Introduction to investment casting Investment casting is basically a metal shaping technique. It is a foundry practice by which high precision castings are manufactured. This is a specialised foundry technology and is considered a high – tech area. This process has gained popularity on the basis of the superior quality of the castings produced. In addition, more important is the fact that, the cost of a finished component produced by the investment casting process is less than or comparable to that of the conventional production techniques. It is common knowledge that new technologies gain recognition and popularity only if they offer considerable technical advantage along with commercial gain as compared to the existing conventional methods. This is precisely why Investment casting, which has both advantages, has become a much favoured production technology and popular foundry practice of today.
Investment casting caters to a substantial commercial market and competes directly with powder metallurgy, pressing, machining, drop forging, etc …
Advantages of investment casting:
1. This is a high precision casting technique, hence, near net shapes; very near to the finished component is produced.
2. Machining requirements for the finished component is reduced by upto 90%, substantially reducing machining and scrap cost.
3. The process is extremely versatile; almost any intricate shapes, thin walls and tiny delicate components can be cast. This allows for extreme design flexibility.
4. Excellent surface finish is a major advantage of this process.
5. There are no metallurgical limitations for investment casting. Difficult to machine metals are best shaped by this process.
6. The qualities of investment castings are markedly superior to other casting methods. This is an inherent advantage of the process. Applications of investment castings: The applications cover a very wide range. Some of them are listed below.
Investment castings are used in:
-Automobile components, on a very large scale.
-Baling and strapping equipment.
-Bicycles and motorcycles.
-Construction hardware and equipment.
-Dentistry and dental tools.
-Electrical equipment, electronic hardware and radar.
-Guns and armament.
-Machine tool components.
-Aircraft engines, air frames, fuel systems.
-Aerospace, missiles, ground support systems.
-Material handling equipment.
-Oil well drilling and auxiliary equipment.
-Components for compressor and pneumatic equipment.
-Components for hydraulic equipment, pump and pipe fittings.
-Pipe fittings for plumbing applications.
-Sports gear and recreational equipment.
-Textile machinery parts.
-Valves and flow control equipment.
-Components for consumer durables.