The automotive industry is continually pushing new boundaries. Advancements in engineering technology show no signs of slowing down with increasing developments in manufacturing processes. Larger structural die-casting solutions, often called Mega or Giga casting, are one of the advancements in aluminium die casting for car body construction, and with one major manufacturer already leading the way, others are following.
Megacasting was a hot topic of conversation at this year’s EUROGUSS event in Nuremberg, and Dr. Mark Cross, Global Business Development Director – Die Casting at Quaker Houghton was on hand to talk about the opportunities for die casting in the automotive industry.
What did you want to achieve from showcasing Quaker Houghton at Euroguss?
We wanted to introduce our intelligent solutions approach to die casting to the market, which we call Diecast iQ™. A complete single-source solution for die casting lubricants, equipment, and ancillary products, this includes an unmatched range of die and plunger lubricant technologies, from conventional water-based die lubricants to our market-leading electrostatic technology, as well as full turn-key equipment supply and integration.
Where does Quaker Houghton see opportunities for manufacturers in the automotive industry when it comes to die casting?
We see opportunities for the die casting world to implement new and efficient die casting processes, which are more sustainable and have a significantly improved cost of operation. This is what DieCast iQ™ is all about — intelligent, modern die-casting solutions.
How much of an impact are Giga and Mega casting processes having on the automotive industry?
We are starting to see a significant impact from Giga and Mega casting, which is leading to a fundamental change in the way cars are made, and we are seeing significant interest from OEMs and die casters in these new, very large structural castings for body and chassis assemblies. Without a doubt, we expect to see widespread adoption of these Giga and Mega processes as other mainstream automotive manufacturers look to adapt to die casting.
How can the DieCast iQ™ support Giga and Mega casting?
Our electrostatic die lubricant systems are ideally placed to help customers unlock the potential of Giga and Mega die casting processes. We provide a full turnkey solution from spray simulation through to supply and integration of the die lubricant spraying equipment and post-installation process optimization. As our electrostatic lubricants are water-free, die life is dramatically increased and effluent eliminated.
What does the future of the die-casting market look like?
At Quaker Houghton, we see significant changes coming to die casting. This is not just from the development of larger Giga and Mega processes, but also the drive to more sustainable and more advanced lubricant solutions. We expect to see markets start to shift away from widespread low-performance high-cost conventional lubricant solutions and the adoption of more advanced MQL and electrostatic systems.
How does Quaker Houghton work with foundries to ensure sustainability to help reduce their environmental footprint?
We offer customers a consultative approach, to review their current die castings processes and help them identify where they can adopt more sustainable products and procedures. This could be an MQL solution or even an electrostatic system. As a solutions provider, we can, of course, be a single point of contact for a customer to supply and integrate any necessary equipment to upgrade their process and implement a new solution.
So, the future is bright for large structural components?
There is no denying the advantages of Mega and Giga casting — improved production efficiency and lower costs will be music to the ears of the automotive industry. Being able to cast large single-piece structural components will help eliminate certain assembly operations, streamline processes, and improve productivity.
With smart technology continually evolving, engineers and manufacturers must work hard to keep pace with the competition. Cost-efficient methods of production need to be developed to meet industry requirements, without compromising the overall performance and quality of the automotive parts. Quaker Houghton’s complete turnkey solution ensures a seamless approach to die casting, backed by a global team of industry experts and die casting professionals.
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