Gravity and low pressure die casting of aluminium alloys: a technical and economical benchmark

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1 Grvity nd low pressure die csting of luminium lloys: technicl nd economicl enchmrk F. Bonollo, J. Urn, B. Bontto, M. Botter Among the innovtive nd conventionl foundry processes for Aluminium lloys, low pressure die csting is chrcterised y severl dvntges, including high yield, excellent control of opertive prmeters, good metllurgicl nd technologicl qulity. This process is often (nd incorrectly) ssocited only to the production of utomotive wheels, while it is improving its potentil oth towrds other utomotive components nd non-utomotive prts. The pper is imed t showing the potentil of low pressure die csting for the production of sfety oxes, to e employed in chemicl, petrol nd off-shore plnts. This potentil is exmined oth in technicl nd economicl terms, nd is compred with tht offered y other conventionl Aluminium foundry processes, such s permment mould grvity diecsting. Memorie Keywords: luminium lloys, foundry, low pressure die csting, defects, mterils chrcteristion, equipments INTRODUCTION The incresing numer of pplictions nd of products is the est proof of the success of Aluminium lloys foundry. This is proly one of the most dynmic fields inside mnufcturing nd engineering. The well-known dvntges ssocited to the use of Aluminium lloys (light weight, good mechnicl ehviour, good corrosion resistnce, etc.) constitute the driving force for the introduction, on one hnd, of new pplictions nd design nd, on the other hnd, for the development of new processing solutions. Vrious processes re now competing, to chieve oth economiclly nd technologiclly dvntgeous production of Aluminium lloys cstings. The generl scenrio is descried in quite wide literture [1-10] nd is schemticlly shown in Figures 1 (prt-process-weight chrt) nd 1 (process vs qulity in terms of gs entrpment chrt). Among the most interesting processes, low pressure die csting is certinly worth mentioning, thnks to its peculirities, llowing, in severl cses, n excellent compromise etween qulity, costs, productivity, geometricl fesiility. Even if such process is quite old (the first ptent, concerning csting of led lloys, ws deposited in Englnd in 1910), its significnt industril ppliction strted thirty yers go [8]. Nowdys, it is dopted for csting Aluminium- nd Mgnesium-sed lloys. The principle of this process is quite simple: the permnent die nd the filling system re plced over the furnce contining the molten lloy (Fig. 2) [1-6]. The filling of the cvity is otined y forcing (y mens of pressurized gs, typiclly rnging from 0.3 to 1.5 rs) the molten metl to rise into cermic tue (which is clled stlk), which connects the die to the furnce (Fig. 3). Generlly speking, the pressure used is roughly equivlent to 2 meters of n Aluminum column. Once the die cvity is filled, the overpressure in the furnce is removed, nd the residul molten metl in the tue flows gin towrds the furnce. The vrious prts of the die re then seprted, nd the csting is finlly extrcted. Specific ttention hs to e pid to the design of the die, to control y mens of proper cooling circuits, the solidifiction pth of the lloy. The mssive region of the csting hs to e the lst one to solidify nd must e plced ner to the F. Bonollo, J. Urn DTG - University of Pdov, Vicenz Itly B. Bontto - LPM, Pdov Itly M. Botter - Elfit, Villesse (GO) Itly Fig. 1 Field of convenience of foundry processes s function of production rte nd csting weight (); comprison of foundry processes in terms of gs content in cstings (). Fig. 1 Cmpi di convenienz dei processi di fonderi in funzione dell produzione richiest e del peso dei getti (); confronto tr i processi di fonderi in termini di contenuto di gs nei getti (). 6/2005 l metllurgi itlin 23

2 6/2005 Memorie stlk, which cts s virtul feeder nd llows to void the use of conventionl feeders, thus improving the yield of the process, which ecomes significntly high. The low injection velocity nd the reltively high cycle time led to good control of the fluid-dynmics of the process, voiding the defects originted y turulence phenomen. Cstings up to 70 kg weight cn e produced, with tolernces of %. The die cn e design for the production of single csting or for multiple cstings, ccording to the size required nd to the chrcteristics of the mchine. The dvntges of low pressure die csting process re severl: - the high yield chievle (typiclly over 90%) - the reduction of mchining costs, thnks to the sence of feeders, - the excellent control of process prmeters which cn e otined, with high degree of utomtion, - the good metllurgicl qulity, thnks to homogeneous filling nd controlled solidifiction dynmics, resulting in good mechnicl nd technologicl properties of the cstings. The pplictions of low pressure die csting in the utomotive field re severl, even if this process is often (nd reductively) ssocited only to the production of wheels (Fig. 4). Some exmples of low pressure die csting products re collected in Fig. 4. Fig. 2 Generl scheme of the low pressure die csting process. Fig. 2 Schem di principio del processo di colt in ss pressione. Fig. 3 Working sequence in the LPDC process [8]. Fig. 3 Sequenz opertiv del processo di colt in ss pressione [8]. In this pper, the potentil of low pressure die csting for the production of sfety oxes, to e employed in chemicl, petrol nd off-shore plnts, will e illustrted, oth in technicl nd economicl terms. The informtion presented will llow comprison with other conventionl Aluminium foundry processes, such s permment mould grvity csting. THE COMPONENTS INVESTIGATED The components selected for the presented study re sfety oxes nd covers (Fig 5) produced y ELFIT SpA y mens of different processes. The oxes re otined y low pressure (LPDC) nd grvity die csting (GDC), while the covers re otined lso y snd csting (SC) nd high pressure diecsting (HPDC). The composition of cstings depends siclly on the processes dopted; in detil - the lloy EN AB (AlSi10Mg) hs een used for LPDC; - the lloy EN AB (AlSi13) hs een used for GDC; - the lloy EN AB (AlSi12) hs een used for HPDC; - the lloy EN AB (AlSi7) hs een used for SC. On the cstings, rdiogrphic exmintions, hrdness tests nd microstructurl investigtions (light microscopy nd imge nlysis) hve een crried out, to chieve n extended comprison mong their chrcteristics. 24 l metllurgi itlin

3 Fig. 4 Exmples of cstings produced y mens of the LPDC process [16]. Fig. 4 Esempi di getti prodotti medinte colt in ss pressione [16]. Memorie Fig. 5 The components investigted in the present pper: sfety ox () nd sfety covers (). Fig. 5 I componenti oggetto del presente lvoro: contenitore di sicurezz () coperchi di sicurezz (). RESULTS OF EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATIONS Rdiogrphic Inspection For wht concerns the oxes, the most criticl zone, in the cse of LPDC, hs een individuted to e the corner, with some clustered porosity; on the other side, the content of porosity in the wlls is quite low. In the cse of GDC, the corners typiclly present reltively ig cvities, even if in lower numer with respect to LPDC; the wlls evidenced some cvities. The rdiogrphic qulity of oxes nd covers is descried in Figs For this kind of csting, the distriution of defects is quite homogeneous, ut there is strong effect due to the process. The rnking of rdiogrphic qulity is the following: SC = LPDC > GDC > HPDC. The sectioning of the covers (Fig. 9) confirms, without ny douts, this rnking. Microstructurl investigtions Vrious kinds of microstructurl investigtions hve een crried out: - metllogrphic oservtion, LPDC Fig. 6 Rdiogrphs of the oxes. Fig. 6 Rdiogrfi delle sctole di sicurezz. GDC Fig. 7 Rdiogrphs of the covers. Fig. 7 Rdiogrfi dei coperchi di sicurezz. 6/2005 l metllurgi itlin 25

4 6/2005 Memorie Fig. 8 Rdiogrphs of the covers. Fig. 8 Rdiogrfi dei coperchi di sicurezz. HPDC GDC Fig. 9 Mcroscopic exmintions of the covers fter sectioning. Fig. 9 Esme mcroscopico dei coperchi dopo il sezionmento. - evlution of porosity chrcteristics nd content, - evlution of Secondry Dendrite Arm Spcing (SDAS). The investigtions hve een performed in the most representtive zones of the cstings, following the denomintion shown in Fig. 10. Metllogrphic oservtion llowed to qulittively descrie the peculirities of the different csting processes under investigtion nd of the lloys employed. Fig. 11 is referred to the low pressure die cst cover: fine dendritic structure (α-al phse) cn e oserved, emedded into n Al-Si eutectic mtrix. In the cse of grvity die csting (Fig. 11), the lloy solidifies into mostly eutectic structure, even if there is some evidence of primry Si nd α-al grins. The size of such grins, however, is igger thn tht found in low pressure die cst mteril. The grvity snd cst lloy (Fig. 11c) presents corse microstructure, ssocited to longer solidifiction times with respect to other processes. Big sized Si needles re evident, together with α-al grins. Finlly, the high pressure diecst lloy (Fig. 11d) shows very fine structure, minly constituted y the Al-Si eutectic; α-al dendrites cn e detected, s well s sphericl porosity, which is typiclly due to gs entrpment phenomen occurring during this process. From the microgrphic exmintions, some spects relted to the dynmics of solidifiction phenomen cn e highlighted. Let s consider the low pressure diecst components. The fetures of dendrites, nd prticulrly their size, re n index of solidifiction time. Fig. 12 compres the dendrites typiclly found in the most fr region from the ingte (zone Z3) nd in the closest (zone Z5) of the sfety ox. In low Fig. 10 Definition of the regions to e investigted in the sfety ox () nd cover (). Fig. 10 Definizione delle regioni d nlizzre nel recipiente () e nel coperchio (). Fig. 11 Typicl microstructure in the sfety covers, s function of the lloy nd of the process. Fig. 11 Microstruttur tipic nel coperchio di sicurezz, in funzione dell leg e del processo. 26 l metllurgi itlin

5 Memorie Fig. 12 Microstructure in LPDC sfety ox: region Z3 () nd region Z5 (). Fig. 12 Microstrutur nel contenitore colto in ss pressione: regione Z3 () e regione Z5 (). Fig. 13 Microstructure in LPDC cover: region Z1 () nd region Z3 (). Fig. 13 Microstruttur nel coperchio colto in ss pressione: regione Z1 () e regione Z3 (). pressure diecsting configurtion, the ingte cn e considered s virtul feeder: ner to it, long solidifiction time is expected, leding to corse microstructure. Fine dendrites cn e esily seen in regions fr from the ingte, in which solidifiction rte is certinly higher. Similr considertions cn e done for wht concerns the covers. Fig. 13 compres the microstructure in the externl region (Z1) nd in the centrl one (Z3), which is very close to the ingte. The qulittive results of microgrphs hve een converted into quntittive informtion y mens of SDAS mesurements. Tle 1 collects the results. By mens of imge nlysis, the verge size of defects nd Tle 1 SDAS vlues for LPDC components. Tell 1 Vlori del prmetro SDAS per i getti colti in ss pressione. 6/2005 l metllurgi itlin 27

6 6/2005 Memorie the porosity content hve een detected for ll the cstings under investigtion. Figs 14 nd 15 summrise the results. For wht concerns the sfety ox cst y LPDC, the most criticl region is Z1, i.e. tht of the corner: the mount of porosity is out 2%. In the other regions, the porosity is lwys significntly lower thn 0.3%. The porosity content nd the verge re of pores re significntly higher in grvity diecst oxes. In fct, the mount of porosity rnges from 0.8 to 2.2%, ccording to the region considered. Aprt from region Z1, in which porosity size is similr etween LPDC nd GDC, in ll the other regions of the grvity diecst ox present cvities with size 10 to 25 times igger thn those detected in low pressure diecst ox. The verging, crried out on ll regions, gives for LPDC porosity content of 0,54% versus porosity content of 1,72% for GDC. Similr results hve een chieved lso for covers, showing quite good greement with the results of rdiogrphic inspections. In terms of porosity size, the most criticl sitution is tht of GDC, followed y HPDC, SC nd LPDC. In terms of porosity mount, the most criticl process, s expected, is HPDC (typiclly rnging fron 2 to 4%), followed y GDC, SC nd LPDC. In detil, LPDC shows porosity content lower thn 0,01% in Z1 nd Z2. It is lso useful to consider in deeper wy the dt. Porosity cn e opertively divided into two ctegories, i.e. mcro-porosity (intended s tht detectle y stereogrphic microscope) nd micro-porosity (intended s tht detectle only y opticl microscopy). The threshold etween micro Fig. 14 Averge re of pores () nd porosity content () in sfety ox s function of process. Fig. 14 Are medi dei pori () e contenuto di porosità () nel contenitore di sicurezz, in funzione del processo. Fig. 15 Averge re of pores () nd porosity content () in sfety cover s function of process. Fig. 15 Are medi dei pori () e contenuto di porosità () nel coperchio di sicurezz, in funzione del processo. Region Porosity LPDC GDC SC HPDC Micro 0,004 0,048 0,072 0,557 Z1 Mcro 0,76 1,59 Totl 0,004 0,81 0,072 2,15 Micro 0,005 0,002 0,108 0,232 Z2 Mcro 0,30 2,74 Totl 0,005 0,30 0,108 2,98 Micro 0,055 0,061 0,069 0,534 Z3 Mcro 0,50 1,80 1,86 3,24 Totl 0,56 1,86 1,92 3,78 Tle 2 Averge porosity content in sfety covers. Tell 2 Contenuto medio di porosità nei coperchi di sicurezz. nd mcro-porosity re hs een fixed t 3000 µm 2. Tle 2 collects the results, showing tht the qulity of GDC nd HPDC is strongly decresed y mcro-porosity. LPDC typiclly presents micro-porosity, nd in relly low mount. The overll csting porosity is 0,19% for LPDC, 0,70% for SC, 0,99% for GDC nd 2,97 % for HPDC. Hrdness tests Brinell hrdness tests hve een crried out in regions ner (Z5 for the sfety ox, Z3 for the cover) to the ingte nd fr (Z3 for the sfety ox, Z1 for the cover) from it. Csting we- 28 l metllurgi itlin

7 Csting Region HB Sfety ox - LPDC Sfety ox - GDC Cover - LPDC Cover - HPDC Cover - SC Cover - GDC Tle 3 Results of hrdness tests. Tell 3 Risultti delle prove di durezz. Z3 67 Z5 63 Z3 50 Z5 49 Z1 67 Z3 67 Z1 79 Z3 65 Z1 53 Z3 54 Z1 58 Z3 57 re tested in s-cst conditions, i.e. without ny het tretment. The difference in hrdness vlues (which re displyed in Tle 3) re due to the lloy nd to the different microstructure chieved. HPDC presents the higher hrdness thnks to the high Si content of the lloy, together to the fine structure deriving from high cooling rtes. LPDC cstings show hrdness vlues rnging from 63 to 67 HB. ECONOMICAL CONSIDERATIONS Through experimentl nlysis, the technicl potentil of LPDC for the production of ox nd covers hs een demonstrted. The further spect to e investigted to the cost of the qulity of LPDC process, which is the key-point for industril fesiility. Sfety ox: determintion of Brek-even Point nd structure of costs First of ll, it hs to e determined the production rte tht mkes one process cheper thn the other, using the Brekeven nlysis, under the hypothesis tht new csting mchine hs to e cquired, choosing etween LPDC nd GDC. This mens tht the nlysis considers two lterntives with identicl im nd equl service life. The dt used for the Brek-even nlysis re shown in Tle 4. Anlysing cost items, it clerly ppers tht the initil expense for LPDC (higher then GDC) corresponds to higher yield nd reduced production time. Stlk (rising tue) is cost item typicl of low pressure technology, nd cn e considered s fixed cost. After the extrction from the die, the csting follows different pth, depending on the process. The LPDC csting is loded on n utomtic work centre tht removes the ingte in 1 minute, with n estimted cost of 0,90. This opertion requires 1 minute of workmn to lod nd unlod the piece. The GDC csting is sujected to mnul mchining, consisting of cutting of the riser nd susequent deurring. These opertions require 5 minute of workmn in totl. The item recycled Al vlue represents deduction in the clcultion concerning the GDC solution. It consists in the scrp mteril (solidified risers nd feeders) resold to remelting nd refining compnies. An interest rte of 5% is used in Brek-even nlysis. The output of such nlysis is reported in Fig. 16, showing the Brek-even point, for the sfety ox under study, t 2143 pcs/yer. The formul used in the clcultion of Brek-even point is (1): Memorie Fig. 16 Grphic determintion of Brek-even point for sfety oxes. Fig. 16 Determinzione grfic del Brek-even point per i contenitori di sicurezz. Tle 4 Dt for Brek-even nlysis for sfety oxes. Tell 4 Dti per l Brekeven nlysis reltiv l contenitore di sicurezz. LPDC GDC Investment ( ) Die cost ( ) Stlk (rising tue) ( ) Aluminium cost* ( /kg) 1,58 1,58 Weight of csting (kg) Yield 0,99 0,73 Production time (h/pc) 0,088 0,15 Scrp 0,03 0,05 Cost of lour ( /h) Melting in gs furnce, Melting in gs furnce, Preliminry tretments TiB grin refinement, degssing, TiB grin refinement, degssing, electric furnce mintennce electric furnce mintennce Riser removl ( /pc) 0,90 (crried out on utomtic Mnul work centre) (riser cutting nd deurring) Downstrem working Snd-lsting Snd-lsting Recycled Al vlue ( /kg) - 0,70 6/2005 l metllurgi itlin 29

8 6/2005 Memorie Cse Box weight Brek-even point A 6, B 13, C 21, D 35,0 725 Tle 5 Brek-even Point s function of sfety ox weight. Tell 5 Andmento del Brek-even point in fuzione del peso del contenitore di sicurezz. LPDC GDC Csting weight (kg) 6 6 Yield 0,99 0,80 Product time (h/pc) 0,067 0,15 Riser removl ( /pc) 0,80 Mnul Tle 6 Dt for Brek-even Anlysis for sfety covers. Tell 6 Dti per l Brek-even Anlysis reltiv l coperchio di sicurezz. in which: CF = fixed costs S = scrp W = weight of csting C Al = Aluminium cost (rw mteril) Y = yield PT = production time C l = cost of lour V Al = recycled Al vlue RR = riser removl Fixed costs of LPDC option re reckoned s follows: Mchine llownce, for 10 yers of lifetime, interest rte of 5%, null finl vlue of the mchine (t most it is considerle the vlue of recycling the steel tht uild up the mchine) Die llownce, for 10 yers of lifetime, interest rte of 5%, null finl vlue of the die Stlks consumption. Fixed costs of GDC solution re reckoned with the sme method of LPDC, except for the lst item, which oviously is not considered. The vlue 1/12 in (1) tkes into ccount the time (expressed in hours) needed for mnul opertions of cutting nd deurring, s well for the vlue 1/60 concerning LPDC. From the production dt representing the Brek-even point (in this wy the solute vlue of unit cost is the sme for oth techniques), the cost structure cn e determined, nd is shown in Fig. 17. It cn e seen tht rw mteril cost in LPDC hs lower relevnce with respect to GDC (59% insted of 76%), thnks to the etter process yield. On the other hnd, mchine llownce represents significnt prt of totl cost in LPDC (35% versus 15%), due the higher initil investment. Difference in cost of lour mount is the result of different production time: LPDC production time is 41% lower thn GDC. However, sfety oxes cn e produced in different size, nd it is interesting to see the effect of this prmeter on the definition of the Brek-even Point. Some exmples re collected in Tle 5: s csting weight increses, the vlue of lnce is reduced, ecuse of the dvntgeous yield of LPDC with respect to GDC. Sfety cover: determintion of Brek-even Point nd structure of costs A similr pproch cn e dopted to evlute the potentil of LPDC in the production of covers. The different dt used in this Brek-even nlysis (with respect to the previous one) re shown in Tle 6. Min difference lies in the yield of GDC sfety cover, which is higher thn for GDC sfety ox, ecuse cover is smller nd more geometriclly simple thn ox, so it needs smller risers. Fig. 18 shows the grphic determintion of Brek-even point, which hs een clculted to e 4531 pcs/yer, y using eqution (1). Also in this cse, the Brek-even point decreses s the csting weight increses (Tle 7). Fig. 17 Unit cost structure of LPDC nd GDC sfety oxes. Fig. 17 Struttur unitri dei costi per i contenitori di sicurezz prodotti per colt in ss pressione e in grvità. 30 l metllurgi itlin

9 Cse Box weight Brek-even point A 3, B C D 16, Tle 7 Brek-even Point s function of sfety cover weight. Tell 7 Andmento del Brek-even point in funzione del peso del coperchio di sicurezz. 1) The LPDC process llows the chievement of cstings with very good soundness nd metllurgicl qulity. Inside the group of components studied, the rnking of qulity is LPDC > SC > GDC > HPDC 2) LPDC is chrcterised y high yield, leding to n optiml use of the lloy nd consequently in relevnt cost svings. 3) With specific reference to LPDC nd GDC, which hve een deeply investigted from the economicl point of view, they present different structure of the costs; in prticulr, LPDC ssures strong decrese in costs ssocited to rw mteril, needing, on the other side, higher equipment costs. 4) The Brek-even point, in terms of numer of pieces/yer for which LPDC strts to ecome convenient with respect to GDC, depends oviously on csting weight nd geometry; however, in the cse studied, it cn e set t out pieces/yer for 10 kg csting; it decreses to pieces/yer for 20 kg csting. From these considertion, it cn e rgued tht LPDC relly presents relevnt potentil, which cn e exploited in new nd vrious field nd pplictions. Memorie Fig. 18 Grphic determintion of Brek-even point for sfety covers. Fig. 18 Determinzione grfic del Brek-even point per il coperchio di sicurezz. Likewise in the previous cse, Fig. 19 shows unit cost per cent composition of sfety covers, reckoned t lnce output. Remrks done on Fig. 17 re still vlid. It is evident tht the gp in terms of rw mteril cost ecomes thinner, ecuse the GDC cover yield is higher thn the GDC ox yield. FINAL CONSIDERATIONS From the technicl investigtions nd the economicl evlutions crried out, some concluding remrks cn e done. REFERENCES [1] ASM Metls Hndook, 10th ed., vol. 15: Csting, ASM - Metls Prk, Ohio (1990). [2] J. CAMPBELL, R. A. HARDING, Csting Technology in TALAT 2.0 cd-rom, EAA, Bruxelles (2000). [3] J. CAMPBELL, Cstings, Butterworth, Oxford (1991). [4] A. PERRONE, F. BONOLLO, V. WAGNER, Alluminio Mgzine, 4 (1998), pp [5] S. SCHLEG, D.P. KAMICKI, Guide to csting nd moulding processes, Engineered csting solutions, Technicl rticles (2000). [6] J.R. BROWN, Non-ferrous foundrymn s hndook, Butterworth, Oxford (1999). [7] G.S. COLE, A.M. SHERMAN, Mterils Chrcteriztion 35 (1995), pp [8] A.C. STREET, The diecsting ook 2nd edition, Portcullis Press (1990) [9] T. YAMADA, H. USUI, H. TOSA, H. TERAUCHI, J.G. CONLEY, SAE Technicl Pper Series N (1992), pp [10] F. BONOLLO, S. ODORIZZI, Numericl Simultion of Foundry Processes, SGE, Pdov (2001) Figure 19 Unit cost structure of LPDC nd GDC sfety covers. Fig. 19 Struttur unitri dei costi per i coperchi di sicurezz prodotti per colt in ss pressione e in grvità. 6/2005 l metllurgi itlin 31

10 6/2005 Memorie COLATA IN GRAVITÀ E IN BASSA PRESSIONE DI LEGHE DI ALLUMINIO: UN CONFRONTO TECNICO ED ECONOMICO Prole chive: lluminio e leghe, difetti, fonderi, crtterizzzione mterili, impinti e ttrezzture ABSTRACT Tr i vri processi, convenzionli e innovtivi, di fonderi dell lluminio (Fig. 1), l colt in ss pressione (low pressure die csting, LPDC), il cui principio di funzionmento è descritto nelle Figg. 2 e 3, è crtterizzt d svriti vntggi: - elevt res, - eccellente controllo dei prmetri opertivi, - uon qulità metllurgic e tecnologic dei getti. Sono numerose le tipologie di getti otteniili (Fig.4), nche se finor il processo è stto prevlentemente pplicto l settore utomoilistico. In questo lvoro viene illustrto il potenzile tecnico ed economico dell colt in ss pressione finlizzt ll produzione di contenitori e coperchi di sicurezz per l industri chimic e petrolchimic (Fig. 5). Tli componenti sono prodotti d ELFIT SpA ricorrendo differenti processi. Oltre ll ss pressione, nel cso dei contenitori viene ust l colt in grvità in conchigli (grvity die csting, GDC). Per i coperchi, oltre i due processi citti, vengono usti nche l colt in si (snd csting, SC) e l pressocolt (high pressure diecsting, HPDC). Le leghe impiegte sono le seguenti - EN AB (AlSi10Mg) per il processo LPDC; - EN AB (AlSi13) per il processo GDC; - EN AB (AlSi12) per il processo HPDC; - EN AB (AlSi7) per il processo SC. Le indgini rdiogrfiche e mcrogrfiche (Figg. 6-9) hnno dimostrto, per i coperchi di sicurezz, l seguente grdutori di qulità: SC = LPDC > GDC > HPDC. Le indgini microstrutturli (metllogrfi + nlisi di immgine) sono stte effettute nelle regioni indicte in Fig. 10. Le microstrutture tipiche dei getti sono illustrte nelle Figg , mentre l T. 1 illustr i vlori dell spzitur dendritic secondri (secondry dendrite rm spcing, SDAS) nelle vrie regioni dei getti prodotti per LPDC. Nelle Figg e in T. 2 viene invece riportt l sintesi delle misure di porosità. Nei contenitori di sicurezz, si h un vlore medio pri llo 0,54% per il processo LPDC e ll 1,72% per il processo GDC. Nel cso dei coperchi, si h un contenuto di porosità di 0,19% per LPDC, 0,70% per SC, 0,99% per GDC e 2,97 % per HPDC. Sono stte effettute nche prove di durezz, i cui risultti sono rccolti in T. 3. In termini economici sono stti invece determinti i vlori di produzione che rendono un processo più conveniente rispetto ll ltro, utilizzndo l Brek-even nlysis, sotto l ipotesi voler confrontre LPDC e GDC dovendo cquistre un nuov mcchin. I dti di input dell nlisi sono rccolti nelle T. 4 e 6. A fronte di un mggior investimento inizile per l mcchin LPDC, si ottengono con questo processo un res più elevt e tempi ciclo più revi. Il Brek-even point vntggio dell LPDC, nel cso dei contenitori di sicurezz, si h in corrispondenz d un produzione di 2143 pezzi/nno (Fig. 16), con l struttur unitri dei costi descritt in Fig. 17. Come illustrto in T. 5, il vlore del Brek-even point è funzione del peso del getto. Nel cso dei coperchi di sicurezz, il rek-even point fvore del processo LPDC si h 4531 pezzi/nno (Fig. 18); l effetto del peso del getto è sintetizzto in T. 7, mentre in Fig. 19 è riportt l struttur dei costi. In definitiv, il potenzile del processo LPDC si present dvvero significtivo, nche per l produzione di componenti per settori differenti d quello utomoilistico. 32 l metllurgi itlin

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