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The alloy Zama, or rather, Zamak alloys were developed in 1929 by the New Jersey Zinc Company. The name ZAMAK is composed by the German initials of the elements that compose the alloy, namely:
Z (Zinc), A (Aluminium), MA (Magnesium), K (Kupfer - copper)
In the early '30th Morris Ashby, in Great Britain, bought the license alloy ZAMAK from the New Jersey Zinc Company. The high purity zinc required for this alloy was not available in Europe, so Morris Ashby had the right to realize the alloy using zinc produced on site by electrolytic refining.
The use of the ZAMA in the dia-casting has several advantages:
For which kind of product is Zamak suitable?
Some common uses of this alloy: automotive, car parts, components and accessories for furniture, handles and components for appliances, faucets and taps for bathroom furniture, shower hinges, handles for hot tubs, valves and pneumatics, furniture and interior lighting, door handles, toys, ornaments and artistic, mechanical components, funerary art and objects, clothing and fashion accessories.
Today's characteristics of zamak are the result of nearly a century of research and studies carried out by various international companies, with the aim of identifying the most appropriate alloys for different uses.
Typical charecteristics of the main types of zamak
The ingots of zamak are melted in an furnace at about 420°C adjacent to the die-casting machine, and the alloy is injected into a mould. Thanks to the high fluidity and low melting point, zamak allows to obtain pieces with very low tolerance limits and, at the same tima, complex and articulated shapes.
It's unlikely that these pieces could be produced using other alloys, unless lacking in precision and tolerances to maintain; or impact resistance, or, in other cases, having a much higher cost of production and of the subsequent processing. In fact, to do machining or turning operations, to polish and finish a piece in Zamak is cheaper than to do the same, for instance, on a piece made of brass.
Another advantage is that the moulds for zamak die-casting have a duration of hundreds of thousands shots; a mould for aluminium die-casting has instead a duration limited in time, and this involves a higher cost which must be calculated on each die-casted piece.
So, thanks to its simplicity of use, to the fast cycle and the low melting temperature, the zamak alloys are more and more often prefered to other alloys in various production fields: hardware, mechanical components, components for the automobile, for household appliances, in particular washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators, bathroom and kitchen taps and handles, components for modern showers and Jacuzzi, handles for door and windows, lighting accessories for home and office, and even fashion accessories.
In conclusion, the zamak die-casting allows to obtain, at a good cost, pieces with accurate edges, durable in time, and of absolutely constant quality, both in small and in large productions.