One of the most abundant frame materials for outdoor patio furniture in today’s market is cast aluminum. If you’ve been out shopping recently, you may have noticed that there is a wide variety of styles, designs, prices and comfort. But why? A brief look at the different types of cast aluminum will help explain. Essentially, there are two different types of cast aluminum production used for patio furniture: sand cast and die cast. Each type offers a variety of benefits and features making it tough to say that one type is superior to the other.
Sand casting is the by far the most common type of cast aluminum you’ll find being used in patio furniture today. Because manufacturers can build these casts quickly and at a relatively low cost, they tend to be very popular among newer companies as well as those experimenting with new styles and designs. Another feature that makes sand casts common is that they can usually produce thicker, more substantial pieces because they’re not limited by the capacity of the casting machines used the in die cast process. Hollow, tubular pieces that are typically welded to the piece for decoration and ornamentation are often sand casted as well.
A second type of cast aluminum is made from die casting which is made from a hardened tool steel because it must withstand the high temperature and pressure of forcing the molten metal into the mold. Because of this high pressure, die castings typically have a uniform wall thickness, more defined details and a wide variety of surface finishes or textures that can be applied. The set up time for die casting outdoor furniture is much longer than sand casting molds and the cost is much higher. However, if the furniture collection is very successful and will be around for a long time, manufacturers can find there is a better payoff in investing in the die cast process because the same molds can be used over and over before replacement or re-tooling is needed. Additionally, because the entire process is automated, high speed production can be achieved.
Which Method Is Better
As mentioned earlier, you’d be hard pressed to claim, definitively, one method is better than the other. It’s all depends on what a manufacturer is trying to achieve with their patio furniture. Are they trying to produce a lower cost product? Does the product feature fine detailing? Will the furniture collection be around for a long time, or is it something they’ll produce for one season? Most patio furniture brands such as Hanamint, Mallin, Woodard, Veranda Classics and Agio will all use a combination of sand and die cast in their products. From a consumer perspective, either will be long lasting and a great choice for outdoor patio furniture.