Tooling cost is usually one of the biggest concerns when it comes to die casting. Because this process employs molten metals at very high temperatures and pressure, die cast tooling is created from special steels that can withstand these conditions.
High-quality tooling that can last for tens of thousands of cycles comes at a large upfront investment, but it is well worth the price as it will lower production costs in the long run.
Factors that influence tooling cost
Tooling costs can vary depending on size, complexity, and material. Here are several factors to consider when it comes to tooling costs.
Tool design is vital if you want your project to succeed. You want to make sure that the die cast tool is properly designed so that high-quality parts can be manufactured consistently.
Using a low-quality tool increases the risk of casting mediocre parts, which may need post production corrections. This will no doubt drive up the overall cost of your project. It is not advisable to cut costs when it comes to tool design.
In fact, it is better to ensure that the tool is well made with Design for Manufacturing (DFM), checked and tested before your project starts.
Part of great tool design is engineering good runner and vent systems. This will help to create high-quality tools and, in turn, ensure problem free production.
Predictive software can be used to check how the component is gated and where overflows will occur. It can also help predict porosity and where issues will arise in part.
This provides an opportunity for engineers to correct and improve the design before the tools are created. Doing this will save tons on tooling costs and secondary operations that may be needed due to low-quality parts.
Die castings are made from molten metal and need to be cooled property before it is removed from the cavity. Removing it before it cools and solidifies will compromise the structure.
Some die casting companies will place a cooling circuit in the cavity block to save design and manufacturing costs. However, the temperature should be properly regulated with strategic cooling line placement and coverage. If your budget allows, investing in thermal analysis to optimize the cooling line is a cost that is worth considering as it will help to manufacture high-quality parts as well as prolong tool life.
Tooling inserts will also play a part in the total cost of your die cast mold. While some die cast companies may manufacture the tool as a whole, others incorporate smaller inserts into the design.
When tools are designed with smaller shut offs, adjustments can be made even when production has started. Additionally, if the tool is eroding or damaged in certain areas, you will not have to replace the whole tool and incur high additional costs when tooling inserts are present. Only the problematic part of the tool needs to be repaired or replaced.
Removable inserts are also handy if it is designed for areas that are predicted to wear faster. Die casting companies that are experienced enough to create tools with removable inserts in the right areas will lower cost because you will only have to change a particular part of the tool when it erodes over time.
This will not only help your tool to last longer but ensure consistency in your die castings for your whole project.
Tooling material is another factor that will influence die casting tool cost. Die casting mold should be evaluated according to the customer’s casting requirements and the number of die castings that are to be created.
Choose a better material that will ensure a longer service life if the tool is to create a large number of die castings. This may be more expensive initially but save you from having to replace your tool midway through your project.
Tool maintenance and longevity as part of the cost
No matter how well made your die cast tooling is, the high temperatures and pressure will cause some wear and tear over time. As such, it is important to make routine maintenance and timely repairs.
This will help reduce downtime. Not only is maintaining a tool much easier than creating a new one, but it is also much less costly.
Tools that are not running should be properly cleaned and stored to prevent damage.
Extending Tool Life
Prolonging tool life is important when it comes to tooling costs. Downtime due to damaged tools will cost you thousands if you have to replace your dies.
It is best to work with a company that is experienced enough to predict the tool’s service life and make design tweaks that will help it last longer.
Taking steps to extend tool life via tool design and maintenance will help you save costs in the long run, especially if you plan to manufacture thousands of parts yearly.
The cost of high-quality die casting tooling can be quite a heavy upfront. This, however, should be seen as an investment that will give you tenfold returns over time.
Have an honest discussion with the company that you engage in creating the die cast tools regarding the cost. While you definitely want the best deal, be aware that low prices might mean low-quality tooling.
When it comes to die casting tool cost, you will likely get what you pay for. If you have any queries with regards to die casting tool cost, EKO Industries is a Malaysian based manufacturer that has over 20 years of experience in precision die casting tooling and processes.
This article is a part of our comprehensive guide on “Die casting: Process, Equipment, Uses, and More.”