Toolmaking in Die Casting

Did you know that a single die half used in our foundry can weigh twelve tonnes? At CastAlum, our toolmakers ensure that these dies are in good working order for our die casting operations. In this post, we’ll be shining a light on toolmaking in die casting and the work our toolroom department does to keep our die cast machines producing high quality aluminium components.

Bringing Toolmaking In-House

Over the years, our in-house toolmaking capabilities and skills for die casting have increased to a level that we are now able to perform tasks that would previously been outsourced to specialists without question. Our toolmakers work with our project engineers to perform ongoing maintenance and make alterations to dies while they are offline. This includes being aware of ongoing changes to customer schedules, upcoming die changes, and working to ensure the tool performs well the next time it is scheduled. Our toolmakers and CAD engineers are always working together to solve problems and make improvements to a tool’s efficiency.

As is the case with all departments, toolroom engineers may be called to deal with breakdowns at any time. This requires a cool head and a wide range of troubleshooting skills. Engineers are required to possess a good working knowledge of all aspects of the die casting machine and its ancillary equipment. Each cell has its own trimming tool that the toolroom is responsible for alongside the dies themselves.

In all this work, the safety of our engineers is paramount. Which is why we have personnel dedicated to continually improving our processes to ensure they guarantee a safe working environment. A single die half can weigh anywhere from 4 to 12 tonnes! Meaning our lifting equipment must always be in full working order.

A modern die casting tool suspended from a factory crane

A die half being craned into position

The Profile of a Die Casting Toolmaker

Given their essential role in keeping our foundry operational, excellent communication skills are necessary for every toolmaker. Engineers are constantly working with every department. They help stores keep spend at a minimum while meeting production requirements, work with quality to track and fix dimensional issues, and our process engineering team to find solutions and make improvements continually.

As well as a holistic mindset, toolroom engineers must also possess a wide range of skills. Our team are capable of our onsite turning and milling machines, with conventional and CNC variations of each. Plus, they must possess good welding skills, be able to fettle by hand, and understand the cell’s hydraulic and electrical system. More recently we have made huge strides in our water-cooling capabilities, and our toolmakers have played an important role in innovating cooling circuits using printed inserts produced by our in-house additive manufacturing centre

A testament to our in-house training and development programme is how many of our toolroom engineers have learnt some or all these skills while employed at CastAlum! Our current toolroom team includes individuals with a background in electrical work, car mechanics, and carpentry! Several of them started on our shop floor as die cast operators before training in our toolroom department. We have also had several apprentices, who after rotating through the departments as part of our scheme, have gone on to become excellent toolmakers.

So, if you’re interested in getting into toolmaking as a career, it’s never too late! The most important quality of every toolmaker is that they enjoy the work they do. That is clearly apparent in the high-quality technical work accomplished by our toolroom engineers in the foundry every single day. To explore opportunities and learn how you can become a part of our team, visit our careers page.

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Die designs are always increasing in intricacy and precision

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