The Best Investment Casting Companies Have These 5 Things in Common
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Choosing between investment casting companies is daunting. We’ll help you make sure you don’t make the wrong call for the long haul.
Need complex metal parts made with precision, intentionality, and accuracy? We’ll bet you’re in the market for an investment casting company.
Investment casting is a metal casting process that’s known for producing parts with smooth surface finishes and extremely precise metal features. Popular in the machine building, agriculture, and armament industries, the process can create near-net-shape parts with outstanding dimensional accuracy.
In some cases, investment cast parts are ready to use as they come out, without the need for additional finishing operations—which means investment casting can save you valuable time and money (depending on your product).
Investment casting is a complicated and time-consuming process, but when done right the end results boast incredible dimensional accuracy—which is why it’s essential to find a partner that has the specialized equipment and expertise needed to excel in investment casting.
How does investment casting work?
Also known as lost wax casting, investment casting has been used for almost 5,000 years. Back then, investment casting was used to make intricate decorations, religious figures, utensils, weapons, and jewelry. To this day, many industries still use the investment casting process to make intricate parts.
The process starts with making a pattern or prototype of the desired part. Master molds can be made by 3D printing, machining from steel, or carving from wood. Next, wax is injected into the finished mold. When the wax pattern cools, it creates a replica of the original pattern.
That wax pattern is covered in the investment material—“investment” refers to the mold being invested or filled with metal—a refractory ceramic material that hardens and becomes a ceramic mold. Finally, molten metal is poured into the ceramic mold, where it hardens. When the investment material is broken, the finished part is revealed.
During the investment manufacturing process, the wax pattern and ceramic mold are destroyed, and a new wax pattern must be made from the master pattern to produce each new ceramic mold—a process that begins again for each part.
When you’re researching the best investment casting companies, here’s what you’ll want to look for.
Top 5 Characteristics of the Best Investment Casting Companies
Over a few decades of experience in investment casting
Ask prospective companies how much experience they have in investment casting, particularly working within your industry. Investment casting can be used to create a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from small cooling system parts to forklift counterweights and heavy agricultural machinery, so understanding the company’s direct industry experience with investment casting is important.
At The Federal Group, we’ve provided high-quality manufacturing services to a wide variety of industries for over four decades, and we’ve used investment casting to produce armored vehicle accessories, marine hardware like boat anchors and steering wheels, chain sprockets, gearbox housings, motor housings, plow tips, pump housings, turbo chargers and much more.
Access to state-of-the-art investment casting equipment
With investment casting, having the right equipment is essential. The more experience the company has with investment casting, the more advanced their casting equipment will be. In addition to asking about shell-making equipment and molding machines, you’ll also want to ask about the secondary machining capabilities to finish parts after casting is complete.
At TFG USA, our investment casting foundry has the most modern, state-of-the-art equipment, including a quality gating system plus robotic arms that help reduce operator-error casting defects, which results in a smoother finish. Our latest wax processing technology and semi-automatic injection machines allow us to make wax patterns quickly and reduce the time it takes to finish the project.
Ability to Cast with Multiple Metals
Investment casting can be an option for materials running from carbon steel and most steel alloys to brass, bronze, copper, aluminum, and stainless steel. Does the company in question have sufficient experience casting in the material you’ll need?
At TFG USA, we can work with carbon steel and most steel alloys, brass, bronze, copper, aluminum, and stainless steels including Duplex 2205, 2507, and others.
ISO-Certified Investment Casting Testing and Inspections
Quality control is crucial when it comes to investment casting production. When considering investment casting companies, you’ll want to ask about how each product is tested, inspected, and qualified. During the research process, inquire about the inspection process, tools, and testing equipment.
At TFG USA, we are a full-service ISO 9001-certified company, which means we strictly implement our quality control system and measures according to ISO quality management standards. Additionally, we offer dimensional and non-destructive testing (NDT) to make sure the investment castings meet the client’s required specifications.
A Plan to Save You Money
As we mentioned, investment casting can be an involved—and sometimes costly—endeavor, though the high initial costs can often be offset in other ways. The best investment casting companies will offer innovative ways to bring prohibitive costs down for the customer.
For instance, after we create the wax pattern, we attach several wax patterns to a wax rod to create a tree structure. This enables us to cast many parts at once, which lowers the cost per part.
Ready to get started on an investment casting project?
When your reputation is on the line for investment casting, you want a partner you can trust. As your metal parts experts, The Federal Group brings impressive expertise, powerful global network, and responsive, tech-driven, transparent process. If you’re seeking a partner for your next investment casting project, give The Federal Group USA a call.
Contact us to get started on a free quote for your investment casting project today.