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International Aluminium Die-casting Award 2014: winners announced Awards presented at EUROGUSS 2014

The winners of the International Aluminium Die-casting Award 2014 were announced at EUROGUSS 2014 in Nuremberg. Prizes were awarded for three castings, with a further three castings receiving special commendations. It was the sixth time the competition had been held and it was organised this year by Düsseldorf-based Gesamtverband der Aluminiumindustrie (GDA), with the support of Bundesverband der Deutschen Gießerei-Industrie (BDG).

For many years, the Aluminium Die-casting Award has proven to be a successful platform for demonstrating the high quality standards of aluminium die-castings. The aim of the competition is to boost interest in aluminium, a versatile material, still further and to demonstrate further fields of application. The castings have to be produced from a common aluminium foundry alloy and the assessment criteria are quality, topicality, innovation and technical progress.

This year there were 17 entries: 11 from Germany, three from Austria, two from
Italy and one from Switzerland. The six winners were:

1st Prize:
Cast side component for rear-axle support of BMW i3  
Alloy: Al Si10MnMg
BMW AG, Werk Landshut, Germany

This component is being die-cast despite strong competition from a welded structure. The casting utilises topology optimisation, an innovative development technique. The resulting casting is 10% lighter than the best welded structure and thereby 10% cheaper. Incidentally, the welded component only achieves 70% of the intended level of integration. The winning entry also completely fulfils additional requirements for weldability and coatability (CDC).

2nd Prize:
Oil sump upper part for W12 FSI engines in the Audi A8
Alloy:  Al Si9Cu3(Fe)
Hengst GmbH & Co. KG, Münster, Germany

The design of this casting fully utilises the specific advantages that die-casting technology has to offer: the high-grade surface helps satisfy demands with respect to service life. From a design point of view, there is an impressive integration of functions. This was achieved using complex tool and die technology. Noteworthy, too, is the large number of finished surfaces that are as-cast but only have small dimensional tolerances, thus requiring little post-processing.

3rd Prize:
BMW motorcycle crankcase for the new generation of water-cooled K5x boxer engines
Alloy: Al Si9Cu3
BMW AG, Werk Landshut, Germany

An LDS coating is used here for the cylinder bore surfaces. This combines optimal wear properties with very good heat transfer in the crankcase. Compared with the crankcase’s predecessor, a permanent-mould casting, six built-in parts were replaced by an integrative die-cast component. Complex machining places great demands on the microstructural homogeneity of the die-casting.

Special Commendation:
Casing for switch electronics of industrial joysticks
Alloy: Al Si9MnMg
Georg Frank & Co. GmbH, Heilbronn

This component imposes exacting demands on both the toolmaking and the foundry technology. Casting the 74 holes spread over the six faces considerably reduces the amount of machining subsequently required. The alloy chosen ensures maximum corrosion resistance even in a marine environment.

Special Commendation:
Collector frame for a manufacturer of solar units
Alloy: Al Si9MgMn
DGS Druckguss Systeme AG, St. Gallen, Switzerland

This frame literally redefines the limits of die-casting’s capabilities. The jury recognised this successful extension of the boundaries of the process. It opens up many new fields of application for this type of component.

Special Commendation:
Gearshift dome – innovative gate system
G.A. Röders GmbH & Co. KG, Soltau, Germany

Tremendous savings in raw materials and energy can be achieved by using a particularly innovative methodology for developing a gate system with an optimised volume and flow pattern. The jury recognised the contribution of the methodology to sustainable efficiency with regards raw materials and energy. Results from the German Resource Efficiency Programme (ProgRess) were implemented uncompromisingly in this project.


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