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«Structural» - A Great Opportunity for Die Casters

›Structural‹ is Bühler’s comprehensive approach to cost-effective pro-duction of structural components in aluminum die casting. This process is an excellent choice for producing thin-walled components that are subjected to thermal treatment and are suitable for welding purposes. On April 17th and 18th, approximately 50 participants from all over Europe attended Bühler’s ‘Structural’ symposium in Uzwil. During a variety of presentations they learned more about the requirements, challenges and opportunities related to the production of structural components.

Dr. Bernhard Fritsche, Head of the Die Casting Business Unit of Bühler AG, was happy to welcome the interested participants to Uzwil. During his short speech, he presented the main topic of the symposi-um: current regulations for reducing CO2 emissions. These regulations present new challenges for the automobile industry. In the future, massive weight-saving measures must be undertaken during the construction of automobiles. The only way to achieve this is through lightweight construction which requires the use of die cast structural components. However, since the shapes and sizes of such components make it impossible for them to be stacked, they are subject to significant limitations in terms of transportation. This is of advantage to local die casters who understand the production of structural components. Bühler operates globally and provides local support in emerging markets in order to meet the demands of the OEMs.

Progress Reports from the Automobile Industry
The following guest speakers presented at the symposium: Dr. Lutz Storsberg, Head of Manufacturing Consulting for Die Casting, Mercedes-Benz Cars Development at Daimler AG and Werner Stärk, Head of Die Casting at BMW AG. They provided impressive descriptions of what their companies require of suppliers of structural components. The attendees were also provided an interesting look at future ap-plication of these highly-developed elements in vehicle construction. This made the subjects of sustainability and energy efficiency all the more relevant to the participants.

›Lean Production‹ Gains in Importance
Axel Schmidt, Technical Director at DGS Druckguss Systeme AG, demonstrated how to attain efficient production.  It is particularly important when casting structural components that any increases in inven-tory between the individual manufacturing steps be avoided. The size of these elements alone would cause a dramatic increase in the amount of space required and the associated storage costs within a very short time.

“Structural” Process
In collaboration with Dr. Hubert Koch, Manager of Research and Development at Trimet Aluminium SE and Dr. Dan Dragulin, Manager of Research and Development at Belte AG, Bühler experts pointed out what challenges have to be met for the individual process steps and what measures are needed to at-tain a stable process. In his lecture, Dr. Lars Martin, Product Supervisor of Aluminum Structural Parts at Finoba Automative GmbH, explained the finer points of the processing chain that have to be consid-ered, particularly for aligning and trimming structural components.

Practical Insights
The symposium was rounded out with contributions from various Bühler experts who illustrated the technical challenges of producing structural components. Their presentations addressed individual pro-duction steps and provided the attendees great technical insight into the production of structural com-ponents. The successful event ended with a tour of Bühler’s in-house Tech Center, providing the at-tendees the opportunity to become familiar with different alloys and processing methods.

Experts at Bühler
›Structural‹ has been an issue at Bühler for several years. During that time, the technology has been subject to continuous development. In addition to the die casting machines that are particularly well-suited to complex structures due to their high injection force, Bühler also provides its customers with the required accessories and know-how required to produce structural components. Bühler supports its customers all over the world by implementing and executing a particularly cost-effective process.

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