Design and purchasing engineers often find themselves searching for the right casting process. Asking what process offers the most design freedom and holds the tightest tolerances? Or which offers the most cost saving opportunities? While more than one manufacturing process may be suitable, they can also be complementary. Keep reading to learn how investment casting and die casting—together—became the right solution for this particular customer.
When most people think of investment casting, they often think of casting steel for large jet engines but investment casting is also great for commercial components. And while Signicast is well known for casting stainless steel, they are very successful at casting aluminum. Which worked out perfectly for this one particular customer, who in a bind, needed aluminum components—fast!
The component that was originally designed for die casting, but the die cast tooling was taking longer than expected and the project launch date was quickly approaching. Signicast’s engineering team stepped in to create ~50,000 aluminum parts to meet the customer’s strict timeline and hold them over until the die cast tool was finished.
*disclaimer, the die cast manufacturer was NOT Dynacast.
Flexibility with Investment Casting
The ability to create parts quickly is not typical for the investment casting process but Signicast has automated every part of the process creating the industry’s fastest leads times. For this particular customer, we went from designing the tool to part in hand in a matter of four weeks. This was possible in part to the speed and flexibility of Signicast’s in-house tooling.
Investment cast tooling is made from hardened aluminum, whereas die cast tools are made from hardened steel. The process difference being that the aluminum tool creates the wax pattern that molten metal is poured into for investment casting. With die casting, molten metal is injected into the die so the tool itself has to be much harder and able to withstand higher heat and force.
Watch this quick video to learn more about the investment casting process.
In regards to creating the tool, aluminum is easier to machine, in turn making it much faster and easier to modify. With die cast steel you machine it, harden it and then machine further. So, after three design iterations with this customer, you can imagine changing the design with investment casting was easier and more cost-effective than making those changes with the die casting process.
Once the die cast tool was up and running, Signicast had designed and created ~50,000 tapper handles for this customer. At that point, for high volume runs, die casting was more economical for this specific design and customer. But without the speed of Signicast’s investment casting continuous flow manufacturing process, this customer would not have met their customer’s time to market goals.
Whatever your situation, our expert engineering staff is ready to listen. With 30 in-house engineers, we partner with you on every project to ensure your component is in-hand when you need it. Contact our engineering team today to get the conversation started.