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Posted on Dec 4, 20202
The investment casting products are the metal products that are made using the technique of investment casting. The investment casting is also called the ‘lost wax’ process, which is one of the oldest metal casting methods that exists in the present days. The investment casting method involves pouring the molten metal into a mold to shape the metal into the desired design. The investment casting products are the results of this process.
Back in the ancient days when the investment casting was not long invented, the Egyptians and the Chinese used the beeswax as the main material in the casting process to make investment casting products. In the modern days, several types of wax are used in such process; moreover, other refractory materials and the metal alloys are also used to manufacture investment casting products.
To carry out an investment casting process, certain steps are included. The three basic components in achieving the process are the material to be cast, the wax to create the pattern, and the die to mold the investment casting products. Before feeding the material to be cast, special waxes will be injected first into the dies to create the pattern. To complete the pattern, multiple waxes are involved. The more intricate and complex the patterns are, the more waxes are used at this stage. The wax patterns will form a complete assembly which is called a tree.
The investment in this process refers to the step that the assembly is immersed in the high-grade ceramic slurry. An additional coating of coarse ceramic particles will be built up. The wax will be melted from the mold to leave a thin and hollow ceramic shell at this stage. After the shell is created, the molds will be heated to further remove any other left wax in the molds. This is exactly why it is called a lost wax process. The heating can also improve the durability of the final molds.
After the preparation and setting up of the molds, the molten metal will be poured into the molds before the molds cool down. Once the molds are properly cooled down, they will be broken open so that the investment casting products can be attained. Depending on the status of the manufactured products, certain finishing operations may be required, such as grinding, sandblasting or heat treatment. Yet, these are the essential steps in an investment casting process.
The investment casting method is one of the most reliable metal casting methods for making metal components. Since the metal parts can be cast into almost any shape possible, the application of investment casting is almost limitless. In fact, some investment casting products are very close to our daily life.
First of all, there are medical devices and instruments that are made with investment casting process. This method is ideal for medical apparatus because the medical instruments must be entirely made of the same material such as aluminum. Aluminum is a suitable medium for this approach. The medical investment casting products are parts of hospital bed, oxygen pump, insulin pump, monitors, and surgical hand tools.
Another common investment casting products are the outdoor lightings such as the traffic lights. The investment casting process is ideal for manufacturing the parts on outdoor lightings because the method is cost-effective and it allows high volume production of high quality metal materials. The thermal property and the rigidness of the metal material make it possible to withstand the light as well as the weather changes.
The other common application of investment casting is in the industrial settings. The investment casting process can manufacture high quality parts in a short period of time. As a result, the machineries and mechanical systems that can be seen in an industrial setting such as a production line or an assembly line are often made using such process. The precision is required in such settings and the investment casting is just capable of offering the precision they need.
The most valuable advantage of investment casting is that this process makes it possible to manufacture products in a relatively more complex and delicate forms. On top of that, the components that are made with the investment casting method come with no parting lines. Parting lines are the excess edges that form in between the gap of two mold halves. The parting lines form when the molds are made without excellent precision. The lines are unwanted since presentation of the parts as well as the function of them is compromised.
The other advantage of investment casting is that it can be applied for a wide range of materials, not only for metal alloys but also for petroleum-based materials. The investment casting products are commonly made from aluminum alloys, bronze, cast iron, carbon steel or stainless steel, etc. This casting approach is applicable for the ferrous or non-ferrous materials and the materials that are not easy to machine.
The results of investment casting are ideal. The investment casting products usually come with very good dimensional accuracy. It is a cost-effective casting method too because the method allows both low and high volume manufacturing process. As a result, the investment casting process is still included in several industrial production lines. By applying the investment casting process, the cost of production is effectively reduced. The waste is minimized and the investment casting products do not require much assembly.
To conclude, since the nature of investment casting is to create shapes, the investment casting products usually do not need a secondary machining process. The cost in production is hence reduced in certain aspects: no additional operation is needed, less waste of material is enabled, the time of production is reduced, and the guaranteed quality of the manufactured parts.