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Driving the Digital Transformation in High Pressure Die Casting – Part #1





High-Pressure Die-Casting operations are – among other metal casting/foundry operations – the last frontier when it comes to digital transformation and digitalization of company processes as ancient traditions carried forward by generations and huge amounts of experience may be replaced by modern state-of-the-art software based company solution technologies, making the industry more attractive to young talent and providing new insights.

Although metals & alloys have been melted and cast in foundries and for many centuries and for die-casting since many decades; ever since sophisticated planning and control systems were introduced, processes have changed, and these are now constantly being put to test.

Cost transparency, material, and energy efficiency and process security in real time, combined with the much-quoted “fast time to market”, have become essential if especially high- pressure die-casting operations want to survive. The digital transformation in high-pressure die-casting but very much in the foundry world is taking place right now with more and more interest in items like IoT = Internet of Things, BIG DATA management, Data Analytics and ultimately Data Visualization in real time – if possible.

In simple terms: Now total “COST to CAST” is paramount and not merely INR / kg in costing.

In this blog entry, a case study is presented on how a high-pressure die-casting operation can achieve process controls using “Foundry 4.0” insights, but the journey to that goal can be long.



To achieve an equivalent of “FOUNDRY 4.0”, it will be essential to embrace – among others – FRP solution technology.

is derived from the well-known abbreviation ERP which stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. But instead of an undefined “Enterprise” the focus is exclusively on “metal casting operations or Foundries” which have significantly different corporate processes compared to standard ERP systems users – this has led to the abbreviation FRP or Foundry Resource Planning solution technology, taking care of ALL foundry and (high-pressure) die-casting specific processes from inquiry to delivery of castings onto ONE STANDARD PLATFORM. Only when THIS is achieved and the feedback chains reporting is accordingly in place we can consider this as a digital transformation of operations.
All others remain so-called “island – solutions”.

A foundry and high-pressure die-casting shop is no common enterprise. Processes are very unique, as no other industrial branch in this business line actually creates things/products and provides final shapes from a liquid. The process of casting in any format determines all the mechanical properties all the other industries will work with later on. Primary shaping is the task, and FRP the only tool capable to manage the process.

FRP takes care of the whole scheduling process automatically, with the possibility of making adjustments manually. All foundry and high-pressure die-casting processes are administrated on a common platform with the ability to change as and when required, prioritize and ultimately provide that holistic and helicopter like overview of company processes from inquiry to delivery of castings.

FRP controls, in general, the following major foundry and high-pressure die-casting processes:

  • The foundry resource planning – Melt, Tools, Molding Machine (any type)), Fettling, Machining etc.
  • Tool/Pattern management for its usage, Maintenance,  Profitability, Availability Status, Costing
  • Production scheduling and resource planning of multiple orders considering available capacity/bottleneck of ongoing orders by balancing capacity vs. resource load vs. utilization
  • Shift/Batch planning for all the foundry/die-casting stages
  • WIP – work in progress reporting for each foundry/high-pressure die-casting stages.
  • Automatic cost calculations based on master data saved and “cost to cast” formulae deployed
  • Any change in shift/batch planning, adjustment to production scheduling with priority shifts
  • Quality management with integrated quality performance testing and data logging

Foundry / High-Pressure Die-casting relevant problems to address

If any foundry/high-pressure die-casting operation is still facing any of the following (and more) – FRP is in a position to take care of it:

  • Missing customer deadline for shipment
  • Struggling to get the shop floor data correct
  • Tired of tedious Excel-paper or white-board based planning & scheduling
  • Non-productive hours of meetings for the planning, scheduling, delivery
  • Unable to collect data from shop floor on shift-/daily-/weekly basis and in on-time OR real time modus
  • Impractical or erroneous shop floor data
  • Mismatching of Planned vs. achieved production data for all the stages – Bucks stop!
  • Mismatching reporting before/after scheduling
  • Human errors in repeat documentation, especially in shipment and work instructions
  • Complaint management when it comes to customer satisfaction
  • Any other problem that could be addressed through systematic operations on a common platform
  • Labor time management for better utilization


This means foundries / high-pressure die-casting operations have a comprehensive overview of all the processes in the company; while increasing transparency, efficiency, and profitability.
Figure 1 displays all relevant modules required in high-pressure die-casting operations using FRP – foundry resource planning solutions.

High-pressure die-casting at the forefront of industry 4.0

The new trend is manifested that standard enterprise resource planning solutions continue to fail in foundries / high-pressure die-casting operations and other foundry / die-casting related processes as they do not cater for the discontinuous special company processes all are facing.

At the heart of FRP Solution Technology for high-pressure die-casting operations are 3 major items:

  1. The Resource plan itself covering all foundry stages you can think of and incorporating all foundry related processes and technologies. The Resource Plan is completely material and process independent and can handle everything from the single hand moulded steel casting part of unlimited weight to the mass-produced iron parts churning out by the millions in one year. Any HPDC / LPDC / GDC applications can be taken care of just as well as exotic alloys and complicated processes like investment castings or centrifugal/continuous casting.
  2. The Backward Planning solution to locate bottlenecks and understand process short-comings including backward or forward planning from machining requirements back to raw material purchase for core making. In high-pressure die-casting operations, this is vital to meet delivery demands when it comes to series production, as such automated factory planning is a must.
  3. The unique and exclusive availability of FIS = Foundry Information System, which is an online platform being able to showcase operational performance with holistic and helicopter view like visualization displaying anything from order intake performance to order tracking to manufacturing bottlenecks to follow-ups on delivery and feedbacks. FIS is almost unlimited in terms of what a foundry management wants to see and know at the tip of a mouse-click. Available 24×7 and even available on any mobile device.
  4. FIS is supported via a sophisticated DASHBOARD window where the individual or group KPI’s (key performance indicators) can be made visual. It is absolutely paramount that the dashboard will replace standard ways of how operational performances are monitored. Hence the future lies in DATA VISUALIZATION using on-line or real-time dashboard.

FRP – PPC “4.0” => Planning and Calculation using a dedicated Resource Plan

Product and Resource planning using the resource plan is at the heart of the FRP system but it can also be a useful tool on its own if you want to calculate something quickly.

Compared to other systems the FRP solution does not separate the work plan (or scheduler) from the parts list, but aligns itself to the way the foundry / die-casting area really works. All the resources needed to manufacture a certain cast part are displayed within a tree structure in a single OR multi-step resource plan. It’s a combination of 3M = Man – Machine – Material

It doesn’t matter whether it involves self-produced materials (cores, models, melt), purchased items (filters, coatings, tools, external services) or services (moulding, cleaning, finishing). This makes it easier to duplicate and change parts, create new parts or, for example, to update changed bought-in materials for several products.