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Lowering the Overall Cost of Ownership with Investment Casting

Precision investment casting is a refined manufacturing process that provides numerous advantages.

The process consists of several steps – creating an injected wax replica of the part, mounting the parts onto a sprue / tree and then forming a ceramic mold around the wax pattern. The wax is then melted out with steam and pressure and molten metal is poured into the heated ceramic shell.   The result is sacrificial tooling that allows for high part definition, both in ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

The aluminum wax dies offer substantially longer life than a high pressure die cast die or a plastic mold. Investment casting is a process that holds tighter tolerances than sand casting or the permanent mold process, while allowing for internal passages / undercuts to be cast in place along with superior surface finishes.  Overall, a process that affords many opportunities to reduce the overall cost of ownership.

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Investment Casting Quotes with an Edge

Avalon takes a different approach to quoting investment casting projects than most other manufacturers. Every quoting process answers the question “what will it cost?”.  But we at Avalon take it a step farther by helping the customer answer the question “what will increase the part’s competitive advantage?”.

Our ultimate goal is to provide economical castings that meet or exceed our customers’ expectations.   We look deep into our customer’s requirements including understanding their problems and or processing issues.

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Sigma Announces Acquisition of Avalon Precision Casting

-Avalon further strengthens Sigma's North American manufacturing footprint

-Avalon specializes in complex thin wall investment casting parts

GARNER, N.C.Aug. 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Sigma Electric Manufacturing Corporation ("Sigma") a leading global manufacturer of ferrous and non-ferrous castings, precision machined components and sub-assemblies, today announced the acquisition of US-based Avalon Precision Casting ("Avalon").

Headquartered in Cleveland, OH, with additional plants in Wisconsin, Avalon manufactures investment castings products for blue-chip customers in the aerospace, defense, HVAC, power, agriculture, and oil & gas end markets.

The combination of Avalon's investment castings capabilities and Sigma's global, market-leading casting and precision machining capabilities brings significant product sourcing, supply chain management, and scale opportunities to each company's customer base.  The combined business is well placed to be a valuable strategic partner as customers increasingly look to manage and streamline complex global supply chains and work with world-class casting suppliers with comprehensive product offerings across metal types and process capabilities.

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Precision Casting for Precisely the Right Results

Precision casting is another term for investment casting, but in many ways, it means so much more.

In its most basic sense, precision casting creates precisely controlled parts with near-net shape, to within plus/minus 0.005” tolerances. This reduces or eliminates the need for machining, which helps control the customer’s final cost.

To achieve the greatest level of part integrity and avoid cavity shrinkage, simulations are used to verify each customer’s project. In addition, vacuum dipping and vacuum pouring is available for parts requiring greater cavity detail and thinner walls.  Vacuum dipping is a precision cast process Avalon developed to help eliminate any air bubbles which lead to the creation of excess metal.

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Aluminum Casting that Counts

Aluminum and the thousands of aluminum castings that make up our everyday lives are often taken for granted. After all, aluminum is just one of many materials available today and is sometimes eclipsed by newer, flashier materials.

But such wasn’t always the case.  For years after its discovery in the 1800s, aluminum was rare and often considered more valuable than silver or gold. Its rarity was due to the difficulties in refining aluminum, which truly weren’t overcome until the Great Depression. That’s when hydroelectric power projects provided enough electrical capacity for the energy-intensive methods of refining aluminum.

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What is Investment Casting?

Investment casting, also known as the lost-wax process, is one of the oldest metal-forming techniques, spanning the last 5,000 years. The investment casting process begins with injecting engineered wax into high precision dies or with printed rapid prototypes. The wax patterns that are produced through either method are then assembled onto a sprue along with a ceramic pour cup.

These wax setups are then invested, or surrounded, with a silica slurry mixture and refractory zircon sand. Many coats are applied until a hard shell covers the assembled wax patterns. This is generally the longest stage in the investment casting process since the shell must dry completely before applying additional coats. Humidity and circulation play large factors in the successful execution of this stage.

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