The Swiss technology group Bühler AG and the Swedish Comptech Rheocasting AB have agreed on a strategic minority stake for Bühler in Comptech, a provider of rheocasting devices for the automotive, trucking and telecommunications industries. With this investment, Bühler is supporting the further promotion of rheocasting process technology in high-pressure chill casting. Rheocasting enables customers to create additional opportunities for die casting applications and offer more sustainable solutions. Comptech Rheocasting AB will continue to operate as an independent company and will focus on developing the rheocasting process and serving customers around the world.
Through the collaboration, Comptech and Bühler will combine their respective strengths to further industrialize rheocasting technology. Rheocasting is considered a pioneering process technology for casting large-format, thin-walled and high-strength parts.
“The foundry and automotive industries are intensively involved in megacasting. To achieve the required yield and quality goals, the die casting ecosystem must advance hardware, cell automation and process technology. We consider rheocasting to be an essential basic technology – we are happy to work with Comptech on this,” said Markus Hofer, Head of Business Development Bühler Advanced Materials.
Rheocasting technology has been developed by Comptech Rheocasting AB of Sweden for over 15 years and has the potential to significantly improve the high pressure die casting (HPDC) process and open new markets for foundries.
Per Jansson, CEO of Comptech Rheocasting AB, said: “It is with great satisfaction that we see the market’s growing interest and see the partnership with Bühler as strategically important to meet the expectations of markets worldwide now and in the future.”
Rheocasting as preparation for melting
Rheocasting is a melt preparation for the HPDC process. Mass-controlled cooling of the molten alloy creates a high solids content in the aluminum alloy slurry. The melt becomes structurally viscous and a partially laminar flow filling of the mold enables the processing of various alloys and the production of components with long flow lengths and thin walls.
The parts produced have a low error rate, which has a positive effect on part quality and other process steps, such as heat treatment and welding. The use of this process will provide significant benefits and create additional opportunities for foundries that currently use other production processes.
Rheocasting is considered a pioneering process technology for casting large-format and thin-walled parts on an industrial scale, for example in megacasting. This is an important issue in the die casting and automotive industries when it comes to advanced vehicle structures.
Sustainability and experience
Sustainability is a key aspect when integrating more aluminum into the body structure. Aluminum die casting offers key advantages such as easier recycling enabling a circular economy, a simpler manufacturing process and a reduction in weight of the final part, resulting in lower energy consumption in the end-use phase of the life cycle.
Rheocasting can further increase the sustainability impact of die-cast structures by using primary and secondary alloys that have a lower CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) footprint due to lower silicon content than traditional HPDC alloys.
(Source: Bühler Group)