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I remember distinctly my 1st knowledge of creating a die that was designed to die casting manufacturer into a deep, contoured shape. Not understanding much about aluminum, I assumed that it must be extremely formable-after all, they can make beverage cans as a result, don’t they?

My first thoughts were, “This is a cake walk. I’ll bet this stuff stretches a mile. Yep, it should stretch a great deal because it’s really soft.”

This thought process was obviously a testimony to my ignorance regarding aluminum.

I believe I lost a big portion of my hair working to make that job work. I have to have spent weeks fighting splits and wrinkles. It wasn’t prior to I came to the conclusion that drawing and stretching aluminum were not as elementary as I had thought.

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Seeing that I am just a bit wiser with respect to the formability of aluminum and aluminum alloys, I know that my problem really was not the fault of the aluminum, but instead the reality that during the die tryout stages, I had been thinking like steel rather than aluminum. Up until then, everything that we could have done to correct the issue having a die which was forming steel, I have done with all the aluminum. Obviously, I failed.

The truth is that aluminum will not be steel. It doesn’t behave like steel, it doesn’t flow like steel, plus it certainly doesn’t stretch like steel. So can this make aluminum tough to form? No, not if you feel like aluminum.

Aluminum is not necessarily a bad metal; it’s merely a different metal. Like any metal, it offers pros and cons, and the bottom line is to comprehend the material’s behavior before designing a part or creating this process and die which can be to generate it.


In case you are comparing aluminum to deep-drawing steel, generally you will see that aluminum does not have close to the elongation ability of steel. As an illustration, typical deep-drawing steel has elongation somewhere around 45 percent, while a 3003-O temper, meaning “dead soft,” aluminum could have elongation near 30 percent.

Generally speaking and based on the alloy, aluminum has poor stretch distribution characteristics in comparison to deep-drawing steel. It is regarded as a material that strains locally, and therefore most of the stretch that occurs when the metal is put through a stretching operation will occur in a little, localized area.

However, understand that the forming punch geometry has a greater affect on the way the metal stretches compared to metal itself. Stamped parts to get produced from aluminum has to be designed to ensure the part shape forces the metal to distribute stretch more evenly.

Aluminum ironing process

Figure 2Generally speaking, aluminum is a good material when ironing may be used. During ironing, the metal is squeezed down a vertical wall to increase the top area while decreasing the metal’s thickness. Ironing may be the basic process employed to make beverage cans.

Parts requiring significant amounts of stretch in a tiny area with small male radii are doomed for failure if designed of aluminum, particularly if the final geometry is going to be made in one forming operation. In contrast, large, liberal radii and flowing, gentle geometries would be best-suitable for aluminum.


First, don’t confuse drawability with stretchability. Drawability may be the metal’s capability to flow plastically when exposed to tension, while stretchability is definitely the increase of surface area as the result of tension.

Based on the type, aluminum can draw adequately (see Figure 1). It has a good strength-to-weight ratio which is well-suited to the deep-drawing process, along with multiple draw reductions. The reductions percentages are very corresponding to those often used when drawing deep-drawing steel.

Tooling Interface

Although aluminum is soft, it can nonetheless be abrasive. Though it does not rust conventionally, it forms a white powdery substance called aluminum oxide, that is utilized to make 10dexppky wheels. That means exactly the same abrasive that you may have been utilizing to grind your tool steel die sections could be present about the aluminum sheet surface.

You are able to prevent this poor interface through the use of high-pressure barrier lubricants, which keep the aluminum from touching the tool steel sections during forming and cutting.

Most of the time, aluminum is a great material when ironing works extremely well. During ironing, the metal is squeezed down a vertical wall to increase the outer lining area while decreasing the metal’s thickness. It improves the metal sheet’s surface area by squeezing the metal rather than exposing it to tension. Ironing may be the basic process employed to make beverage cans (seeFigure 2).

When aluminum is ironed, it almost compressively flows like a hot liquid on the wall in the die cavity and punch, and it also shines into a mirrorlike surface finish.

Aluminum has more springback than soft draw-quality steel. However, the quantity of springback that occurs may be controlled by designing the stamped product with respect to the springback value.