Potentials in die casting

Structural process in focus

Structural components to reduce body weight in cars is a hot topic in automotive, particularly with the growth in electric and hybrid cars. What are the challenges? Where are we going? 

To find out about the challenges and the way to go, we interviewed Hermann Roos, our Structural Process Manager, to share some insights with us.

Could you shortly introduce yourself?

Hermann: I have been working within the die-casting industry for more than 10 years. I completed my studies in Aalen in 2008 and started working for Bühler in the same year. After working in training, application technology and consulting, I am now responsible for the structural process within Bühler.

How do you see the situation for structural components?

 Hermann: Structural components are gaining importance in the automotive industry. At the moment they can mainly be found in high-end vehicles. But battery weights in electric vehicles and the additional electric motor in hybrid vehicles are a concern for manufacturers. They need to reduce weight for better range and efficiency. Structural components offer a good solution for weight reduction.

What is the challenge for structural components?

Hermann: Die cast structural components are in competition with alternative materials and processes – such as steel or aluminum panels. Therefore we need to work on the efficiency of the die casting process in order to be able to produce more cost-efficiently and increase our competitiveness.

Where do you see the main starting points?

Hermann:  In order to save costs, it is important to take into account the whole value chain. One starting point could be the reduction of the wall thickness. About 40 % of part costs arise from the material. Our calculations show that reducing wall thickness can lead to up to a 10 % reduction in the overall costs. But also the usage of secondary alloys and a process without heat treatment have potential for the future.

What are your projects in the structural area?

Hermann: For us it’s important to increase the competitiveness of structural components made in the die casting process. Therefore we continuously work on detecting cost saving potential in the different process steps. Moreover, we are testing alternative production processes together with partners. With a global share of around 50 % on the market for structural components and over 100 installed structural cells, we are the market leader for the structural die casting process. We therefore see it as our responsibility to further develop the process together with our customers and partners in the die casting industry.

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