The Italian die-casting cell manufacturer IDRA has always been known for its powerful and sophisticated machines for aluminum die casting.
Large die casting machines for structural components are standard, and three years ago, the idea of a 5,500 and a 6,200 ton press was presented for the first time. What was greeted with a patronizing smile back then is reality today and enjoys cult status. The initial skepticism among parts of the die-casting industry has long since given way, because the first machines delivered are already producing "good castings" under real production conditions.
In the meantime, IDRA already has 12 orders for these large machines, called Giga Press (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giga_Press) from the new Neo Series.
Giga Press No. 3 is still fully installed in the IDRA halls in Travagliato (BS) and is now being dismantled and made ready for shipping. Up to 24 flatbed trucks are required to transport the 430-ton giant, which is no wonder considering the dimensions (20m x 7.5m x 6m).
With this, IDRA is building the largest presses in the world at the moment. But it is not about the sheer size, rather about rethinking the possible uses of aluminum die casting, reports General Manager Riccardo Ferrario during the Open House event in Italy.
In the meantime, almost all OEMs and well-known Tier 1 suppliers for the automotive industry are interested in the possibilities of this new technology.
After IDRA had grown strongly in recent years with its large machines for structural components, the company wanted to break new ground strategically.
The starting point was the question of what will be absolutely necessary for the vehicles of the coming generations with hybrid or electric drives, and what can be visionarily rethought in lightweight construction. From the requirements for battery housings for vehicles, the idea arose to develop new solutions for the entire area of underbody for automobiles and trucks. Front underbody, battery housing and rear underbody, each made of one cast part.
Lightweight construction in all variations for more demanding -- but also daring -- constructions with the following premises:
1) Super large chassis parts, in which many individual parts were previously necessary, are now cast in one die-cast part
2) Best automated production with high process stability and efficiency
3) Sustainable and environmentally-friendly approach
IDRA General Manager Riccardo Ferrario simply sums up the advantages. With drastically fewer individual parts and the associated processes, facilities and tests, investment and production costs can be saved.
Two Giga presses are cheaper than four large 4000t machines and considerable savings can be achieved in the entire assembly area. One speaks of about 20% based on the entire process with fixations, robots and quality inspection of the individual parts. The keyword is „quality“ -- the arguments mentioned here are better features, the stability and stiffness of the casting part, and also the simplification of the quality control, which is a check performed through one test code for every 3 cast parts.
With regard to sustainability and environmentally friendly production, the concept of fewer and therefore very large die-cast parts can achieve advantages of up to 20% less effort, especially in terms of energy consumption, because up to 100 kg of aluminum are required to produce an 80 kg cast part. The 1-Shot strategy for large die-cast parts also helps to save energy and resources in the long term.
With these specifications and the goal of rethinking die casting, the IDRA engineers and above all chief designer Fiorenzo Diono were entrusted with the task of developing the Giga Press.
“A picture says more than 1000 words.” – an in-person look at the machine, and a summit experience
Together with John Stokes and Fiorenzo Dioni (Chief Designer & Engineer), we were able to take a look at Giga Press No. 3 and see first-hand the main technical features
Wow what a giant!
Even if you have already seen a lot of die-casting cells, you are impressed when you look at this IDRA OL 6100 CS. The sheer dimensions of the plates and pistons, but also the design and technology of the entire Neo Series and the associated logic are impressive.
The complete NEO Series opens a new chapter in high-end die casting technology and stands for solutions from 340 to 6200 tons.
All Neo machines have the following basic features: low energy costs, fast cycle times, user-friendly controls, easy maintenance and minimal risk of fluid loss with the ability to manufacture complex parts.
Neo Innovation - The outstanding new technical properties of the series
- New series 5S casting unit (patented)
- Neo DCM Guarding System
- DCP Drive Control Pump System
- Cell Controller Integration
The intelligent solutions with which IDRA designed the new series convince with clear and simple concepts.
- The patented 5S Injection System is a casting unit with a closed loop regenerative circuit. A separate servo pump provides the necessary battery charge. Pressure and speed are perfectly controlled to produce a high dynamic force for difficult castings.
- The Neo DGM Guarding System is just as interesting as it is simple. The topic of safety, combined with high production speed and simple, safe maintenance are part of this concept with the newly designed safety doors in the foreground.
- The Drive Control pump system achieves maximum efficiency with smaller motors and thus saves energy costs, and the new IDRA Cell Controller is the brand new 4.0 architecture from IDRA, which will be available for all machines in the future.
- The entire DGM and periphery are controlled by a single controller unit and a complete diagnostic analysis is offered.
Much seems well thought out, logical in conception and practical in interaction and use.
Giga Press No. 3 is now being dismantled and will be going on a long journey. Not far behind it is Giga Press No. 4, a visible sign of a successful series that will soon find its customers in Europe.
A series based on sophisticated engineering skills and the courage to make visions reality. The more you let yourself think about it, the bigger the parts become that you can imagine for the future.
Thank you for the invitation and best of luck!