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Megacasting solution unveiled in Europe

Bühler presented its megacasting solution, the Carat 840, to customers and partners for the first time in Europe at the ‘Megacasting unveiled’ event in Austria in June.

During the event, representatives of the diecasting and automotive industry had the unique opportunity to experience the solution live, to take a tour through and around the Carat 840 accompanied by Bühler’s experts and learnt more about the entire diecasting process. With this cutting-edge equipment, Bühler’s customers can produce structural castings for automotive body-in-white assemblies and with that reduce complexity in production, minimise production costs, and lower CO2e (CO2 equivalent) emissions.

Bühler has been active in diecasting for nearly one hundred years. Megacasting is a further development of the structural process (complex, thin-walled parts produced using diecasting) which Bühler has driven since the early 2000s. With about 900 machines in operation, Bühler’s Carat series, with locking forces ranging from 10,500 to 92,000 kilonewtons (kN), is a successful solution and is bringing megacasting production to the next level. At the event in St Valentin (Linz), Austria, Bühler showcased its megacasting technology with 8,400t locking force to international representatives of the diecasting and automotive industry for the first time in Europe. With a height of 7.6m and a floor area of around 160m2, the Carat 840 can inject over 200kg of liquid aluminium into a die within milliseconds.

Reducing complexity in automotive manufacturing

The production of larger and more complex parts is considered groundbreaking by many car manufacturers who are moving in this direction or thinking about adopting that solution. Megacastings reduce complexity in production by enabling between 70 to 100 parts to be replaced by a single die cast part. These single-piece castings will generally be produced close to the automotive assembly line, which allows for better integration and reduced transport.

“The future of the automotive market is being shaped by various forces. The main factors today are reducing complexity, increasing productivity, and improving sustainability,” says Cornel Mendler, managing director die casting at Bühler Group. “Our event was a unique chance for our customers and partners to experience the innovative technology behind megacasting and network with members of the industry from across the entire value chain.”

Martin Lagler, director global product management & marketing die casting at Bühler Group, goes further and says: “By stepping into this market and supplying OEMs directly, our presence in the automotive industry has become stronger. It is therefore important for us to show the industry what we can offer and how we can work together on future-proof solutions for lighter and more sustainable vehicles.”

Sustainability as a driver for aluminium diecasting

Apart from the reduction in complexity, aluminium castings have the potential to drastically reduce CO2e emissions in manufacturing, with fewer processing steps and especially when using renewable energy or electric melting. CO2e per part is also reduced by minimising waste and using low CO2e aluminium alloys. The aluminium that goes into overflows and runners can be remelted directly and reused in the diecasting cell, thereby avoiding transport for recycling. Our internal studies show that compared to benchmark emissions today, megacasting offers the potential to reduce CO2e emissions by 70 per cent. This can be achieved by using aluminium alloys with low CO2e footprint, avoiding fossil fuels for melting, and powering all operations with renewable electricity. This allows car manufacturers to reduce the carbon footprint of their products,” explains Martin Lagler.

Bühler Advanced Materials – partner for the automotive industry

Bühler’s Advanced Materials business not only provides diecasting solutions for the automotive industry, but also actively engages in the fields of battery production and sensor coating, thereby offering key solutions for the vehicle of the future. The grinding and dispersing business is heavily involved in the production of battery slurries solutions for electric cars. Bühler Leybold Optics is driving solutions for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) coatings. “With the broad portfolio in our advanced materials business, we offer innovative and state-of-the-art solutions for the automotive industry,” says Marcel Natterer, CEO advanced materials at Bühler.