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Abrasive Blasting

The process by which particle abrasive material is propelled at high velocity, via air or wheel.  This is primarily used for cleaning parts.  Little controls are necessary or used.


Annealing applies to softening by changing the microstructure and is the term used to describe the heating and cooling cycles in a solid state. Sometimes the terms Stress Relieving is used to define the heat treatment process used.

Balzers, Phygen, Ion Bond, Melonite, Philo

Popular coatings that may be applied over either MetaLLife or Thermallife substrate where considered necessary

Blast, Sand Blasting Cleaning

Abrasive blast cleaning using sharp edged media for removing debris, oxides, and other surface contaminants.  Will invariably set us stress risers that lead to shortened tool life and premature failure by fatigue of the surface


See Laminar Fill or Porosity.

Breakout, Die Breakout

Excess metal protruding from a casting resulting from cracking or pitting of a molding surface such as a die casting die or plastic injection mold.  Is usually result of unchecked die cavitation effect

Case Hardening

Diffusion and/or heat treatment method that adds high carbon in a very thin surface layer that increases strength and some brittleness to OEM parts.  Not usually used on tool steels which prefers a nitriding or carbonitriding hardening method of diffusion


Object obtained by pouring molten metal in a mold; also the act of pouring metal. Materials include: aluminum, magnesium, zinc, gray iron, malleable iron and steel.

Casting Texturing

A specific texture applied to castings to accomplish a change in cosmetic finish for appearance or to improve the flow of metal in a die casting operation in specific areas or the entire die.  Often times combined with compressive stress texturing to provide both flow benefits and fatigue resistance to thermal cracking.


The rapid formation and collapse of extremely small violent vapor pockets in a flowing liquid in regions of pressure changes from very low pressure, resulting in the pitting of a solid surface; a frequent cause of structural damage to propellers, pumps, die casting dies, etc.

Cavity (in reference to die casting or plastic injection molding)

A hollow space within one or multiple sets of die castings dies or plastic injection molds where molten metal or plastic will flow into to make castings or parts.  Cavity can be reference to an insert or set of inserts inserted into a holder block or mold base. 

Coating processing, Coatings

PVD (lower temperature) Physical Vapor Deposition treatments that when applied to proper substrates of ferritic nitro carburizing provide added benefits of improved performance and sometimes extended life.  CVD (high temperature) Chemical Vapor Depositions are specifically limited since their application temperature requires that tooling, especially die casting tools, needs to be completely again heat treated.  Colorado School of Mines is the present authority on research being done to evaluate a smart coating that when applied can prevent soldering in die casting dies.

Compressive Stress, Compressive Stress Texturing

An internal beneficial resistance set up by a material (Tool Steel) when it is deformed.  Measured in units of force per unit area (MPa) or KSI (kilograms/sq in) with a -y axis value to indicate compression.  Compressive stress (beneficial) and Tensile stress (detrimental) work in opposition to one another.  The


A specially formed refractory object inserted into a mold or die to produce cavities or depressions in the casting that cannot be readily formed on the pattern.

Cover Insert

CVD Coatings

This high temperature coating process, as it relates to tooling applications, involves the deposition of a solid material onto a heated substrate via a chemical reaction from a gas phase.  This process can be done in atmosphere or vacuum.  Because this is a chemical bond, the bond strength is many times stronger than achieved through the PVD process.  CVD is typically used for carbide inserts, forming tools and other high load applications.  Due to the high processing temperature (1925° F), there are some material and tolerance limitations.  Due to the high processing temperature, all tool steels and High Speed Steels (HSS) must be heat treated after this coating process.


Loss of carbon from the surface layer of a carbon-containing alloy due to reaction with one or more chemical substances in a medium that contacts the surface.

Diamond Polishing

The act of polishing a tool steel’s surface to a mirror finish.  Using special polishing compounds, the surface is completely smooth and contains no surface inclusions.  The act of applying a mirror finish also induces small levels of compressive stress which increases the fatigue strength of the tool steel.  Because of cost is usually performed only in critical and most likely failure areas such as fillets and radii.  Any surface inclusions such as scratching or polishing marks create little stress risers where cracks can propagate from leading to die cracking failure.  To be most effective usually done to a previously prepared compressive stress surface to substantially increase the compressive stress benefits and value.


An interruption in the normal physical structure or configuration of an object, such as cracks, forging laps, seams, inclusions and porosity.

Dwell Time (In reference to Peening)

The total time that the media is in contact with a specified area or the test or production part surface.  Dwell time is not to be confused with saturation of the peened surface which pertains more to coverage percentage.

EDM (Electrode Discharge Machining)

A manufacturing process whereby a wanted shape of an object, called a work piece, is obtained using electrical discharges (sparks). The material removal from the work piece occurs by a series of rapidly recurring current discharges between two electrodes, separated by a dielectric liquid and subject to an electric voltage.

Ejector Insert

Part of a die casting die or plastic injection mold that contains holes where ejector pins travel through to eject plastic or alloyed parts from the die or mold.

Ejector Pin

Pins that protrude from an ejector insert which eject plastic or alloyed parts from the die or mold.

Equo-Tip Tester

A professional, portable device used to test hardness of pieces ranging from massive steel rolls, heavy forgings, castings, die steels, to bar stock, pipes and cylinders, and more. 

Ferritic Nitro Carburizing (FNC)

Any of several processes in which both nitrogen and carbon are absorbed into the surface layers of a ferrous material at temperatures below the lower critical temperature and, by diffusion, create a concentration gradient.  Nitro carburizing is done mainly to provide an anti-scuffing surface layer and to improve fatigue resistance. 


The process used to refine or roughen a surface to meet surface finish requirements, or to clean, strengthen or prepare the surface for additional processing.


Excess material on molded component resulting from a leakage at joining surfaces in a casting process.

Ferrous Metals

Alloys containing iron.


A process where metal is shaped by pressing, pounding, or squeezing under very high pressure, to form forgings.

Gross Cracking

A mode of die failure in the die casting industry

Heat Treatment

An operation or combination of operations involving heating and cooling of metal or an alloy in a solid state for the purpose of obtaining certain desirable conditions or properties.

Heat Checking

Also known as fatigue fracturing, this type of tool damage generally occurs when repeated or fluctuating stresses have a maximum value less than the tensile strength of the substrate:  basically, the tool has been overloaded.  This type of fracture is generally progressive, beginning as minute cracks that grow under the action of the fluctuating stress.  This is a common tool failure mode for die casting dies and hot work steels.

Holder Block

An apparatus used by die casters meant to contain inserts that are used to create parts or castings.  The holder block also contains cooling lines and connections used to dissipate heat from the die casting or molding process.


One part of a die casting die or plastic injection mold, containing an impression and cooling lines, that will ‘inserted’ into a holder block or mold base and will subsequently create a part or casting. 

Laminar Fill

In die casting, where a thin skin of cooled aluminum at the surface of a casting traps gases, bubbles, or pores just below the surface resulting in a blister on the final part.  


The ability to lubricate; capacity for lubrication. 


A term used in the plastic injection industry for a hollow form or matrix for giving a particular shape to something in a molten or plastic state. 

NADCA (North American Die Casting Association)

An organization headquartered in Wheeling, IL designed to promote die casting industry awareness


A process of case hardening in which nitrogen is introduced to the surface layer of a solid ferrous alloy by holding at a suitable temperature in contact with a nitrogenous material, usually ammonia of appropriate composition. 


A hollow or depression in a die casting die or molding die surface resulting in a mirrored riser on a casting or part.  The pitting usually results from a phenomena called cavitation effect. 

PVD Coating

Physical Vapor Deposition, or PVD, is a term used to describe a family of relatively low temperature (750° F) vacuum coating processes that involve the generation of positively charged ions through various methods.  Reactive gases are introduced into the chamber to create various compounds.  The positively charges ions are attracted to a negative bias given to the tool substrates.  This attraction results in a dense thin-film layer with an extremely strong physical bond to the tool substrate.

Porosity - Casting Porosity

In die casting, a part containing pores created by trapped gases, cavitation bubbles, or other mechanical means of bubble creation related to flow or tool geometry. 


The rapid cooling of tool steel to obtain desirable tool characteristics by developing proper microstructure and steel properties.  For die casting tools, it is recommended that the rate of cooling be at least 50 degrees F/min which is usually obtained by using liquid nitrogen introduction into a vacuum chamber device.  Higher cooling rates are possible using oil as the quenching material, however, care must be taken to evaluate the size of the piece of steel being quenched.  A high quench rate can result in a gross quench cracking of material for larger insert tooling.

Residual Stress

A stress in a metal, on a microscopic scale and resulting from non-uniform thermal changes, plastic deformation, or other causes aside from temporary external forces or applications of heat.  There are two types - Tensile residual stress which is also commonly called detrimental residual stress since it causes metal to fail by pulling on the core structure....Compressive residual stress or controlled compressive stress which can be induced to create and thus prevent premature fatigue in all types of steel.  Used extensively in the die casting industry for controlling residual stress build up from cycle failure in die casting dies, slides, and sometimes larger core pins.

Rockwell Hardness

A measurement system used by commercial manufacturers to determine the relative hardness of objects based on the depth of indentation from a heavy object.

Shot Blasting

The cleaning process using loose abrasive is propelled at high velocity, and aimed at an area to be cleaned. This process is typically used to remove flash, rust, scale, old paint, or any other dry surface contaminants.

Shot Peening

The procedure of impacting a metal surface with a high-velocity stream of metal shot or glass beads for the purpose of improving resistance to fatigue by induction of compressive stress.

Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH)

In die casting, a strong basic chemical used to dissolve aluminum solder without attacking the base tool steel. 


In die casting, the loss of a tool’s protective surface or lubrication barrier between the die and cast molten metal which allows the creation of inter-metallic compounds that cause a chemical adhesion of the cast metal to the die's surface.

Stress Relieving

The heat treatment process used to anneal the steel.  For die casting dies, this is the temperature above the final temper which is usually at or above 1100 degrees F..

Stress Riser

The most likely location where a cracking failure is likely to occur.  This is usually in tight radius/radii and sharp corners.

Stress Temper

The heat treatment process used to normalize steel (remove tensile stress build up).  This is done at a temperature that is lower than the final hardening temper temperature.  For die casting tooling, the stress temper temperature is something less than 1100 degrees F.  The duration is calculated at 1 hour per inch of maximum thickness.

It is commonly used to relieve or dissipate stresses in weldments, heavily machined parts, castings and forgings. The parts are heated to a suitable temperature, holding long enough to reduce residual stresses, and are then slowly cooled enough to minimize the development of new residual stresses.

Tensile Stress

A type of stress in which the two sections of material on either side of a stress plane tend to pull apart or elongate.  Large tensile stress conditions may lead to failure of the material.  Values are given to steel to show how much force is necessary for this to occur. Measured in units of force per unit area (MPa) or KSI (kilograms/sq in) with a +y axis value to indicate tensile. 

Ultrasonic Cleaning - Solder removal

Acoustically created cavitation bubbles in a proprietary chemical solution where a die cast die, plastic injection mold, or rubber mold is placed for cleaning.   The imploding cavitation bubbles act as a mechanical means of removing foreign material, where as the proprietary chemical solution (usually consisting of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) along with other buffers and detergents) chemically remove foreign material.  Any residual cast material, such as aluminum solder, along with grease or oil is removed from the casting surface, water/oil lines, etc.  The base tool steel is completely unaffected by the cleaning process.

Welding, Die cast die welding stress relieving

Used to make changes to the die metal during PPAP (die casting configuration finalization before production) or to repair larger cracks or cavitation metal breakout that would not allow acceptable castings.  The weld should be followed by a 1000 degree F stress temper to normalize the steel and remove the high tensile stresses that build up during the welding procedure.  To be most effective this is then followed by a compressive stress peening process to add additional fatigue strength along with being able to check the integrity of the welded area.



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Some web pages were last modified 08/21/2010
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