Alcoa recognised for alloy innovation as ‘megacasting’ trend grows
Megacastings, where dozens or even hundreds of small parts are consolidated into one solid casting, are becoming increasingly important in the electric vehicle sector.
As auto manufacturers continue to look for ways to streamline and simplify production processes, ‘megacastings’, where dozens or even hundreds of small parts are consolidated into one solid casting, are becoming increasingly important in the electric vehicle (EV) sector.
Alcoa has developed alloys for high-pressure die-casting applications, including megacastings process (sometimes known as gigacasting), including the high-performance C611 EZCast alloy. And for the second year in a row, Alcoa has been recognized for excellence by the North American Die Casting Association.
This year’s award was given at the North American Die Casting Association’s annual Congress and Exhibition, held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Submissions were judged by a panel of industry experts on design, quality, cost savings, ingenuity, innovation, and market growth potential. Alcoa was honoured in the same category in 2022.
Alcoa’s alloy received top recognition for use in structural die casting used to create a rear floor frame with one part instead of 87 separate components. The alloy offers outstanding fluidity and high cracking resistance, prevents distortion, and can help reduce net assembly weight by as much as 28 percent compared with traditional technology. Making the cast parts in-house could cut manufacturing costs by between 20-30 percent, and reduce development cycle time by six months.
KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MEGACASTING PROCESS & C611 EZCast
- The castings were made using a 9,000-ton High-Pressure Die Casting (HPDC) machine.
- C611 EZCast alloy does not require a dedicated heat treatment, saving cost, energy and production time.
- Megacasting also allows for more space in the vehicle itself, enabling advantages like larger rear seats or trunk space.
- The casting, which simplifies the vehicle manufacturing process, may lead to increased fuel/battery efficiency and ease of recycling at the end of the vehicle’s life.
According to Alcoa, more automakers are including megacasting in their production lines and looking to Alcoa for alloys that can meet this emerging need. Last year, Chinese EV maker NIO converted to the C611 EZCast alloy, and Alcoa also worked with Li Auto on a megacasting that integrates more than 70 components into a single casting, achieving a weight reduction of more than 40 percent.
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