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Sand Casting V/S Die Casting

Mar 31, 2019

Die Casting and Sand Casting

Die Casting and Sand Casting are competing forms of manufacturing to create metal parts. They share many similarities but each has unique features that need to be weighed when choosing which process to use. These two methods are so interchangeable that customers are often Sand Casting when Die Casting is a better fit and vice versa. Let’s get into a quick description of each operation and then present some of the pros and cons to help you make the right choice.

Sand Casting: As the name implies, Sand Casting used molds made out of sand (sometimes silica) in which molten metal is gravity poured to create a part. The metal sets quickly inside the mold which is then broken off to reveal the solidified part.

Die Casting: The Die/Mold in this case is made of two solid blocks of H-13 Tool Steel that meet in the middle with the cavity (shape of the part). The metal is injected into the mold under extreme pressure and once it has cooled for a few moments the die opens up and the solidified part is extracted manually or by robotic arm.

Pros of Sand Casting:

Productions costs are relatively low for the casting process

Tooling costs are much lower compared to Die Casting

Good for short runs / prototyping

Ability to manufacture large products and components

Greater choice of material use - ferrous or non-ferrous metals (steel, iron, carbon, stainless, wrought , aluminum, copper, nickel tin, zinc, or lead)

Aluminum alloys can be heat treated (T6)

Better suited for applications requiring high strength

Cons of Sand Casting:

Lower degree of accuracy when compared to other forms of casting – not suitable when tight critical tolerances required.

Surface finish is rough

High Labour cost on large runs

Significant deburring is likely to meet the customers needs

Secondary machining is probably required

Pros of Die Casting:

Produces consistency of design and dimensions

Can produce thinner walls

Ability to control very tight tolerances in a repeatable process.

Often reduces the post processing / secondary operations needed

Smooth surface finish

Can simplify assembly by consolidating multiple parts

Part prices for high volumes or unmatched by other casting processes

Significantly faster production process

Cons of Die Casting:

Initial investment is higher / Tooling

Size restrictions

Material restrictions

Even armed with this knowledge it can be hard to navigate through what the best process is. Although volumes are often the deciding factor you may need to consider materials, shape, size, secondary operations and so on. At Simalex we’re happy to have a look at your drawing and ask you a few questions to help you decide what the best process is for you. If we believe that Sand Casting is the way to go we’d be more than happy to give you a great referral. If Die Casting is a better fit then we can certainly provide you a quote and assist you in your design for manufacturing.

You can reach us at sales@simalex.com or call us at 1-800-268-3070 to discuss further.

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