The demand for low pressure die castings is on the increase and foundries are seeking specialists in this casting technique. Next October the second edition of the LPDC Low Pressure Die Casting School will start, to form new LPDC Technologists
by Greta Consoli
The increasingly demanding requests of the automotive world, in the structural component segment, deriving from the need for lightweighting, consumption reduction, performance improvement, recyclability, safeguarding the environment and aesthetics, are driving foundries to adopt more and more cutting-edge techniques and materials. “The automotive industry is increasingly seeking smaller, less cumbersome, lighter but much stronger components”, Enio Gritti, from FMB, the aluminium foundry in Pavone Mella (near Brescia) part of the OMR Group, explains. “Hence the need for a process capable of ensuring more reliability, greater strength and firmness of the material: LPDC (Low Pressure Die Casting)”.
“The low pressure die casting technique”, Gritti explains, “allows to obtain castings with better mechanical performances with respect to high pressure die casting and gravity shell castings, thanks to the possibility of managing the process, obtaining castings with finer and more compact metallurgical structures, capable of providing better results and greater reliability in the durability and stress tests necessary to obtain product approval”. “Following the development of low pressure techniques, the request of lower CO2 emissions and the ensuing lightweighting of vehicles and the prevalent application of aluminium castings in the automotive world – Gritti continues – a large increase in the volume of structural castings is envisaged in this sector. On the market, however, there is still a low production capacity of foundry castings and companies which moved to low pressure production are still few in number”.
“What we definitely lack nowadays to keep abreast of the times and to be competitive are expert foundry technologists, with knowledge as to the behaviour of alloys, competence regarding heat treatments and casting process, which is certainly more complex with respect to die casting”.
Purposely in order to meet the demands of foundries in the territory, AQM and CSMT set up last year a training project dedicated to low pressure die casting: the LPDC School, an acronym which stands for Low Pressure Die Casting School, aimed at forming the new Low Pressure Die Casting Technologists (or LPDC Technologists), certified professionals with metallurgical know-how, practical abilities for the management of production cycles, knowledge of methods, tools and processing techniques of low pressure die casting. Following the excellent start of the first edition, which in 2017 was attended by 23 students coming from numerous companies based in the Brescia area and in the Veneto, Trentino and Emilia regions, the start of the new edition is scheduled for October 3rd, It is targeted to employees of foundries or companies which machine, transform or use low pressure die castings or created using other technologies, who might take up positions with functional, management or technical responsibility, as well as persons having completed high school or university courses wishing to find qualified jobs in the industry’s companies.
The course, structured along 202 hours of training, develops with classroom lessons, theoretical sessions and practical fieldwork. Teaching activity is carried out by professionals with a vast experience in the Low Pressure Die Casting industry, AQM’s metallurgists and experts, university lecturers and experts from companies specializing in the machining and manufacture of products and the supply of services connected to the LPDC world.