Advantages of Steel Investment Casting

Mechanics Hub - April 18, 2013
Steel investment casting – a process also known as lost-wax casting – is one of the oldest metal-forming methods still actively used. Investment casting manufacturers use the technique by creating wax patterns to make disposable molds, which are then filled with metal. When the steel is ready, the mold is removed to reveal the finished product. While the process of steel investment casting is relatively simple, manufacturers often use it to create complicated and intricate parts in order to realize the following benefits: Design Flexibility Investment casting allows you to make steel items that weigh anything from a few ounces to nearly 700 pounds. Designs can be as simple, detailed or complex as needed. Furthermore, the use of coring systems while creating the pattern allows you to create a product that is internally complex, which is useful for making parts where internal machining may is not possible. Savings on Raw Materials Machined castings, especially those with deep cavities, waste much of the steel used to cast the part. Investment casting produces almost no scrap or machining tailings. Complicated Forms with Near-Net Configurations Investment casting manufacturers can create complicated parts that include details like undercuts, holes, threads, serrations, lettering, bevels and slots. Consequently, the casting process produces net shaped parts t in the as-cast state. Smooth Finishes When you remove steel from an investment casting mold, you’ll find that it has a smooth finish and no flash or parting line. This is because the mold has minimal surface defects and a micro-finish of up to 125 RMS. You’ll also notice fewer chips and shavings. Dimensional Accuracy Steel investment casting has a consistent tolerance of about ±0.005 per inch or better. The tight linear tolerances reduce the need for after-cast straightening or dealing with draft angles. Lower Production Costs When you hire investment casting manufacturers, you don’t have to worry about the overhead costs associated with the purchase of new machinery and tools. And because the finished product has a smooth finish as soon as it’s out of the casting mold, there’s less waste. Reduced Assembly Requirements Since investment casting allows you to make a complicated part with a single fabrication process, there’s less need to assemble it with fasteners or welding methods. This reduces the parts count and simplifies inventory control. Minimizing the number of components improves quality because there are fewer potential failure modes. In addition to reducing the cost of the manufacturing and assembly processes, investment casting also lowers costs related to handling and inspection. Markets that Benefit from Steel Investment Casting While ancient civilizations used steel investment casting, the practice died down as new technologies emerged. In the 1980s, however, the technique picked up speed thanks to the aerospace, power generation and defense industries. Since the mid-1990s, general commercial demands have given rise to the popularity of investment casting. Energy companies, for example, look to investment casting to produce wind turbine blades with cooling systems or complex shapes. Firearm manufacturers use the process to make low-cost precision parts like hammer, triggers and receivers. From handheld tools to gearbox parts, engineers in a wide range of industries often look to steel to create wear-resistant parts. Such industries include those in the petrochemical, textile, automotive, valve and pump, and food fields. To learn more about creating custom parts for your enterprise, talk to an investment casting manufacturer. Sinotech offers custom engineered mechanical products such as investment castings, stampings, forgings, and metal and electromechanical components to a variety of industries.