The objective of the project is to develop a sensor to improve the quality and consistency of aluminum die castings. A vibration sensor (accelerometer) for machine diagnostics will be used to allow problems to be detected and solved during the casting cycle, leading to less scrap, improved surface finish, higher dimensional repeatability, and improved internal integrity. Vibration diagnostics often provides insight into the normal operational characteristics of equipment and can detect many anomalous operational characteristics as well as provide monitoring of the operational characteristics over their normal ranges. Vibration sensors can be used to measure plunger characteristics due to normal operation of off-normal operation such as “sticking.” After development, the technology will be validated in a production environment at the facilities of an industrial partner.
The use of aluminum alloy castings for automotive applications is rapidly increasing due to the need for weight savings leading to a reduction in fuel consumption and emission levels. The replacement of a ferrous component by an aluminum alloy component typically results in mass savings of 50%. Since a large proportion of automotive castings are made by die casting, technologies that improve the quality and consistency of aluminum die castings will increase their application.
The goal of this project is to evaluate and implement vibration sensors for machine diagnostics of die casting machines which will improve the quality and consistence of production castings made by the die casting industry. Emphasis will be placed on the application of commercially available sensors, and on their implementation in a robust and practical format that may be readily transferred to the die casting industry.
The sensor technologies implemented in this program will allow problems to be detected and solved during the casting cycle, leading to less scrap, improved surface finish, higher dimensional repeatability, and improved internal integrity. Consequently, the technologies can significantly impact the economics of the casting process as well as allow die casters to expand the market for die castings. The technologies implemented may also be transferred to other pressure casting processes such as squeeze casting and semi-solid metal casting.