Precision Investment Casting: Accurate & Precise Metal Forming
Precision Investment casting is a process that has been used for centuries to manufacture metal parts. Also known as lost wax casting, this cost-effective method allows the creation of intricately designed metal parts whilst maintaining excellent dimensional accuracy and surface finish. This has been a focus for our company and has been the process of choice for many different applications across most industries.
What Is Precision Investment Casting?
Precision investment castings refer to the process of obtaining precise – size casting. There are many methods to produce castings, but a more precise, near-net shape casting with a better surface finish can be produced via the investment casting method. This method is used to manufacture both ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
The general concept is to create a wax mould of the actual casting, coat it with refractory coating and then melt the wax to create a mould to pour the metal. Hence this method is also referred as Lost wax casting. This conventional method of lost wax casting has been significantly improved at our facility in the north of England with the adoption of new technologies, such as our investment in 3D printing machines.
The traditional route of making a tool upfront for the wax patterns demands an initial investment. Therefore, Dean Group invested in an advanced 3D printing room that enables our engineers to produce wax patterns with absolute precision with a previously developed CAD (computer-aided design) file supplying the client’s intended design. Thanks to this new process, we have vastly improved our turnarounds from 4-20 weeks down to 2-5weeks
At our UK casting foundry, our team casts with various materials, including some of our most popular choices, stainless and carbon steel. We also have pioneered our own high-integrity aluminium investment casting process, called ELITE, with positive results for essential sectors such as aerospace, military and motorsports. This process was developed at Dean Group and continues to offer gas-tight, high-tensile parts with good surface finishes and thin wall sections.
Why Do Companies Choose Precision Investment Casting?
Precision investment casting is the preferred choice for many companies looking for solutions to meet their exact specifications. Sectors such as military and automotive cannot afford any design wavering from their intended measurements, and the same is true of the renewable energy sector. This casting method is suited to meet these needs. For example, Dean Group has worked closely with wind turbine manufacturers to provide the vital components they need for their machinery.
Using this casting process, our expert teams have produced many of the internal elements inside the nacelle (body) of the turbine itself. These renewable energy sources cannot afford to compromise when manufacturing their components. The stresses they are under during daily use are significant. For this reason, our castings of gear parts must be precise and durable to handle a rotational speed of 1,000-1,800 RPM (rotations per minute), as this is the speed required for them to produce energy.
What Makes Precision Investment Casting Superior?
Choosing this form of casting is highly beneficial for many industries, leading it to be our most popular service. Here are some of the main reasons why?
Wide Array of Applications
Used for many environments and applications, investment casting is ideal for producing many different components, from large turbine blades to small, intricate parts for engines.
Eco-Friendly Additive Manufacturing
Dean Group supports reducing the manufacturing carbon footprint, and we believe this casting is a great way to achieve it. The wax used to create moulds can be recycled and used again, eliminating the need for expensive revisions and scrapped metal. In addition, whether it is the wax pattern or the aluminium prototype, both can be recycled over and over again, reducing the need for raw materials.
Flexibility for Designs
With investment casting, you get an array of material, size and configuration options. This process offers tremendous design versatility and allows for manufacturing complex, intricate parts that can be cast to near-net shape. You also get thin-wall sections and the ability to add features such as numbers, logos and names. The achievable tolerances will vary depending on the process’s specific details, including material specification and design complexity. There is a complete list of tolerance standards for this casting process for your consideration.
Casting Alloyed Parts
Investment casting is an excellent choice for industries and sectors that require using parts manufactured with alloyed metals. This process allows the casting of alloy bases such as ferrous, aluminium, nickel, copper and cobalt, which can be difficult to machine otherwise.
Machining Time Reduced
Sectors where time is of the essence, or even if your business needs a rapid turnaround on parts, benefit from this process. This is because there is less need for secondary machining and modifications to get the cast up to the client’s specifications. Not only does this mean you’re saving money, but you’re also cutting back the time needed for the whole process.
Dean Group specialises in providing adaptable precision investment casting services, including premium and commercial grade work. With all of our manufacturing processes, we ensure that everything we make is covered under ISO 9001, our recent accreditation from the BSI (the British Standards Institution), to ensure that we maintain our high standards of fidelity and accuracy for our clients. You can learn more about our other casting processes, such as our aluminium investment casting process, through our website.
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