case studies

Heat sink die casting

What is heat sink?
The heat sink is a heat exchanger that disperses heat from an object by transferring the heat to another medium — either air or a liquid coolant — thus moderating the operating temperature of the object.  Usually, a heat sink is a metal structure with multiple flat surfaces and an array of fins or protrusions, designed to maximize contact with the object's surface so as to better absorb and then dissipate the heat from the object.
Manuturing methods
Heat sinks can be made by various metal-working methods such as extrusion, , machining etc., and the method of choice usually depends on the desired end shape as well as the material to be used. Extrusion is the most common and cheapest method, and is used when the design is not too complex.  Stamping is another commonly used method to make heatsinks, especially for low cost, high volume production runs.  Machining can produce intricately designed heat sinks but is a comparatively expensive process. Cold forging  is a newer and hitherto rarely used method of manufacturing heat sinks, but may be suitable for the manufacture of heat sinks with many small pin fins. Heat sinks can also be made via skiving and swaging, but due to the high cost of these processes, they are used only in special cases and where cost is not a constraint.

Die casting heat sinks
Die casting is a popular method of manufacturing heat sinks, especially those with complex geometries that cannot be made with other conventional metal-working methods.  Die casting allows for a uniform finish and affords good dimensional accuracy. This process is most suitable and cost-effective for high volume production; In addition, the heat sink along with the fins and pins, enclosure and other elements can be molded in a single cast, thus further lowering production costs.
Benefit of aluminum alloys
Aluminum alloys are a common material used in die cast heat sinks, as they are lightweight and relatively inexpensive. They are the material of choice in the manufacture of heat sinks for automotive applications, circuit boards, communication, avionics and electronic systems. Moreover, this material can help save costs by eliminating assembly steps, improving production efficiency and reducing capital investments. Because it is injection molded, designers have the freedom to create non-traditional shapes, use in-mold decoration and optimize joining techniques.

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