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Vacuum-assisted high pressure die castings with reduced porosity at low cost (SOUNDCAST)
Start date: Nov 1, 2012, End date: Nov 30, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The necessity of preserving resources and to reduce environmental pollution makes light weight concepts and recycling highly interesting for the transportation market, being light weight essential for newly developed electric and hybrid vehicles.At the present, the use of aluminium high pressure die castings for structural applications in the automotive industry is limited due the presence of porosity inherent to the fabrication process. High vacuum processes can reduce porosity significantly, but both the capital investment and the process costs are very high.On the other hand, the use of cheaper adaptable vacuum systems it is still not very popular in SME foundries, despite of significant technological improvements during the last years; this is mainly because of the complexity of this process, the need for improved process stability and deeper metallurgical knowledge of the alloys used in these new applications.The aim of the SOUNDCAST project is to provide the SME die caster with an innovative and environmentally friendly technology to produce sound and weldable high performance castings by a low cost vacuum assisted high pressure die casting (VPDC) process.During the project the link between the most important parameters that enhance porosity will be established, and a versatile technology package which optimizes the whole fabrication process will be developed including:- Numerical simulation of die filling and solidification- Special die design- Use of a “state of the art vacuum” valve- HPDC process parameter optimization- Optimized die and shot sleeve lubrication for welding applications- Development of quality control software- Development of a new recycled alloy(s) with high mechanical properties- Melt and heat treatment optimization for the new recycled alloy(s)- Development of a new laser welding process at reduced pressureThe developed know-how and technologies will be demonstrated and validated in SME foundries."
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