"Intelligent Die Casting Has a Key Role to Play in Improving Sustainability in Our Industry."
Quaker Houghton introduces a new approach to die casting, which brings together equipment and lubricant as well as product and expertise to make die casting smarter, faster more cost-effective and more intelligent. In the management statement, Dr. Mark Cross, Global Business Development Director - Die Casting, explains what exactly DieCast iQTM is all about.
About Dr. Mark Cross
Dr. Mark Cross is the Global Business Development Director – Die Casting for Quaker Houghton. His focus is on leading business growth globally with automotive OEMs, tier suppliers and the foundry industry. Prior to moving into a commercial role at Quaker Houghton subsidiary, Ultraseal International, Mark spent 15 years in research & development with Ultraseal, with 10 years as Technical Director. As a Phd Chemist, Mark has an in-depth understanding of the die casting process and die release technology as well as the post casting vacuum impregnation process and casting impregnation technology.
Dr. Cross, Quaker Houghton specializes in intelligent casting solutions. What approach does DieCast iQTM take?
Dr. Mark Cross: DieCast iQTM combines market-leading process and lubrication solutions with die casting technical expertise to drive manufacturing change across the die casting production process from start to finish.Our technical experts partner with you to understand your die casting challenges and develop tailored lubricant and equipment solutions that will help your operations run more efficiently, more effectively and more sustainably.
How can foundries take advantage of DieCast iQTM to outperform competing suppliers?
With the ever-present need for cost-optimization, more complex components, improvements in productivity and better output quality, companies need to be innovative and stay ahead of the competition. Increasing regulation and the transition to a low carbon economy drives a need to reduce the environmental footprint of manufacturing operations.
In addition, the electrification of the automotive industry is creating a paradigm shift in die casting, driving the demand for more complex, lightweight components. The innovation in chassis and structural parts is leading to investment in larger high pressure “GigaPress” die casting machines and more expensive tooling to keep up with these developments.
Casting larger and more complex structural components creates design and manufacturing challenges in the die casting process. To support these evolving industry requirements, the equipment and lubricants used in die cast component production also need to advance. This is where an innovative technology available from Quaker Houghton, LUBROLENE® water-free electrostatic die release lubricants and application technology, is playing a key role in overcoming these challenges, particularly in the new generation of >4,500T die casting machines.
Our objective is to partner with customers to provide tailored solutions that lead the way to better performance with higher efficiency, reduced scrap, improved sustainability and, reduced consumption of materials and tools.
How easy is it to implement DieCast iQTM? Can even small foundries implement the solution?
It is very easy for customers of any size or capacity to take advantage of Quaker Houghton’s DieCast iQTM solution. By understanding our customers’ manufacturing processes and performance improvement objectives, we can recommend the best solutions to improve their die casting process.
No matter the size of the opportunity, whether short-run bespoke castings or today’s colossal "Gigapresses”, Quaker Houghton is here to serve the industry. Our innovative solutions, such as Smart Polymer or LUBROLENE® die release lubricants are just as appropriate for the needs of small foundries as our turn-key lubricant and application systems. We can also help with post casting processes by supplying metalworking fluids, cleaners and porosity sealing solutions.
What role does the trend topic of sustainability play in the concept of DieCast iQTM?
At Quaker Houghton, we recognize that daily choices and investments contribute to sustainability goals for us and our customers. By 2030, Quaker Houghton will be carbon neutral in its global operations. With science-based targets to be set by 2030, this will support the achievement of net zero emissions across our value chain by 2050.
Intelligent die casting has a key role to play in improving sustainability in our industry. It can do this in a variety of ways such as helping to minimize chemical and energy consumption, improving EHS credentials, reducing or eliminating wastewater and reducing scrap from the die casting process.
Minimum quantity lubrication (MQL) solutions are making a significant difference to die casting process sustainability by reducing the amount of chemicals needed. MQLs also eliminate wastewater streams and issues with biological growth. Added to this, the CO2 footprint is reduced and so is the energy consumption.
Not only are systematic efficiencies and waste minimisation good for the planet, they are also good for the balance sheet – there is just that extra incentive to drive innovation. The whole industry is driving towards improved sustainability, and we can all play our part in building a sustainable solution.
Is the technological development of foundries completed with DieCast iQTM, or do you think the foundry of the future will bring even more (intelligent) features?
Automation, innovative alloys, smart technology and eco-friendly requirements are all current trends shaping the future of die casting. It’s also important to realize that, while these trends are the most relevant right now, the market is dynamic and there are many more to come. Above all, flexibility is perhaps one of the most important requirements for metal die casting operations, if only to keep up with the changing times.
This is especially relevant when you consider that die casting is a short-cycle and repetitive process. Reducing process time by even just a few seconds, or reducing chemical consumption, can lead to significant cycle time savings and impact directly on productivity and costs.
Our DieCast iQTM approach can help further optimize die casting operations with modern monitoring technology to maintain parameters, helping to improve process stability, reduce cycle times and manufacture consistent high-quality products. This capability is further enhanced with Quaker Houghton’s FLUIDTRENDTM which integrates with the FLUIDCASTTM equipment range to provide an intuitive and user-friendly customer portal. This enables instant remote access to check machine status, process stability and historical performance – and guide informed decisions about production activities with complete confidence.