The quest for better performance from much lighter parts and systems is a major automotive theme today.
Alcoa identified a big area of opportunity, innovating a car door and frame assembly that would offer significant reductions in weight, number of parts, and cost, with the same or better strength and performance.
The proprietary Alcoa Vacuum Die Casting (AVDC) system and process is the result of that initiative, an innovation in lightweight door assemblies for cars. AVDC brought together and integrated Alcoa's proprietary casting process, their dimensionally stable high strength and high ductility C446 proprietary casting alloy, and that resulted in a process allowing very large die and part size, that are durable and stable.
The development of the AVDC began with the 2005 Porsche 911 Turbo, GT2, and GT3 cast all-aluminum door assembly, with a weight savings of 7 kg. per door, and parts count reduction of 3:1.
Developing the process from there to its present maturity and a PACE Award, Alcoa created the AVDC inner door panel for the 2008 Nissan GT-R "super car." This is the largest vacuum die casting in the auto industry at over half a square meter, but with a thickness of only 2-3 mm, and a weight of only 5.5 kg. per door, 35% less than conventional designs. The part count is reduced, and engineers can design in reinforcing ribs for enhanced strength, as well as specific design elements, allowing the consolidation of parts.
In addition, in the case of the 2008 GT-R, Alcoa's aluminum inner door structure is visible to the driver, sporting the Alcoa logo. Doors produced by the AVDC process are expected to be extended to passenger car and truck applications, with big rewards in durability, stability, simplicity and weight.