Automotive die casters are machines that create the metal pieces necessary for completing automobiles, such as grilles, engine parts, and radiator parts. Die casting is the process of melting metal to the melting point, then pressing it into a die mold that gives the metal its final shape. Often this process is completed through mechanical means, but many factories still use some form of human involvement in the process.
A new kind of automotive die casters is completely robotic. The entire system is automatic so that humans do not have to come close to the searing hot metal. The use of robots to complete this process is fascinating and quite enjoyable to watch. I had the chance to experience this process first-hand recently, and I was impressed at the precision and accuracy that the robots were able to maintain.
First a robot poured the hot metal into the die mold. The mold then pressed the metal under high pressure into the desired shape for the metal while cooling the metal enough so that it returned to a solid form. After pressing, a small door opened up from the die press machine and a robotic arm removed the shaped metal piece from the machine.
The robot arm then dipped the metal piece into a cleaning and protective chemical bath to prevent the metal from oxidizing and to further harden the metal. The robot arm then placed the hardened and cooled metal piece onto a conveyor belt for conveyance to the next stage of processing.
This robotic and automated die processing of metal is not the fastest process in the world. It takes about one to two minutes to take the metal from liquid to solid state. However, this process is ideal for metal pieces that require a high level of precision, and also helps prevent injuries to human workers.