Precision Investment Casting: Applications and Advantages

Precision Investment Casting is an ancient metal casting technique that is based on the lost wax formula. Although a very old metal casting method, it has recently become very popular in industrial procedures and is being deemed to be the best process for future development and experiments too. Despite being a very old technique, it has recently gained a lot of popularity due to the scientific advancements in recent years and the improvement in the quality of the material used. Several steps have been taken to improve the efficiency of the whole method, and this has led to industries and corporations showing interest in this casting technique and utilising it in their production process. Let’s have a look at the applications and advantages of this technique.

The Technique of Precision Investment Casting

One of the main reasons why Precision Investment Casting method is so popular is because of its high efficiency, accuracy and durability. For the casting methods, both original wax and wax replica models can be used. Firstly, a master plan needs to be made using clay, wax, wood or even 3D printing in recent times. Secondly, a mould needs to be made and then wax patterns are made until it reaches the desired level of thickness. Once all the wax patterns are collected, the investment material is applied. This is a mould which is made of ceramic. This investment is made through several steps like coating, stuccoing and hardening. Refractory materials like zircon, silicon, alumina and other aluminium silicates are used to form the investment. Once the mould settles completely, it is then put inside the furnace upside down which helps to melt the wax. This process helps the expansion of the wax left on the mould. Next, the mould is further heated to get rid of any excess wax or moisture. Finally, finishing touches are added through grinding, hammering and pouring to give the desired results.

Applications of Precision Investment Casting

Although multiple industries have made use of the precision investment casting method, it is most widely adopted by the power generation and aerospace industries. They use this method to build turbine blades that require complex shapes or cooling systems. These blades created by investment casting may have single crystal, conventional equi-axed or even directionally solidified blades. The technique is also used in firearm manufacturing industries where multiple parts are built with utmost precision but at very low costs. A company called PING even revolutionised golf club production by incorporating this method into making club heads. This helped to adequately distribute the weight around the perimeter of the club head. Furthermore, this technique is also used in other major industries like automotive, medical, military and even commercial corporations to produce different parts and equipment. Due to the advancement in 3D printing, small satellites have also been created through this process.

Advantages of the Precision Investment Casting Method

The Precision Investment Casting technique has several advantages that make it so widely popular and implemented by some of the major industries in the world. Here are some of them:

  • Through this process, a very smooth finish and a close tolerance level can be achieved.
  • This process helps to create moulds of every possible shape without any geometrical restrictions, which is not quite possible with any other method. This is a major advantage as it allows us to experiment and invent new things without any limitations.
  • Due to the extensive process, intricate details can be added to the pattern which can then be solidified through the melting and pouring processes.
  • The casting made with this process is extremely durable and can be used immediately without any further machine work required. It is particularly suitable for fast industrial productions.
  • This method is perfect to achieve absolute accuracy, as the casting is extremely smooth and blemish free and there are no directional issues that arise.
  • By managing the grain size, directional solidification and orientation, more control on the mechanical properties of the product can be attained.
  • Most of the material used in the process of casting, like wax and mercury, can be reused, thus saving the resources.

The wide range of applications and great number of advantages make the precision investment casting process a very lucrative and beneficial one for industries. The efficiency of this process leads to greater capital investments and further scientific developments in different industries.