Benefits

 
Improved Design Process
The user-friendly Die Therm design software is a tool for easy thermal design by calculating the appropriate cooling lines’ sizes, lengths, and depths.  This provides a very good starting point for thermal simulations, thereby greatly reducing the number of simulations required.  Also, good thermal die design increases the potential for an effective die casting process.


No Thermocouples

The Die Therm Control System uses cooling lines to measure heat and to calculate die surface temperature and thus uses no thermocouples.

 

Rapid Die Start-up
The Die Therm Control system increases coolant flow during startup.  This allows the die to heat up to operating temperature very quickly, thus minimizing startup scrap.  (See the current industry status quo here, compared to the Die Therm solution here.)
 


Monitor & Control Heat During Production

The Die Therm Control System monitors and controls heat during production, by cooling channel, in a very precise manner.  The monitoring software provides real-time data about die surface temperature, coolant flow rate, and heat removal by channel.  Based on this information, the control system continuously adjusts to achieve desired heat removal to maintain optimal thermal conditions in the die.  The Die Therm Control System is the only means by which to obtain data on how much heat is being removed during production. 

 

The main benefit of this approach is control over the thermal aspect of the process, which is currently largely not controlled.  Because most existing process variation is thermal in nature, eliminating this variation provides a high degree of consistency to the die casting process.

 

Another benefit of this approach is real-time data, which provides insight into what is actually happening during the process.  Design plans and simulations predict what is expected to happen, but thermal data provides the currently missing data elements to provide a complete data profile during production.  This data can be analyzed for continuous process improvement. 

 

Reduced Cycle Time

Use of the Die Therm Control System decreases cycle time.  First, this solution, based on heat removal, calculates the total amount of heat energy to be removed, so parts can be extracted at a much higher ejection temperature.  Second, the real-time data output identifies thermal bottlenecks, that is, those areas of the castings that require disproportionately more cooling time, which slows overall cycle time.  Once identified, process improvements can be made, using the Die Therm Control System, to reduce these thermal bottlenecks to optimize cycle times.

 

In addition to the productivity advantages of faster cycle times, there are also desirable control advantages.  By increasing cycle time, the proportion of heat removed internally increases, with a corresponding decrease in heat lost to convection.  In contrast to internal cooling, which can be controlled, convective losses (e.g., seasonal temperature variation, ambient temperature variation from day shift to night shift, etc.) are not only variable, but are also largely uncontrollable.  So, faster cycle times also result in better process control and consistency.

 

One additional area where cycle time is minimized is spray time.  Current processes use spray for thermal control.  By thermally controlling the process internally, spray can be minimized by using it exclusively as a die release agent, rather than for thermal control. 

 

In practice, utilizing the Die Therm Control System, customers to date have achieved 20‑30% reductions in cycle time.

 

Dimensional Accuracy

The Die Therm Control System provides a high level of thermal control.  Consistent thermal conditions in the die result in producing parts of consistent quality shot after shot.  That is, each part produced is the same as the others to within much tighter tolerances than current processes allow.

 

Eliminate Machining

Because of dimensional accuracy and consistency, machining stock can be reduced or even eliminated.  This results in increased operational efficiency by reducing or eliminating secondary machining operations.

 

More importantly, by minimizing machining stock, required machining operations remove only a minimum of as-cast material.  Machining stock consists largely of the skin portion of the casting.  Minimizing machining stock means that more skin remains, which is the highest integrity portion of castings.  Thus, porosity and leak paths are minimized.  Of course, the material savings are beneficial as well. 

 

Customers to date have reduced machining stock by 50-75%.

 

Eliminate Scrap

Scrap is minimized in all components of the die casting process.  Rapid die startup minimizes startup scrap.  Scrap related to machining stock is minimized.  Consistent die surface temperature means that the process is consistent shot to shot and over time.  This results in reduced process scrap.  Further, process scrap is reduced by moving porosity to non-critical sections of the casting, eliminating exposed porosity and leak paths.  Further still, by minimizing machining stock, more skin remains after machining, further reducing the risk of exposed porosity and leak paths.

 

Collectively, these improvements in process control have resulted in customers reducing scrap, even to less than 1%.

 

Reduced Die Wear

Most die wear is due to thermal fatigue.  The Die Therm Control System reduces this thermal fatigue due to a number of factors.  Because cooling is controlled internally, die spray can be minimized so as to be required only as a die release agent.  Spraying significant amounts of ambient-temperature die spray on a hot die is a significant source of thermal cycling, fatigue, and wear on a die.

 

Also, thermally controlling the die casting process with the Die Therm Control System virtually eliminates hot spots, and thus soldering, in the die. 

 

Collectively, the impact in die life is significant.  Because the fatigue curve of steel is non-linear, incremental reductions in die wear can significantly increase die life.

 

Reduced Down Time

Use of the Die Therm Control System has resulted in fewer down-time events.  This is due to the thermal consistency achieved.  Specifically, if die and machine temperatures are controlled and flashing is consistent, lock-up problems, core blow problems, slideways failures, gibs failures, etc., are all reduced. 

 

Customers to date have averaged approximately 25-50% fewer down time events.