In cold chamber die casting of light metals, because of the turbulence of the alloy as it is forced at a high pressure into the die cavity, and the complex shape of many casting molds, air and other gases are often trapped in the metal. This, of course, results in porosity in some parts of the casting.
If the casting is to be chromed, painted, or powder coated, or if any part of the casting is very thin, any air or gas inclusions usually result in rejection. Porosity also affects the mechanical properties of the product. In structural applications, porosity can act as a stress concentrator and therefore create a site where cracks may occur.
An additional problem is the fact that porosity in a casting may not always be immediately apparent. If discovered after subsequent processing, customer dissatisfaction can be extreme.
Porosity in the casting can be almost completely eliminated by an efficient vacuum system.
Before the injection shot occurs, a vacuum is drawn in both the shot sleeve and the mold cavity. The vacuum is maintained until the injection cycle is completed. Almost all of the air is positively evacuated from the mold.
A good vacuum in the mold cavity enables the alloy to flow into blind recesses in complex shapes. It also allows the fronts of the molten metal to merge freely without forming shuts.
Whatever vacuum method is employed, if it works well, improved quality and reduced scrap can be guaranteed.
The principal benefit of vacuum is to eliminate porosity.
Product that is rejected is unusually costly to the die caster. For example, the value of the machine time that is lost while producing the rejected product can never be recovered.
Adding a vacuum system to the operating process benefits a die caster in several ways. First, it reduces his rate of rejection. Second, by lessening the force required on the plunger, it increases the life of almost all components of the DCM. But most importantly today, by allowing the die caster to produce thinner, stronger, and more complex castings, it makes it possible for him participate in a fast growing market sector to which he would otherwise be denied.