting capability.
"We are excited to bring this new machine into our portfolio," stated Samir Mesanovic, director of Mercury Castings. "It will be a welcome addition to our production and increase our capabilities to produce the largest and most complex parts for both Mercury Marine and other customers."
Mercury Marine is widely known for manufacturing outboard motors up to 60-hp, but it also builds MerCruiser stern-drive motors (inboard/outboard drive) and inboard motors over 75 hp. It manufactures outboard motors up to 350 hp (and up to 400 hp for racing engines).