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TOOL-LIFE 4 CAST-LITE - longer TOOL LIFE for European LIghT mEtal CASTing industry


Customers demand longer die life periods in casting industry. Light alloys (aluminium, magnesium) are becoming the main material of choice for European automotive and aeronautics sectors and casting companies must provide: more shots per tool (increased repeatability), decreased consumption of the lubricant, decreased cycle times, better quality of castings, decreased tool maintenance costs and increased time interval between mainetnance.

Description of Projectidea

The project proposes finding an advanced solution that would greatly ENHANCE DIE LIFE in the European LIGHT METAL CASTING industry via improved tool materials, improved tool coatings, improvement of the tool lubrication process, optimization of thermal management of tools; REDUCING STRESS, CRACK CREATION AND PROPAGATION IN THE TOOL, etc. Project builds upon numerous and important projects from the field that were funded under FP6 and especially FP7 programs. Due to its specifics project can eb focused on different foundries ; aluminium, provide solutions for larger or smaller SME aluminium foundries and can involve bigger or smaller tool suppliers. OEMs via their Tier-1 suppliers today demand zero-defect products; Use of light metals for components is today more and more achieved via casting process and not via extrusion. Modern lightweight die castings die-castings today must be without bigger (porosity, leaks, cracks) or smaller defects (burrs) and must be of geometrical shape within tolerances. This makes the importance of die-casting tools that must ensure meeting of these criteria and at the same time repeatability (upwards of 100.000 shots) ever more visible. At the same time MAINTENANCE COSTS OF THE TOOL must be brought to a MINIMUM which means much HIGHER TOOL RELIABILITY DEMANDS. In order to avoid unneccessary trial tests, SIMULATION and PREDICTIVE SOFTWARE is needed in order to assess the state of the tool.

Consortium of partners, already involved

HIDRIA: A major Slovenian automotive component supplier to some important European Tier-1 and OEMs. HIDRIA has some established contacts with universities and R&D centers successful in H2020 projects and already cooperates in two H2020 projects (as coordinator in one of them). HIDRIA Alutec BU business unit manufactures aluminium die-castings covering all the main processes: high-pressure die casting, machining, and quality control. HIDRIA has two plants in Slovenia and a fully equipped research institute together with an in-house tool-shop. HIDRIAs castings are currently focused on two(highly demanding) fields: a) internal combustion engine components (water pumps) b) steering system components (pinions, columns, pumps, el. motor housings). In the future we plan to focus also on electric drivetrain components.

Partners sought to complete the consortium

- light metal component die casting manufacturers from automotive/aeronautics sector
- tool life software simulation and analysis provider
- R&D institution that has knowledge in high pressure die-casting
- University with knowledge in material deformation, stress and tempearture effects
- die-casting tool manufacturer
- tool life software simulation and analysis provider
- coating/lubricant provider
- vacuum system manufacturer
- casting mold cooling system manufacturer
- supplier from the sector (foundry) willing to participate


Systems of materials characterisation for model, product and process optimisation
In-line measurement and control for micro-/nano-enabled high-volume manufacturing for enhanced reliability
Novel design and predictive maintenance technologies for increased operating life of production systems


/ Rok Podobnik
HIDRIA d.o.o.
Nazorjeva 6a
1000 Ljubljana
Phone: +386 8 202 8016
Organisation: Industry

Responsible NCP

Doroteja Zlobec
Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport