The first die caster was invented in 1838. It was die casting equipment, made to produce movable type for the printing industry. Then, in 1849, the first patent related to die casting was granted; the patent was for a small, handheld machine that allowed for the production of mechanized printing. The next advancement of the die caster came in 1885, when a man named Otto Mergenthaler invented an automated type-casting machine apparatus called a linotype machine. For many years to follow, this formative machine served as the most relied upon machine in publishing. The first die caster machine to be sold in the United States was the Soss die casting machine, patented in 1920. As the years went on, die casters came to be used for more and more.
Today, die casters are metal shaping tools that offer a variety of of metal casting operations for the production of metal products found in a variety of industrial and commercial industries. In general, die casters work by applying heat and pressure to raw metal materials and forming them into functional parts and products. Because the process offers such high levels of controlling, allowing the creation of products that are strong, intricate in design and matched to precise specifications, die casting is one of the most frequently employed metal forming processes in the world. Another reason die casting is so popular is the fact that die casters can quickly create high quality products in large volumes.
In more detail, the die casting process involves the heating of a metal beyond its melting point, pressurizing it and then forcing it into a mold, where it takes the shape of the mold. A mold, also called a die, die mold or mold cavity, is a precast, hollow metal shape that is created from two hardened pieces of steel that have been machined into shape. Once the molten metal has taken on the shape of the mold, it is allowed to cool and harden, either by air cooling or water cooling. Water cooling is the more common of the two cooling methods, as it provides for quick cycling and offers metal castings superior strength and finish and a fine grain structure. The ability for die cast shapes to cool so quickly is one of the reasons that die casting can sustain such high rates of production. The die casting process usually takes place in a casting foundry, which is a facility that specialized in the manufacture and production of metal castings. It is wise to employ die casters that operate at a foundry because technicians who work at foundries have extensive knowledge of the best materials and methods to achieve certain shapes, as well as the skills to make high quality custom shapes and sizes. Die cast metal shapes are available in several types of metal, mostly non-ferrous, including brass, bronze, copper, pewter tin, lead, magnesium, aluminum, zinc, and various alloys.
In general, die casters frequently serve at the helm of a multitude of metal forming proceedings, teamed up with other metal shaping processes as well as, from time to time, other metal casting processes. Of all the metal shaping processes in existence, die casting is one of the most cost-effective, precise and efficient ways to create metal shapes and parts. For that reason, many industries make ample use of die casters. However, one industry that relies perhaps the heaviest on die casting is the automotive industry. The automotive industry depends on die cast shapes to provide integral parts of the vehicle, including engine blocks and aluminum valve covers. Another industry that counts on die cast parts is the commercial industry. Die cast materials serve as important elements of a variety of commercial building components and systems that sustain them, such as cleaning tools, HVAC equipment and door access systems. Die cast parts are also found dispersed throughout the world of consumer products. Plumbing parts, for instance, such as pipe connectors are frequently die cast.
The usefulness of die casters cannot be overstated. They are efficient, economical and offer many options related shape, size and materials. In addition, die casters, being heat resistant and dimensionally stable, are able to retain the strength of an alloy. Furthermore, the die casting process creates very close tolerances of all shapes, from simple to complex. For this reason, little or machining is required on die cast parts. If they are well cared for and properly maintained, die casters can last and remain highly functional for years. For high quality die castings, a customer’s best course of action is to contact an experienced casting foundry, whose staff will work with customers to design and manufacture a unique part or parts made to their exact specifications.
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