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What is Die Casting?- Process, Pros, Cons, Application, and Types

Introduction to Die Casting

Die casting is a manufacturing process in which a molten metal alloy is forced into a mold cavity at high pressure. This process allows the creation of complex shapes with a high degree of accuracy and repeatability. Die casting is commonly used for producing parts in large quantities for a wide range of industries, including automotive, aerospace, electronics, and more.

Die Casting Process Steps

Die casting typically involves the following steps:

Step 1: Mold Preparation

Prepare the mold and the mold is sprayed with a lubricant to aid in the ejection of the casting.

Step 2: Filling

The mold is closed, and molten metal is injected into the mold cavity under high pressure.

Step 3: Injection

The molten metal is allowed to solidify, and the mold is opened to eject the casting.

Step 4: Shakeout

The sand shakeout process requires the separation of residues, including mold openings, runners, gates, and flash. This process is usually done by extruding the casting through a special trimming die. Any excess material is trimmed off, and the casting is cleaned and finished as needed.

Through this video, you can more intuitively understand the steps of die casting process.

Die Casting Materials

A wide range of metals can be used for die casting, including aluminum, magnesium, zinc, and copper. The choice of material depends on factors such as the application, cost, and desired properties of the finished product.

Aluminum die-casting is a metal casting process. It is a method of filling the aluminum die-casting die with semi-liquid or liquid metal at a high speed under high pressure, and forming and solidifying to form a casting. Widely used in instrument panels, the automobile industry, agricultural machinery, electronic computers, industrial production of CNC lathes, daily hardware, and other manufacturing industries.

The metal materials used for aluminum die casting mainly include aluminum, zinc, copper, magnesium, tin, and lead and their aluminum alloys. Pressed pig iron is very rare, but it is also possible.

According to years of experience in Ruizhi Sourcing, the characteristics of aluminum die-casting of various metal materials are as follows:

1. Aluminum

Good mechanical properties, anti-corrosion, lightweight, high dimension reliability when thick-walled castings, high heat transfer and conductivity, high strength at high temperatures, and complicated production.

2. Zinc

It is the easiest metal material for die-casting, especially in the manufacture of small and medium-sized components. It is very economical, easy to coat the surface, has high plastic deformation and tensile strength, and has a long-lasting life.

3. Copper

It has the best physical properties among common aluminum die-casting metal materials, wears resistance, corrosion resistance, high strength, and compressive strength is close to steel.

4. Magnesium

It is one of the lighter types of common die-casting metal materials, which is easy to machine and has a relatively high strength and weight.

5. Tin and lead

It can be used as a unique anti-corrosion component with extremely high precision and high density, but its aluminum alloy cannot be used in food and storage equipment because of public health safety considerations.

Applications of Die Casting

Die casting is commonly used for producing a variety of parts and components, including:

  • Engine parts
  • Transmission components
  • Electrical connectors
  • Housing and enclosures for electronics
  • Furniture hardware
  • Lighting fixtures

The downstream industry of die casting is a widely used market, including automobiles, home appliances, 3C products, power tools, industrial accessories, and so on.

Among them, the automobile industry is the most important application field of the non-ferrous metal die-casting industry. According to the data of China Industrial Information Network, the downstream industries of die casting in China mainly include automobiles and household appliances in 2021, of which automobiles account for 70% of the market.

Pros of Die Casting

Die casting offers a number of advantages over other manufacturing processes(Injection Molding/Metal Stamping). One of the biggest advantages is that it allows the production of complex parts with high levels of accuracy and consistency.

Other advantages of die casting include:

1. Cost-effective

Die casting is an extremely cost-effective manufacturing process. The high-speed production of large quantities of identical parts ensures economies of scale that lead to reduced unit costs. The process also allows for the use of less material than other manufacturing methods, reducing material costs.

2. Strength and Durability

Die-cast parts are known for their strength and durability. The process creates parts with a high degree of dimensional accuracy, which ensures a perfect fit and tight tolerances. This makes die casting ideal for producing parts that require a high level of strength and durability, such as those used in the automotive and aerospace industries.

3. High Efficiency

Die casting is a highly efficient process that produces high-quality parts in a short amount of time. The process can produce parts with extremely thin walls and complex geometries, allowing for the creation of parts with intricate details and shapes.

4. Versatile

Die casting can be used to produce a wide range of parts, from simple shapes to complex designs. The process can be used with a variety of materials, including aluminum, magnesium, zinc, and copper alloys, allowing for the production of parts with a wide range of properties.

Cons of Die Casting

While die casting offers many advantages, it is not without its disadvantages. Some of the main disadvantages of die casting include:

1. High Initial Tooling Costs

One of the main disadvantages of die casting is the high initial tooling costs. The creation of the die mold is expensive and time-consuming, and the cost must be factored into the overall cost of the parts. However, the high-speed production and low unit costs of die casting can help offset these initial costs over time.

2. Limited Material Selection

Another disadvantage of die casting is the limited range of materials that can be used. While die casting can be used with a variety of materials, the process is best suited to aluminum, magnesium, zinc, and copper alloys. Other materials, such as steel, are difficult to cast and may require a different manufacturing process.

3. Surface Porosity

Die-cast parts may have surface porosity, which can affect the part’s appearance and mechanical properties. The porosity is caused by gas pockets that form during the casting process. While the porosity can be minimized through proper design and processing, it cannot be completely eliminated.

Types of Die Casting Processes

In industrial applications, two die casting processes are Hot Chamber DIe Casting and Cold Chamber Die Casting. Various scenarios have their specificities. Below is what each type involves.

  • Hot Chamber Die Casting

Hot chamber die casting, sometimes called gooseneck die casting, involves a pool of liquid or semi-liquid metal in a molten state that fills the mold under pressure. At the start of the cycle, the machine’s piston is contracted, allowing molten metal to fill the gooseneck. Pneumatic or hydraulic pistons squeeze the metal, filling it into the mold.

Advantages of the system include fast cycle rates (about 15 cycles per minute), ease of automation, and ease of melting metal. Disadvantages include the inability to die-cast metals with higher melting points, as well as the inability to die-cast aluminum, which would pull the iron out of the molten pool.

Therefore, generally speaking, hot chamber die casting machines are used for alloys of zinc, tin, and lead. Moreover, hot chamber die casting is difficult to use for die casting large castings, and usually this process is used for die casting small castings.

  • Cold Chamber Die Casting

Cold chamber die casting can be used when die casting cannot be used for metals that can be used in the hot chamber die casting process, including aluminum, magnesium, copper and zinc alloys with high aluminum content.

In this process, the metal needs to be melted away first in a separate crucible. A certain amount of molten metal is then transferred to an unheated injection chamber or nozzle. The metal is injected into the mold by hydraulic or mechanical pressure. The biggest disadvantage of this process is the long cycle time due to the need to transfer the molten metal into a cold chamber. There are vertical and horizontal types of cold chamber die casting machines.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Die Casting Parts

The cost of die casting parts is influenced by various factors such as the complexity of the part, the material used, the surface finish, and the production volume.

1. Part Complexity

The complexity of the part refers to the number of features, curves, corners, and undercuts required. A complex part with many features and undercuts requires more time to manufacture, which increases the cost.

2. Material Used

The material used also affects the cost of the die casting part. Some materials are more expensive than others, and the price of the material is directly proportional to the part’s cost.

3. Surface Finish

The surface finish of the part refers to the texture or appearance of the part’s surface. A smooth or polished surface finish requires more time and effort to achieve, which increases the cost of the part.

4. Production Volume

Production volume also affects the cost of the die casting part. Large production runs have lower costs per unit than smaller runs due to economies of scale. Therefore, it is important to consider the production volume when calculating the cost of die casting parts.

Why Should You Consider Die Casting for Custom Products?

Die casting is a popular manufacturing method for custom products due to its many advantages. Some of the benefits of die casting include:

1. Design Flexibility

Die casting allows for the production of complex shapes and intricate details that may not be possible with other manufacturing methods.

2. High-Quality Parts

Die casting produces high-quality parts with excellent dimensional accuracy and surface finish.

3. Cost-Effective

Die casting is a cost-effective manufacturing method, especially for large production runs.

4. Material Options

Die casting can be used in a wide range of materials, including aluminum, zinc, and magnesium.

Common Problems with Die Casting

Despite its many benefits, die casting can also have some common issues, including:

1. Porosity

Porosity is a defect in the casting caused by gas pockets within the material. It can weaken the part and affect its appearance.

2. Surface Defects

Surface defects can occur during the casting process, such as shrinkage, warping, or cracking, affecting the appearance of the part.

3. Tool Wear

The die casting tool can wear out over time due to the high temperatures and pressures involved, affecting the quality of the parts produced.


Die casting is a highly effective manufacturing method for producing custom products with complex shapes and high precision. It is cost-effective for large production runs and offers a wide range of material options, and is one of the indispensable processes in the process of product realization in product development.

However, it is essential to consider the factors that affect the cost of die casting parts and be aware of the common problems that can occur during the process. By understanding these factors and issues, you can make informed decisions when choosing the right manufacturing method for your custom products.

Joey Gan
Article by:
Joey Gan
The Co-founder of Ruizhi Sourcing. With 10 years of experience in the field of sourcing in China, we help 1k+ clients import from China and customize new products.. Contact with me at Linkedin
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