Fiorenzo Dioni and Richard Oberle

​​High-precision aluminium casting for the automotive industry​

Technical field
Materials, metallurgy
​​IDRA Group​
​​The Giga Press is a high-pressure die-casting machine with the potential to transform the automotive industry, developed by engineers Fiorenzo Dioni and Richard Oberle. Developed for electric-vehicle production, the press helps to reduce the waste, energy consumption and carbon emissions associated with automotive manufacturing. ​

Winners of the European Inventor Award 2024

Traditional methods of vehicle production require assembling large car underbodies from dozens of individual castings. The Giga Press, the world's largest high-pressure aluminium die-casting machine, a paradigm shift in production capability and speed, streamlines the complex process by producing just two to three large castings that make up the underbody of a car.  

Aluminium is melted and maintained in a molten state across the machine’s ovens. As the Giga Press clamps the mould in place, the patented 5S (Strong, Simple, Stable, Smooth and Sustainable) injection system fills the mould with over 100 kilograms of molten aluminium evenly at ten metres per second. A 4000-litre vacuum tank pumps out air bubbles, solving a common issue of tiny gas bubbles within the castings. As the metal cools and solidifies, the casting is set, trimmed and internally and externally examined for defects using X-rays and computer software. This can be repeated every 120 seconds to create 500 castings across three eight-hour shifts.  

Driving a sustainable future 

Fiorenzo Dioni has been integral to IDRA since joining as an engineer in 1995, becoming its head of engineering in 2009 and starting work on the Giga Press in 2016. Richard Oberle, who joined IDRA in the 1970s and returned as a consultant in 2016, contributed the 5S injection system, which reintegrates the hydraulic fluid into the system to reduce discharge and waste as it is essential to ensuring the die pieces are clamped together when being filled. Recent enhancements to the Giga Press have reduced its waste and energy consumption, carbon emissions and help to create a more consistent final product that costs less to produce. The Giga Press also recycles aluminium trimmings and cutoffs, which are added back into the melting oven to continue the streamlined process. 

The Giga Press has helped forge broader innovation in the automotive industry. Dioni notes that IDRA’s competitors “are sailing close to the mark”, with brands rethinking traditional approaches to vehicle production. While the press was developed to meet demand in electric vehicle manufacturing, Dioni adds, “When it comes to producing the structural parts of the car, the Giga Press can produce them for both electric and gasoline-powered cars without any issues.”

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