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Deco Products Company
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Zinc is Natural Fit for Many Applications, Company Officials Say
Deco Products (www.Decoprod.com) has specialized in providing custom and standardized zinc parts and components in a variety of configurations for many years. According to several managers in the company, zinc is one of the most versatile and cost effective metals for a large array of applications. It would seem to be a perfect material for the large, strong transportation products that Deco churns out regularly with its 88 die casting machines utilizing zinc alloys #2, #3, #5, #7, and ZA-8.
"Today, the young engineers are not taught about zinc; they're taught about magnesium or titanium or aluminum," says Jim Raptes, Deco's eastern sector sales manager. "Number one, zinc alloys are a great choice as a component because tool life is generally ten times longer. And, number two, you can cast things in net shapes with tighter tolerances than with other alloys. Number three, zinc is very friendly when it comes to finishing processes. A lot of the consumer parts that you touch every day are zinc castings. Zinc brings a lot to the table for the consumer.
"It's also very easy to machine, it's more malleable, and it has better physical and mechanical properties versus other alloys," he continued. "Strength is a very important issue, whether for sheer or impact. All of these elements are a huge advantage with zinc. We tell prospective customers to bring their parts to us so we can let our engineering department show you how we can help you convert your component to a zinc die casting."
Zinc die casting is routinely used to create net shape parts with tight tolerances and thin walls, all the while taking advantage of long tool life. Deco's customers for custom parts are so diverse that part requirements and geometry vary greatly.
"As a custom die caster with hundreds of customers, we get demands from all over the map and they all have different requirements, states Mike Murphy, the company's engineering manager. "They're looking for someone to help them with their parts. The parts that they're looking at from us are typically a fraction of an ounce up to eight pounds, and up to 24 inches in length. They're looking for high-volume production in some cases, which zinc lends itself to because of long tool life. Part parameters, process volumes, and because we can help them with their designs are the three drivers that they come to us for."
Deco's customers don't always know how to make their designs work optimally for zinc die casting. Therefore, the company's engineers play a large role in assisting its customers during the concept and design phase of production.
"The majority of our design work is trying to give them what they need," says Mike Murphy. "We don't want to compromise their requirements, but at the same time, we want to make it manufacturable for our processes. Selection of the parting line and the way to create the features that the customer is looking for with their design are important. So is material selection, making sure zinc is the right material for their application, and making them aware of the number of zinc alloys."
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