High-Pressure Die Casting:

Achieving Quality, Sustainability and Profitability in the Automotive Parts Market by Gianluca Monfredini 

Automotive Ambitions    

Quality is and always has been a dominant benchmark in the automotive industry, driving consumer decision-making and brand loyalty.  And, while this is a steadfast metric, other factors such as emission reductions, cost-competitiveness and fuel efficiency also play large – if not equal – roles in vehicle selection.  Building automotive components that help OEMs satisfy all of these objectives can be challenging. 

As manufacturers strive to reduce CO2 emissions, the transition to fuel-efficient, lighter-weight constructions and the drive to accelerate electric vehicle (EV) production have tier suppliers complying with the integration of lighter alloys such as aluminum and magnesium.  Whether it’s a wheel, an engine block, complex transmission parts, a bracket or a cover, every component on the vehicle collectively contributes to cost and environmental standards.  Plus, quality and reliability expectations are as demanding as ever.     

Die Casting:  Poised for Growth and Seeking New Efficiencies 

For high pressure die casting -- the method by which the large majority of auto components are made -- volume output of superior quality vehicle components is essential to achieving cost-efficiency and sustainability objectives.  These are complementary goals, as scrap reduction through robust and versatile process solutions contributes to lower defects, reduced waste, and more known good parts – all of which save time and cost.  Manufacturers that can meet these targets are better-positioned to capitalize on the projected growth in the die casting market, which some analysts estimate will be a respectable 7% - 10% over the next five years. 

Variety and complexity define the pressure die casting operation.  Different alloys, types of castings, weights, dimensions and geometries have to be managed as efficiently as possible to deliver the volume, quality and yield needed to ensure competitiveness.   To create a superior, defect-free end product, the complete filling, casting and release of the part from the mold are fundamental, underscoring the importance of high-performance release agents to a successful high-speed, reliable process.  With several alloys in use, however, it is often necessary to source multiple release agent formulations to ensure alloy compatibility.  In addition, some lubricating chemistries are not as effective as others in providing thorough die coverage (wetting), fast film formation and porosity reduction.  By bridging these gaps with a single die lubricant formulation that is applicable across dies and aluminum alloys, streamlined manufacturing, cost reductions and supply chain simplicity result. 

One Formula, Many Castings

The sustainability, resource efficiency and quality requirements of high pressure die casting operations are what have led Henkel chemistry experts to develop the latest innovation for the automotive manufacturing sector.  Uniting the best attributes of previous-generation products, Henkel’s new BONDERITE L-CA 51100 polysiloxane-based release agent delivers best-in-class properties compatible with a wide variety of aluminum alloys to allow a single solution for multiple parts.  This comprehensive approach helps streamline operations while delivering exceptional outcomes through its unique benefits:

  • Supports ultra-fast cycle times with superior wettability on  wide range of die temperatures (up to 300° C) 
  • Encourages metal flow and die filling through complete coverage even for thin-walled parts; in testing BONDERITE L-CA 51100 demonstrated more than 15% wettability and faster film formation than competitive products
  • Simplified supply chain and inventory management, deployment for a range of production requirements, alloys and end products
  • Supports long-term die integrity with excellent wear resistance and protection against thermal fatigue
  • High biostability 
  • Long shelf-life of up to two years with no degradation in quality
  • Equipment-friendly formulation will not clog nozzles, contributing to greater productivity and reduced maintenance
  • Downstream compatibility with no impact on subsequent processes including plating and painting

For high-pressure die casting manufacturers, where repeatability, quality, reliability, sustainability and flexibility are the measures of a robust and competitive operation, Henkel is supporting growth ambitions with solutions like BONDERITE L-CA 51100. Together, our team of consultative technology experts and customer partners and driving automotive progress.  

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