The main driver behind the selection of manufacturing materials and processes is the attempt to minimize overall product cost, whilst satisfying market demands for product performance and appearance. Note that it is overall product cost that is important, not simply the sum of the cost of its individual components.
The cost of producing, finishing, delivering and assembling zinc alloy pressure diecastings depend on a wide variety of factors, but minimizing the purchase price of the diecast component does not always minimize the overall cost of the end product. For instance purchasing castings to a tighter statistical quality control regime may cost extra but increased product reliability could confer overwhelming cost advantages. Also adding features to the diecasting that enable automated assembly of the product will add to the cost of the diecasting but reduce overall costs. When only relatively small quantities of parts are required the cost of tooling becomes more important than casting cost and casting design should take this fact into account.
The purpose of this publication is to help product designers to identify when a zinc alloy diecasting is appropriate for their purpose and to help in the formulation of a good diecasting design. Good design is vital to achieve minimum overall product cost.
It is impossible to give generalized information that will rapidly identify the most cost effective manufacturing route for specific products. The designer will need to use his/her knowledge and experience to zero in on the most likely candidate materials and processes. The information in this section reveals how in general terms zinc alloy diecasting costs compare with those of other diecastable and mouldable materials.