OUR #FC21S TECHNOLOGY WILL OFFER AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY A FEASIBLE SOLUTION

#FC21S is an innovative process for the spraying step in aluminium die casting process which we have developed in collaboration between Fonderie Cervati and Vibe, in which a pioneer mould release agent which is highly concentrated and wax-free is nebulised through an ad-hoc designed micro-spraying device. The pieces manufactured using this process have 8% less porosity, which implies better mechanical properties and 4% better impact resistance than structural aluminium casted in the traditional way –with a diluted mould release agent-, improving the quality of the piece and its adequateness for its use is car’s structure. Moreover, due the nebulization system and the remarkable properties of the mould-release agent, the amount of this agent required is much smaller (just 10 ml per mould), hence allowing a reduction of 80% in waste-streams and 30% less energy consumption, increasing 15% productivity of the line and increasing each piece’s cost-effectiveness. Altogether, we calculate a reduction of about 25% in the global cost of the process.


Immagine


Nevertheless, its high pressure die casting for structural car pieces presents a series of key parameters. Since the molten aluminium is injected in a steel mould very quickly under high pressure, a mould release agent must be applied so as to separate the molten metal from the mould, avoiding the corrosion that the process causes to the moulds, and contributing to the characteristics of the piece. The most common mould-release agents are water-based lubricants, normally a diluted oil-in-water emulsion. Hence these diluted lubricants cause waste-water effluents, which need to be stored in the metal casting processing plant and transport them to a water-treatment plant for treating them, with a subsequent expensive de-polluting steps. Moreover, large quantities, of up to 12 L of mould-release agent, are required for every die-casting, and thus the amount of waste generated is vast.
A second crucial parameter for aluminium high-pressure die casting is the alloy used, as regular aluminium cannot be used in structural pieces, and only certain alloys with enhanced performance can be used.

EVOLUTION AND CURRENT STAGE OF #FC21S

Our expertise in the aluminium die casting and lubricants industry enabled us to identify the mentioned key parameters of the die casting process. This resulted in the development of possible ways to tackle these issues, which are the basis of the #FC21S process:
  1. Taking advantage of its close collaboration with Chem-Trend, Vibe requested the chemical multinational to develop an exclusive formulation of release agent (EUDC-15-0101A) for the exclusive use of our consortium. This release agent is water-based, highly concentrated, and wax-free: The absence of wax improves the metallurgical quality of die castings (implying less gas development during casting, therefore less internal porosity; less residuals on the casting surface) and to a better sprayability.

On the other hand, using its vast experience with lubricants and their application systems Vibe developed an ad-hoc application system for this innovative de-moulding agent consisting in a precise 0.1 mm nebulizing head (in contrast to regular devices which have a needle between 0.5 and 1.5 mm) and a watchmaker in order to attain a high nebulization degree with the highly concentrated agent, and ensure a correct distribution along the mould of the concentrated release agent.
  1. On the other hand, Fonderie Cervati began using Aluminium Magsimal® for its castings, a high-ductility die casting metal specially designed for building structural parts in automotive industry developed by the German company Rheinfelden Alloys. Aluminium Magsimal®-59 presents itself like a ‘difficult’ alloy to deal with, as its physical properties are significantly different from the commonly used AlSi-alloys: due to its silicon content of average 2%, the alloy has higher volumetric shrinkage compared to AlSi-alloys (reference values are respectively 0.6-1.1% versus 0.4-0.6%). In this sense, FCer adjusted its production process for the integration of this special material, and manufactured 3 different types of pieces with this material

Technical Objectives Commercial Objectives
# Fine-tune the composition of the innovative mould release agent in terms of density at 20°C (1 g/cm3), viscosity (< 50 mPa•s), corrosion protection (>80%), foaming and biocidal activity, releaseability (>100%) and cleanliness, and optimize the design of the nebulization system, in terms of drop size, geometry and diameter (0.1-05 mm [WP1]
# Optimise the design of the thermoregulation and accumulation system (reducing temperature gradients to 20-30°C), and integration with the nebulization system and into FCer's processing line [WP2]
# Accomplishing the industrialisation of the #FC21S by both our consortium partners, with the aim of setting the infrastructure and adjusting the needs for producing 2,092,500 pieces and 21 systems annually by 2023 [WF3].
To introduce #FC21S technologies in the market by 2019
# Become a validated supplier (Tier 2) within the automotive industry
# To widen commercial channels of our partners, becoming part of relevant associations and dosing commercial agreements with at least 5 new customers by 2023 [WF4]

We seek to reach a 2.18% of the market share of the EU automotive structural aluminium die casting, reaching revenues of about €4.62 million by 2023

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. GA 733619
© Fonderie Cervati s.r.l. - Via Valcamonica 21/S - 25132 Brescia - Italy - Cap.Soc € 100.000,00 - REA: (BS)547516
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