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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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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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