Die Casting Vs Injection Molding
In the rush of daily life, people have hundreds of interactions with components formed by die-casting and injection molding methods. Understanding these two related processes can help entrepreneurs ensure success for their manufacturing projects.
How Die Casting and Injection Molding Work
Die casting and injection molding are two processes that share a single principle. A machine clamps a two-section metal mold together. This machine then transfers a precisely metered amount of molten material into the mold. After the material cools, the machine separates the mold sections and removes a finished part.
The difference between the processes lies in the type of molten substance. With die casting, a metal — usually an aluminum alloy — is flowing into the mold. By contrast, the injection molding process takes advantage of the diverse array of plastics. Some benefits of each process are apparent, while other advantages may surprise you.
Benefits of Die Casting
Dimensional stability is a prime advantage of parts from the die casting process. The melting point of aluminum alloys is roughly 500 degrees Fahrenheit above a typical plastic. When a part must maintain its shape under heat stress, die-cast components are a clear choice. Close on the heels of dimensional stability is tensile strength, the ability to resist breakage under load. Depending on the aluminum alloy, die-cast components provide tensile strength up to four times higher than ABS plastic.
Other benefits of die-cast components include:
- Detail Retention: Where an application requires small and durable components, die cast metal parts hold an edge.
- Appearance:When visible to the consumer, die cast aluminum components give a product the look and feel of precision manufacturing.
- Durability:If surface abrasion is an issue, metal outlasts plastic.
- Production Speed:In select applications, the die cast process can maintain a higher production tempo for comparable parts.
Benefits of Injection Molding
Turnaround time, the period from component conception to real-world production, is a compelling benefit with injection molding. With a preliminary design completed, a prudent manufacturer will test a part with a short production run. In this stage, the injection molding process permits the use of relatively inexpensive aluminum prototype molds. In turn, these molds enable a high-tempo prototyping cycle, resulting in a well-tested part that begins production weeks before a comparable die cast component commences manufacturing.
Though not well known by the general public, injection molding’s overmolding process offers unique advantages. With this process, a plastic surface layer covers a lower layer. This process enables the production of lightweight, low-cost parts with exceptional rigidity. That combination makes overmolded parts an attractive alternative to metal components for many applications.
While stiffness can be a virtue in many situations, thousands of applications demand components with the ability to flex. Think of recycling totes, automobile bumpers or tight-sealing containers for the kitchen. With the diverse array of plastics, injection molders can fine-tune malleability to a high degree. In addition to flexibility, injection molders can also tailor surface textures to every customer’s exact specifications.
Other benefits of the injection molding process include:
- Color:The near limitless color options for plastic parts eliminate the need for painting.
- Corrosion Resistance:Unlike aluminum, plastic does not corrode with saltwater exposure.
- One-Step Assembly:Injection molding’s unique insert molding process can mold a plastic body around metal or ceramic inserts. The result is multipart assembly with superb fit and no need for further manufacturing steps.
- Lower Waste:Recycling catches nearly every drop of plastic in the manufacturing process.
Die casting and injection molding each offer unique advantages for manufacturing endeavors. Among injection molders, Special Tool & Engineering brings in-house, start-to-finish expertise to the design, prototyping, mold-making and production