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INVESTMENT CASTINGS
FOR A VARIETY
OF APPLICATIONS

Trade fair 2017

LIGNA 2017

The business unit Casting Products will again attend in 2017 the trade fair LIGNA from 22nd to 26th May 2017 in Hanover.

We will exhibit part for biomass combustion, anchors for refractory lining and different machining parts.

INVESTMENT CASTINGS

Investment castings are a clever option in cases where design solutions for small and complex components are required. We not only provide you with advice and support during the planning stage of new products but also in the run-up to production.


(Investment) CAST FROM THE SAME MOULD

Even complex geometries can be realised ensuring high dimensional accuracy and cost effectiveness.

This is an ancient process: findings from the period around 3000 B.C. reveal a long history of investment castings. With the historical lost-wax casting process, patterns are made from bees wax and encased in clay. After drying the clay, the wax is melted out, subsequently the clay is burnt and then metal is cast into the hollow space. After cooling, the clay is removed. This process was used for manufacturing jewellery and ornamental castings and its principle has not fundamentally changed over thousands of years. Introduction of casting heat-resistant mould materials and casting sands after the mid-20th century represented a milestone in investment castings: from then, it has been possible to process metals with higher melting temperatures at approx. 1,600 °C, which has paved the way for industrial application of the process. Today, the investment castings method is widely used in all industrial branches.

The range of materials and the variety of shapes have increased at a breathtaking pace since the beginning of industrial application. In addition to the large choice of steel alloys, cobalt and nickel alloys as well as non-ferrous metal alloys containing aluminium, copper and titanium are processed today. Even shapes with complex geometries, such as cavities, undercuts and fluting can be manufactured without any problems, which saves material and weight right from the start. The investment castings process is characterised by high dimensional accuracy and compliance with low tolerance values in a range of +/- 0.5 percent of the nominal dimension. Precision cast workpieces have a smooth surface and hardly require finishing. All in all, compared to cutting processes, this method provides advantages both in terms of quality and efficiency so that even processing rare and expensive materials pays off from the outset.

With the investment castings method it is possible to manufacture workpieces with a weight ranging from a few grams up to 100 kilograms. Batch sizes are variable. And thanks to a technique referred to as Rapid Prototyping, even single pieces can be produced in a straightforward and efficient manner. Rapid Prototyping, also referred to as Rapid Tooling, is a CAD-based, quasi-"virtual" production of series-identical prototypes or pilot series. The development phase of a workpiece can be considerably shortened due to computer simulations, which gives users an important competitive advantage. There are no limits in complexity of the cast parts, which, in turn, creates new opportunities for applications in mechanical engineering and the automotive industry as well as in product design.

The options are almost limitless and thanks to computer-aided technologies, development is ongoing. In future issues of ausSICHT, we will start a series of articles highlighting the key subjects of investment castings, such as rapid prototyping, alloys and special materials.


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