Read on to find out what investment casting is, and what the process of investment casting involves.
What Is Precision Casting?
Investment casting, also known as precision casting or lost-wax casting, dates back almost 5000 years ago. Its story originates in Ancient Egypt and China where patterns were formed out of beeswax to create jewelry or other ornaments throughout the centuries.
Due to the technology available at our fingertips today, the investment casting industry is growing in size. Its global market value sums up to a whopping 16.63 billion. This, along with the rising use of precision casting within the automotive, transportation industry for developing parts for engines, gearboxes, and many more components, means that it’s likely to keep on expanding as we push towards a more technological future.
What is the Investment Casting Process
The investment casting process begins with the production of a wax model or patent, which is created into the shape of the part desired. Nowadays, when time is short, we have the option of using 3D printing technology in precision casting to make patents. This allows for rapid prototype castings that can be completed at a much faster speed.
When you inject wax into a metal tool or dye, you produce a wax pattern. This pattern is attached to a wax tree, which is then used to begin the mold making process. Afterward, the patterns are dipped into a liquid ceramic slurry and fine sand or stucco is applied to the wet surface. When finished, the mold is allowed to dry. This part of the investment casting process is repeated a number of times, which eventually results in a layered surrameic mold.
The wax is removed using a flash fire oven which melts and burns out the wax and when fully dry, the metal is poured into the mold. Bear in mind that throughout this process, the mold is preheated to a specific temperature to prevent the liquid metal from solidifying before the entire mold is filled.
Once everything has cooled down, the shell material can be removed from the metal. This is typically done using a hammer, or even a high-pressure water blast. The surface can then be finished using polishing, belting, or grinding.
The investment casting process aims to produce complex and high precision components that boast an excellent as-cast surface finish. This environmentally friendly feature pushes towards reducing or eliminating the need for using machines.
In today’s world, modern industrial manufacturing demands are growing, and they rely on sophisticated castings that are only achievable through precision casting. The lost-wax process influences as well as benefits everyone in their daily lives, you just might not know it. If you’re looking to be a part of the resilient investment casting industry, it requires commitment and dedication to the trade.