Since September 2013, DGS AG has been producing what is possibly the largest die casting made in Europe with outer dimensions of 2,050 x 1,230 x 54.5 mm in its works in St. Gallen, Switzerland. The part serves as a frame mount for an innovative solar collector made by Hoval, a producer of solar power installations. The new module is equally suited for rooftop as well as for in-roof installation. Notwithstanding its dimensions, the finished part weighs just 6,400 grams. Despite its extremely filigree construction, the frame is designed to resist wind speeds of up to 140 km/h and snow loads of up to 700 kg/m2. A further requirement is that under all circumstances, the tightness of the gasket protecting the solar modules must be ensured to prevent water infiltrations that would impair the collector function and could eventually result in a total breakdown.
Compared to a welded construction made from profiles, the new casting solution offers several advantages. The integration of attachment parts such as edge reinforcements, consoles and stops saves the customer complex and costly welding operations, which always pose a risk with respect to tightness. Furthermore, the special aluminium alloy used for the part does not need surface protection.
The casting is produced on an SCD 320 diecasting machine with a locking force of 3,200 tons. The size of the die and ensuring a uniform good casting quality despite the extremely long flow paths (>2m) represented a challenge of its own. Particular attention had to be paid to avoiding warping due to the shrinkage of the massive sprue on the one hand and due to the ejection and diecutting on the other. Further problems had to be solved in connection with the handling of the very large and delicate frame using a robot. Ensuring the exact function of the cutting die when stamping the contour despite having to cut long edges proved equally challenging. DGS was able to meet all customer requirements with respect to dimensional accuracy and reproducibility.
DGS will exhibit the frame at its booth at EUROGUSS 2014.
DGS Druckguss Systeme AG produces large structural castings made of aluminium as well as die cast parts in magnesium and zinc. It has a total workforce of 750 and three plants in Switzerland, the Czech Republic and China.