Minimal lubrication in die casting is increasingly mentioned as an innovation of our times, sometimes regardless of aspects related to the process technologies necessary for its application, the quality level required of the castings to be produced and the OEE necessary for the foundry to be competitive. In reality, the objectives of minimal lubrication are quite simple to understand and have always been present in what we at Motultech Baraldi define as an optimization process for the lubrication phase of the dies. So what are these goals? Surely the reduction of the cycle time, the increase of the die lifetime, the reduction of the environmental impact and therefore the management of waste water and diluted lubricant with possible bacteria contamination.
What are the tools available? Specific release agents, ad hoc thermal management of the dies and specifically designed lubricant application systems. So let's see an application case of this optimization path and how the Motultech Baraldi specialists proposed it to a foundry in the Automotive sector.
The Company in this case is a Tier 1 of components for electronic control units and mechanical details, for electric cars of the most successful European manufacturers. These are often products that are processed and assembled and which must satisfy specific qualitative requirements, such as the absence of contamination from residual particles and which must undergo bonding and sealing treatments, or chemical and painting treatments, or leak tests.
So also in this case the qualitative aspect of the castings must be considered the primary driver for any process optimization path. We therefore defined together an adequate number of products on which to carry out the tests and applied our optimization methodology, which involves the analysis of the thermal mapping of the die surfaces using the iCast Lube Analyzer software. On the basis of these analyses, we selected a lubricant for minimal application among the water-based ready-to-use and water-free ones and carried out the test campaign.
The final result of the optimization, analyzed with our iCast EVO application, was a 50% reduction in the annual cost of die lubrication, thanks to the reduction of cycle time and lubrication and blowing times, an increase in annual production of 21 %, and a 33% reduction in costs related to waste water disposal and water consumption. To these results we must add the elimination of debit costs for non-conforming lots, which can sometimes seriously aggravate the profitability of some productions and therefore reduce the margins of the foundry.
We can therefore state that minimal lubrication in Diecasting requires prerequisites that ensure the thermal conditions of the dies necessary to produce castings with the required quality. The choice of lubricant to adopt between ready to use water-based or water-free depends on the thermal conditions of the die and only thanks to the contribution of our iCast Lube Analyzer and iCast EVO technologies and the expertise of our specialists, it is possible to achieve the objectives of minimal lubrication. This process is called DLO "Die Lube Optimizer" and if you are interested in applying it in your foundry, contact us: https://www.baraldi.com/en/contatti/