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December 2010


Local manufacturer increases output using CSIRO technology

The CASTvac™ chill vent valve
The CASTvac™ chill vent valve
Courtesy of Andrew Barcham

Nissan Casting Australia Pty Ltd (NCAP), Australia’s largest exporter of aluminium automotive castings, is using CSIRO’s CASTvac™ technology to improve productivity.

CASTvac™ helps reduce costs per casting and has been a significant contributor in NCAP maintaining its position as a major global car part supplier.

Savings on one cast part produced by Nissan with annual volume of 150,000 were just under $100,000 per annum. This was achieved by eliminating machine stoppages due to blocked valves.

CASTvac™ is a robust, low-maintenance vacuum valve for high pressure die casting, which is more reliable than mechanical vacuum valves, more effective than chill vents, and proven in commercial casting production. CASTvac™ has been developed by scientists from CSIRO’s Light Metals Flagship high pressure die casting team working in a CAST CRC project, and has been patented by the CAST CRC.

Nissan Australia have replaced several mechanical valves with CASTvac™, and found that CASTvac™ significantly improves productivity by eliminating machine stoppages due to molten aluminium blockages.

A high pressure die casting mould showing the CASTvac™ valve in place
A high pressure die casting mould
showing the CASTvac™ valve in place
Courtesy of Mark Fergus

Productivity is improved because the machines make more parts per hour, and because the die is consistently maintained at working temperature rather than cooling down when blocked valves are removed and needing to be “warmed up” before production resumes.

Fluctuations in die temperature increase metal wastage due to increased reject rates (castings which are remelted) and warmup shots (molten metal used to heat the die).

CASTvac™ has proved so reliable that toolroom maintenance was dramatically reduced and the valve life was significantly better than expected.

Nissan Australia’s positive experience with CASTvac™ has stimulated interest from the wider Nissan global group of companies. Nissan Japan is currently exploring opportunities for uptake of CASTvac™.

For more information contact Mr Gary Savage.


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