Due to the precision of the process, investment cast components can be cast to size, or with minimal machining stock remaining on critical surfaces. In addition, components requiring assembly or fabrication to mating pieces can usually be cast as a single component, reducing assembly time and costs.
Some of the strongest and best engineering materials are difficult to machine, forge, or weld due to their inherent strength and toughness. Investment castings allow for the use of these materials since the metal is melted and then placed into a precision ceramic mold to solidify into the end products geometry, reducing or eliminating other costly manufacturing processes.
Aren’t Investment Castings expensive?
Investment casting is an extremely cost effective manufacturing process. The accuracy and precision attainable will usually allow for cost savings further into the manufacturing cycle for any product. In some cases, investment casting is the only suitable process to give the detail required on a component at a reasonable cost. Although tooling is required to produce the waxes which start the process, it is a one time expense. In most cases, the tooling can seem expensive, but properly engineered and produced tooling will ensure the best casting prices.
The term “investment” does not refer to the financial commitment necessary for this type of product. Rather, the term refers to the fact that the waxes are invested into the ceramic slurries, and that is what differentiates the process from other molding processes.
Don’t I Need a High Quantity of Parts To Use Investment Castings?
One of the biggest myths surrounding the process is that it is only suitable to high volume production. Once a tool has been procured and approved for use, Precise Castings is capable of manufacturing your castings in any multiple of the “tree” quantities required. The tree is the “unit of manufacture” utilized in the process, and although there are usually cost savings in higher volumes due to setup costs, quantities as low as one trees’ worth of castings are very common.