Investment casting is the process of pouring hot and melted metal into a cast mold to create a part or product. Investment casting is one of the most reliable methods used for forming detailed parts of metal pieces, and is often used to create delicate machine parts used in vehicles and manufacturing processes. However, sometimes basic investment casting is not detailed enough to complete the job. This is where precision casting comes into the picture. Precision casting is aided by computers and detailed machinery to create the most detailed metal parts and pieces possible.
Precision investment casting is the process of creating investment castings with the highest level of detail and customization. The precise nature of the casting enables the manufacturer to create even the most detailed and delicate shapes through the casting process, which is unusual for most casting processes. When you switch to precision investment casting, you will incur the following production benefits:
The metal casting process has changed little in the thousands of years since its original invention. Today’s copper casting companies have invented new machines and casting materials that make the process easier and defects less likely, but in the end, the overall casting process remains the same. First, the copper is melted, then poured into a mold and allowed to harden. After the metal hardens, it is removed from the mold and polished and modified until it reaches the desired shape, texture, and brightness.
Investment castings are one of the oldest forms of casting in the world. In fact, ancient civilizations used investment casting long before modern factories and manufacturing processes use the technique. The fact that the investment casting process is still in use today just goes to show that just because a process is old, does not mean that it is the best method for the job. Explore the history of investment casting and discover why this ancient process is still in use in modern manufacturing.
Sometimes a business needs to create a large amount of stock that will be used for other purposes later. Some companies might have a large surplus of rough steel tubing kept in stock because they plan to use that tubing down the line for a variety of different applications. The tubing may eventually be refined for sale to the public, or the tubing may be melted and used in other projects. A popular method certain industries employ to create a lot of stock is called centrifugal casting. This process is used most often in the industrial sector to machine large number of cylinders that are intended for a variety of functions.
Investment casting is an old process. I’m not talking old like, two hundred years old, but old like, five millennia old. With five thousand years of development, investment casting companies have a pretty good handle on how to create large amounts of pieces of metal equipment that are consistently uniform in size and shape. It’s a fascinating process that begins with the design of the equipment you’d like to make, then you make a wax mold, add a little fire, and next thing you know, you’re casting! Okay, so it may not be that simple.
I loved recess as a kid; the break from school not the T.V. show. We get to run around, play games and get a little exercise. It is one of the things I miss most about elementary school. One of the games we would play during recess was marbles. I never owned more than a handful of marbles but I was fascinated with them. How do they make the colorful swirls inside the glass? Well, I still don’t know to this day but I do know marbles are made from a centrifugal casting process. Centrifugal casting is a process of investment casting were molten metal is poured into a rotating mold. Castings come out cylindrical due to the pressure of the centrifugal force generated by rotational power.
One of the parts of the investment casting process that I initially found hard to understand was the process of removing the wax patterns and runner from the ceramic shell once it hardens. If you scour the Internet’s offerings on the lost wax casting process, if you find anything at all, it might not always be clear how the whole investment casting process works, let alone how each stage in the process is executed. This can be the case with a lot of industrial processes, and as someone who regularly writes about industry, I know that this can be frustrating.
Investment casting companies make products for clients from a variety of sectors in the economy. They can make investment cast products for the automotive industry, sporting goods companies and even the hardware products industry. Why do companies choose investment casting over other kinds of metalworking and forming processes? Let’s do a few side-by-side comparisons between investment casting and a few alternative processes.
A wide range of parts can be created by the investment casting process. Industrial products, commercial products and even consumer products are regularly produced by investment casting operations. Typically, investment casting is used for the creation of products with complex profiles in comparatively limited quantities. This can make investment casting somewhat more expensive than other metal forming processes. However, investment casting also produces products that require minimal surface finishing, and it can create products with more precision than other metal forming varieties.
Investment casting can be used to create products with very complex tolerances. It is a precise process, but it is also complicated and time-consuming. Complication and time-intensiveness are two features that can make a process unattractive to industrial operations and their clients. One of the most highly complicating factors in the investment casting process is that the layering of ceramic materials and sand around wax patterns can take days or even weeks because of the drying time required by each successive layer of slurry. If, for example, a wax pattern needed to be immersed in seven shell layers, it could take up to a week just to finish the layering and drying process. Who wants to invest in a product that’s that labor-intensive and that time-consuming?
Investment casting really is a brilliant process. The history of the practice dates back many centuries, and it has continued to perform well as a casting method ever since. There are many reasons why investment casting has persevered for such a long time, but the principal reason is this: investment casting works. The process has come to be known by several names besides investment casting, but the most meaningful and widely-used alternative name is probably lost wax casting. “Lost wax casting” is the most descriptive name in terms of how the casting process works, and it gives hints as to why investment casting works.
I am a terrible golfer. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy it, but I have no illusions about my abilities as a golfer or my prospects for improvement. This past summer, after having played golf maybe a dozen times every year since late elementary school, I sank my first par. It was simultaneously exciting and embarrassing (but mostly exciting). My current set of clubs is composed mainly of stainless steel club heads and, I think, stainless shafts. They’re certainly not professional quality, but I’ve never had a legitimate reason to complain about them.
Titanium is not your typical investment casting metal. The combination of its very high melting point and its high cost can make titanium less attractive than lighter, more malleable, less expensive metals. Aluminum, stainless steel, copper and nickel are more commonly investment cast than titanium. However, in certain ways, titanium is well-suited to investment casting.
My family used to make regular trips to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan each Memorial Day. First we would travel to Mackinac Island, and from that point we would head to our hotel in St. Ignace. One year, at some point during our trip, at a gift shop I bought a little plastic box filled with pure copper flakes. I still don’t know why this appealed to me. I don’t know where the box is now, and I have no desire to search for it. After all, that souvenir caused problems for me. When I returned to school after vacation (this was in early elementary school), I brought the copper with me to class. For some reason, don’t ask me why, I thought it would be a good idea to chew on them in class. I was lucky for two reasons that day: my teacher noticed almost immediately and stopped me, and copper is highly malleable.
It’s no surprise that aluminum isn’t excluded from the investment casting party. Aluminum features a wide range of physical properties that make it a favorable candidate for investment casting. The primary reasons for aluminum’s popularity are its high strength-to-weight ratio and its corrosion resistance. Aluminum is a very strong metal considering its weight. Certain aluminum alloys are attractive alternatives to ferrous metals because they can provide comparable strength without the negative quality of high corrosion susceptibility. Aluminum is also a good candidate for a wide variety of metal working and metal working processes, and investment casting is no exception.
Georg Fischer Automotive and other automotive companies are expanding their factory production in China and Europe. One of the specific industries that is expected to see higher demands in Europe and China is the die casting industry. Die castings are used in a variety of automotive manufacturing processes, and as the demand for automotive products increases in China and Europe, automotive factories will need additional facilities to meet the new demands.
In the past, stores and manufacturing companies alike focused mainly on one specific process or product. A metal casting company might create one kind of product using one machine. However, when manufacturing needs increased, so did the need for multi-functioning factories and commercial businesses. Just like today’s stores sell a wide variety of products, factories that offer multiple metal forming processes can provide the best service to customers.
Magnesium is a type of element that is easily adapted into metal form through industrial processing. Magnesium is one of the three most commonly used metals, and is revered for its strong and light properties. It is often added to aluminum, steel, iron, and titanium to help these metals achieve different properties.
I have always imagined cold chamber die casting to look something like a scene from an old cartoon where the character is suddenly encased in an entire block of ice. I imagined the process froze the metal quickly into the shape of a mold. Of course, this is not really the case. Freezing hot metal suddenly can cause the metal serious stress and even cause breakage in the metal. Cold chamber casing does not have so much to do with adding cold temperatures to the metal as it does with carrying the melted metal from one machine to another for die casting.