What makes your part a good fit for investment casting?
When deciding on the best manufacturing process for a precision metal component, the design, cost, and timeframe allotted for production drives the conversation. And if you’re like most engineers, you’ll begin looking for alternatives to your current process when something isn’t working as well as it should.
The manufacturing process you select can have a significant impact on the final result you’ll achieve. It’s why so many design engineers find the arguments for converting to investment casting so compelling.
Investment casting allows you to cast almost any shape, in any alloy, with sophisticated and complex design features—all to exacting tolerances at a total lower cost. Whether your current process is marred by inefficiencies, added cost, or part variance, converting to investment casting will add value to your project.
In this blog, we’ll outline the three F’s of form, fit, and function that make a part a viable candidate for the process.
Fit, form, and function
When we start speaking with customers about transitioning an existing part to investment casting, we focus on three areas:
- Where will the part fit?
- What form will it take?
- How does it need to function to deliver maximum value?
We refer to these as the three F’s and the answers to each are key to determining whether investment casting is a good alternative to what customers already have in place.
When we talk about fit, we’re looking to understand how the part is situated in the final product. For instance, is it currently part of an additional assembly process? This can help us focus on areas where you may be able to realize greater value by simply recreating an existing part using the investment casting process.
In terms of form, we’re looking at whether the part has either a simple or more complex geometry. As we said before, investment casting can produce virtually any level of geometric complexity, but highly complex components are where the process stands to deliver the most return on your investment. More traditional shapes such as wedges or cope-and-drag style boxes are all possible with investment casting, but it may struggle to be cost-effective versus a more rudimentary process such as sand casting.
Finally, we focus on function. Here we’ll look at whether the component is static or moving; whether it needs to be able to withstand impact and constant wear; whether it has to sit flush against another part in a way that can be pressure sealed. This gives us critical information about the kind of alloy that might be best suited to the job. If you’re open to adjusting the specific formulation of the alloy you’ve been using with a different process, you may be able to see improved part performance by making the switch to investment casting.
So you’re thinking of making the switch to investment casting. What now?
While we’re big fans of investment casting, that doesn’t mean it’s the perfect fit for every application. Like any manufacturing process, it is better suited to some applications than others. So how do you decide if investment casting is right for your component?
The best way to know for sure is to get in contact with one of our design engineers. We’ll lend our expertise to walk you through step-by-step and help you decide whether or not to make the switch. You can contact an engineer here.
Looking for more resources on converting to investment casting? Download our free, on-demand seminar on converting to investment casting to hear Sales Engineer Lann Ellis, and Sales Director, Pete Lorenz, discuss the solutions that investment casting can provide and how other customers have successfully converted their components.
Fill out the form below to download our on-demand webinar.