Signicast Blog https://www.signicast.com/Knowledge Center/Signicast Blog Tuesday, 04 August 2020 18:41:42 Tuesday, 04 August 2020 18:41:42 Medical Grade Investment Castings /knowledge-center/signicast-blog/medical-grade-investment-castings {ED10F3EB-A67A-46B6-BD59-6457C84B6CB3} <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">The healthcare industry is constantly evolving, and in recent years, the sector has recorded an increased need for innovations in medical technology and portable, durable devices. In the same way, there is a growing demand for medical components that are not only high-performing,&nbsp;but are compatible with the human body over sustained use.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">For many years, stainless steel had been considered the only material suitable for manufacturing medical equipment. However, aluminum and cobalt chromium alloys have recently found a place in the medical market.&nbsp;And with Signicast investment castings, you can take advantage of each of these alloys as well as our precision capabilities and tight tolerances for the best performance in the industry.</p> <h2 style="color: #00a8e1; margin: 10pt 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">Stainless steel alloys for medical-grade equipment</span></h2> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">While innovations in materials for the medical industry are ever changing, there is no disputing the fact that stainless steel is still often the first choice&nbsp;for most medical equipment manufacturers due to its low and high temperature resistance, high strength, and biocompatible&nbsp;properties. And with investment casting, you can engineer the necessary complex geometries&nbsp;into the casting to enhance part performance and reliability. Our stainless steel alloys include different combinations of nickel, chromium, and carbon. Depending on the application, you can choose between the 300 or the 400 series stainless steels.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">The 400-series comprise 25% nickel, 1%carbon, and 11-27% chromium. The 300-series contain 6-25% nickel and 16-30% chromium. If you need a material with high strength and are looking to cut cost, the 400-series could be the right choice. However, for applications that need high strength, high corrosion resistance,&nbsp;and to retain their properties at high temperatures, the 300-series group could be more effective.</p> <h4 style="color: #007da8; margin: 2pt 0in 0.0001pt; text-align: center;"><span style="color: #d9272e;"><strong>It is best to connect with one of our metallurgists to determine which material is best suited to your requirements. You may be surprised to find that there is an option available that you had not yet considered.</strong></span><strong> <a href="http://www.signicast.com/contact" style="color: #0073b8;"><span style="color: gray;">Contact our team today!</span></a></strong></h4> <h2 style="color: #00a8e1; margin: 10pt 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">Aluminum alloys for Class 1 &amp; 2 devices and housings</span></h2> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">While stainless steels meet biocompatibility and strength requirements for Class 1 and 2 medical devices, its weight is often a limiting factor when it comes to usability. Aluminum alloys often incur lower total costs while maintaining significantly higher strength to weight ratio compared to stainless steels. Plus, aluminum inherently creates aluminum oxide when exposed to oxidizing agents, creating a protective layer that prevents further oxidation, and therefore weakness, of the component. This is where lightweight aluminum has found its place in the market producing medical components&nbsp;for applications such as handheld surgical devices and portable medical equipment that needs to be durable, lightweight, and easy to use while also being able to pass stringent FDA regulations.</p> <h2 style="color: #00a8e1; margin: 10pt 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">Cobalt alloys (ASTM-75) for implantable devices</span></h2> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">Signicast has utilized cobalt alloys as an alternative to stainless steel, especially for use within implantable devices. Cobalt-Chromium, which is ferromagnetic, is very strong even when exposed to very high temperatures and has high corrosion and wear resistance when compared to other metals. It is also entirely biocompatible, making it suitable for implantable devices.</p> <h2 style="color: #00a8e1; margin: 10pt 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">Medical component manufacturer</span></h2> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">Medical devices, whether Class 1 or 2, have components that should meet and/or exceed the necessary efficiency and safety requirements set in place by governing forces as well as the physical and mechanical properties required by you, the manufacturer. This calls for extra care when choosing what material to use in the manufacture of such devices and the right manufacturing partner to successfully launch your program.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt; text-align: center;"><strong>If you&rsquo;re looking for a manufacturing partner that can offer more than just parts off the line,<span style="color: #d9272e;"> </span></strong><a href="http://www.signicast.com/contact" style="color: #0073b8;"><strong><span style="color: #d9272e;">contact Signicast today!</span></strong></a><strong> Our engineers can help you find the best and most cost-efficient material for your project.</strong></p> Thursday, 09 July 2020 00:00:00 Streamlining Your Supply Chain with Signicast /knowledge-center/signicast-blog/get-to-the-market-soon-with-signicast {B7B04C84-BD3B-48F7-956E-1F865037F43C} <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><strong><span style="color: #d9272e;">Manufacturers in the medical and healthcare industry turn to Signicast to streamline their supply chain and get to market faster.</span></strong></p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">You&rsquo;ve developed your concept, ironed out the kinks in the design stage, and you&rsquo;re ready to start manufacturing your component to get to market as soon as possible. Unfortunately, for some industries, there are still roadblocks that slow a program&rsquo;s progress from the design phase into mass production.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">For manufacturers in the healthcare and medical industries that are subject to regulatory entities like the FDA, getting to market involves several stringent testing and validation phases&mdash;sometimes even before the part is cast.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">Components are typically tested for function, durability, biocompatibility, and sometimes, ease of use. To pass these tests, each phase of the manufacturing process for the final part must be approved. For medical manufacturers, you can&rsquo;t validate a medical device prototype by machining from bar stock, and expect to use another manufacturing process for the end product. Each process you plan to use in mass production needs to be taken into consideration and approved by the governing bodies.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">At Signicast, we know that expediency isn&rsquo;t only relevant to the medical industry. If your current manufacturing process is falling short of<span style="color: #d9272e;"> <a href="https://www.signicast.com/about-us/investment-casting-capabilities">timely delivery expectations</a></span><a href="https://www.signicast.com/about-us/investment-casting-capabilities"></a> or you&rsquo;re looking to get a safe, reliable product to market as soon as possible to beat out the competition, you need the quick quote turnaround time, automation, and just-in-time delivery of Signicast.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img height="487" alt="Investment Casting | Process Control | Medical Manufacturer" width="974" src="-/media/0c4f3540bc1845a9b94759f501a791ca.ashx" /></p> <h2 style="color: #00a8e1; margin: 10pt 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">Quote turnaround in one week or less</span></h2> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">When choosing a supplier, the entire process begins with requesting a quote. Although not always considered a critical step in product launch, quote turnaround is a foundational step towards moving your program forward. We know your time is valuable, and we want to make sure that you can get the ball rolling with your chosen manufacturing process as quickly as possible. We make it a priority to get a quote back to you as soon as we can.</p> <h2 style="color: #00a8e1; margin: 10pt 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">Process automation</span></h2> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">Typically, processes like machining are chosen for their relative speed and complex capabilities. But with Signicast, you can achieve the same rate of production and complexity with our <a href="https://www.signicast.com/about-us/automation" style="color: #0073b8;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">advanced</span> <span style="color: #d9272e;">proprietary automation</span></a>. And our automated processes not only deliver on speed&mdash;they deliver on reliability and regulatory requirements.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">By default, manufacturing processes that employ automation eliminate some of the scrap associated with human error. Process automation shows regulatory entities that your company is doing its due diligence for quality control throughout the entire supply chain, streamlining your program&rsquo;s road to approval and validation.</p> <h2 style="color: #00a8e1; margin: 10pt 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">Reduced lead times for just-in-time delivery</span></h2> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">Signicast has a unique ability to ramp up and ramp down production on demand. Because we can deliver <a href="https://www.signicast.com/about-us/why-signicast" style="color: #0073b8;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">precisely the right components, exactly when you need them</span></a>, you can plan your needs according to your production schedule instead of stocking up and taking up valuable space. This means that for components that require testing and validation, you can submit an order once your component is approved and still get to market quickly, rather than submitting an order before approval that may require modifications.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><strong><span style="color: #d9272e;">Ultimately, it means you can hold less inventory, reduce costs, and ensure your parts don&rsquo;t become obsolete.</span></strong></p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt; text-align: center;"><strong><img height="510" alt="Investment Casting | Process Control | Medical Manufacturer" width="974" src="-/media/f956ceb924b645509416e0e20c3fb0b6.ashx?h=510&amp;w=974" style="height: 510px; width: 974px;" /></strong></p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">Don&rsquo;t want to take our word for it? Just ask this oil &amp; gas industry customer, who sourced a continuously-failing part with a high-scrap yield from another investment caster for three years before switching to Signicast&mdash;where they got their part tooled and in production in just under eight weeks.</p> <h2 style="color: #00a8e1; margin: 10pt 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">Get to market sooner with Signicast</span></h2> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">In today&rsquo;s world, efficiency is king. In order to remain competitive, manufacturers need to streamline processes wherever possible. Although component validation presents a potential roadblock for manufacturers in the medical field and similar industries, getting to market sooner is made easier with Signicast.</p> Friday, 12 June 2020 00:00:00 Three Ways to Optimize Your Design for Cost Savings /knowledge-center/signicast-blog/three-ways-to-optimize-your-design-for-cost-savings {BCD1A361-9343-409E-BA3F-74E5D9B79FF0} <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">After deciding on the investment casting process for your project, your next business objective is to maximize your return on investment by engineering your component to take advantage of the process. In other words, to lower manufacturing costs, engineers should approach each project with the intent of designing their component for optimal manufacturability.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">You&rsquo;re in luck! Design for manufacturability (DFM) is a Signicast core methodology. DFM ensures that investment cast parts perform to specification while reducing cycle times and the need for secondary operations. These operations are both costly and time consuming, and the most convenient time to minimize them is during the design stage.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">DFM is more than just a concept&mdash;it&rsquo;s a way to remove cost and eliminate inefficiencies before your project moves towards production.&nbsp;<strong>In this blog, we&rsquo;ll walk you through three ways to design your investment cast component for additional cost savings.</strong></p> <h2 style="color: #00a8e1; margin: 10pt 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">Strategic gating</span></h2> <p style="color: #00a8e1; margin: 10pt 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;"></span><span style="color: #000000;">With the investment casting process, gating is an essential feature that engineers must factor into their design. When designing your component to lower cost, you should take the gate location into consideration.</span></p> <p style="color: #00a8e1; margin: 10pt 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #000000;"></span><span style="color: #000000;">The gate location must be seamlessly integrated into the design so that it doesn&rsquo;t disrupt part performance. To minimize porosity and reduce cost, it&rsquo;s best to consider where you will gate the part early on in the design process. The gate location should be incorporated on geometry adjacent to the thickest part of the casting to minimize porosity, ideally on a surface that doesn&rsquo;t have stringent tolerance requirements for functionality. Isolated heavy sections should be avoided if possible, as these sections may require additional gating which negatively impacts cost.</span></p> <p style="color: #00a8e1; margin: 10pt 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #000000;"></span><span style="color: #000000;">Interested in learning more about how gating and porosity play a role in overall part performance?</span><strong style="color: #000000;"><span style="color: #d9272e;"> Download our webinar, Minimizing Porosity, Maximizing Performance here.</span></strong></p> <iframe src="https://go.formtechnologies.com/l/682843/2020-01-22/6f7tb" width="100%" height="500" type="text/html" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" style="border: 0;"></iframe> <h2 style="color: #00a8e1; margin: 10pt 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">Incorporating design and cosmetic features</span></h2> <p style="color: #00a8e1; margin: 10pt 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;"></span><span style="color: #000000;">Using other manufacturing processes, complicated design features like lettering, date codes, internal threads, splines, and other unusual shapes require costly secondary operations. Investment casting, on the other hand, can incorporate these features directly into the casting, no matter how complex. While this may slightly increase the cost of tooling, you will not have to pay for additional secondary operations for each part, ensuring a considerable drop in piece part price. Additionally, since our wax is non-abrasive, the tooling will not wear down over time. Incorporating these complicated designs and cosmetic features into your investment cast geometry will eliminate secondary operation costs down the line.</span></p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><img height="400" alt="Investment Casting | As Cast Lettering | As Cast Threads" width="1000" src="-/media/be6455b6f2d642a2a286b1e794bec9b4.ashx" /></p> <h2 style="color: #00a8e1; margin: 10pt 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">Take advantage of value engineering for savings and performance</span></h2> <p style="color: #00a8e1; margin: 10pt 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;"></span><span style="color: #000000;">The most important part of designing your component to lower overall cost is getting your supplier involved early in the process to identify and knock out any potentially costly features in your part design&mdash;whether they might be detrimental to your bottom line or part performance.</span></p> <p style="color: #00a8e1; margin: 10pt 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #000000;"></span><span style="color: #000000;">For example, we often have customers that come to us with a project for several different parts that will be assembled in the final product. With Signicast&rsquo;s value engineering, we are able to consolidate these parts in one single casting without any secondary assembly. In doing so, our engineers help you to optimize the component to take advantage of the abilities of investment casting, while also securing a decrease in piece part price with the elimination of secondary assembly operations.</span></p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><img height="400" alt="Investment Casting | Value Engineering | Investment Cast Design" width="1200" src="-/media/3eb0231b71964c9d8f86c47f81438d58.ashx" /></p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">When optimizing your part for performance to avoid costly redesigns, experience is the best teacher. At Signicast, our engineers have been around the block a time or two and know how to engineer features that ensure dimensional stability, and which features put castings at risk of failing. For example, with early involvement of our design team, we are able to incorporate features like ribs and cores to provide strength and optimal solidification <em>without </em>sacrificing performance.</p> <p><img height="400" alt="Investment Casting | Value Engineering | Investment Cast Design" width="1000" src="-/media/1628587cddf24c04a553f4de9773f93c.ashx" /></p> <h2><span style="color: #d9272e;">Maximize ROI with investment casting</span></h2> <p style="color: #00a8e1; margin: 10pt 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;"></span><span style="color: #000000;">Are you beginning to see a pattern? When designing your investment cast component, the key to maximizing your ROI is to take advantage of process capabilities like part consolidation, low piece part prices, and complex design features, and to involve the experts as early in the design stage as possible. With these tools, you&rsquo;re ready to design for optimal manufacturability.</span></p> <h3 style="color: #00a8e1; margin: 10pt 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #000000;"></span><a href="https://www.signicast.com/about-us/contact" style="color: #0073b8;"><span style="color: #d9272e;"><strong>Contact our engineering team today</strong></span></a><span style="color: #000000;"><strong> to get the conversation started.</strong></span></h3> Wednesday, 29 April 2020 00:00:00 Protoyping for Mass Production /knowledge-center/signicast-blog/protoyping-for-mass-production {0AD72EE4-BF9E-417C-AAC1-E26EDE216A4E} <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;">An effective prototype should be more than a replica of your component. It should be able to withstand strength testing, hold the geometry of your final part, and validate proof of concept. A good, functional prototype is the foundational stepping stone towards transitioning your project off the drawing board and into mass production.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;">Signicast offers various prototyping technologies to suit your individual project, and we&rsquo;re staffed with a team of engineering experts with experience producing prototypes for a variety of industries and applications.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Prototyping options for productive testing</h2> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;">To choose the most effective prototyping process, you need to determine your end component&rsquo;s physical properties and testing requirements. These requirements will narrow down your available prototyping options. Once you&rsquo;ve done that, you can pursue a functional prototype utilizing one of these avenues:</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="background-color: #c00000;"><br /> </span></p> <h3 style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">Short-run, hard tooled prototype</span></h3> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;">If you&rsquo;re looking for a prototyping process to produce a large number of parts with the exact mechanical and physical properties, dimensions, and tolerances of your end component, a short run hard tooled prototype is the most effective option. The hard tooled prototype entails an up-front tooling cost, but produces prototypes at a lower piece price than processes that utilize SLAs or PMMAs. If your project requires an exact prototype and rigorous yield strength testing, a hard tool prototype is the way to go.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;"><br /> </span></p> <h3 style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">3D printed wax pattern</span><span style="color: #131313;"></span></h3> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #131313;"></span>If you&rsquo;re looking for design validation, proof of concept, fill validation, or for your prototype to mimic the mechanical properties of a true investment cast component, 3D printed wax patterns are efficient with a fast turnaround time. Our printed wax patterns are created in-house within hours and immediately processed into fully functioning metal components. Recent technological advancements have made it much easier to validate surface finishes on these prototypes. The biggest limitation for this process is component size&mdash;printers will only accommodate parts about the size of a Rubik&rsquo;s cube or smaller.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="-/media/eafd6af119a34b76ab622609c43f4b71.ashx?h=359&amp;w=400" style="width: 400px; height: 359px;" /><br /> <em>A 3D printed wax pattern and the cast prototype</em></p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;"><br /> </span></p> <h3 style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">SLA (Stereolithography)</span></h3> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;">SLA is similar to our 3D printed patterns, but chosen when part size is larger than our 3D printer capacity&mdash;about the size of a sheet of paper, 6 to 8 inches high. Much like 3D printed wax patterns, SLA prototypes mimic the mechanical properties of a true investment cast component and are an effective method of prototyping for fit and design validation. Aside from size, the main difference between 3D printed patterns and SLA patterns is the pattern removal is far more manual.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;"><br /> </span></p> <h3 style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">PMMA (Polymethyl methacrylate)</span></h3> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;">PMMA patterns are similar to SLA patterns and accommodate parts that exceed the size capabilities for SLA. Similar to 3D wax patterns and SLA, PMMA is good for dialing in surface finishes, fit and design validation, and mimicking the mechanical properties of an investment cast component. PMMA is also a great indicator of the strength and repeatability of complex geometry.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;"><br /> </span></p> <h2 style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;"></h2> <h3 style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">Machined from solid</span></h3> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;">Machining from solid bar stock is typically an extremely fast process and great for producing a dimensionally-accurate part to measure fit and proof of concept. To guarantee speed, this process is best suited to cut low volume, aluminum alloy parts. Parts cut from stainless steels and carbon steels are cut more slowly, and the longer run time has the potential to increase cost.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;"><br /> </span></p> <h3 style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering)</span></h3> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;">This process suits prototypes with complex geometries and exacting, untoolable features. With this process, however, you&rsquo;ll want to consider that DMLS can&rsquo;t usually hold the same mechanical properties as a true investment casting. So while this process is great for proof of concept and demonstration, it won&rsquo;t hold up to real-world testing.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;">&nbsp;</p> <h3 style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">Which prototyping process is the most effective for mass production?</span></h3> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;">Over the course of a successful product launch, you could conceivably use a combination of several different processes. The most effective prototyping process for the current stage of testing depends on the scope of your project and how close you are to product launch.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;">Eventually, when you&rsquo;re close to running your project at mass production capacity, we recommend moving into a short-term hard tooled investment casting run. This way, you&rsquo;ll be able to effectively test and validate each requirement of your end component.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;"><br /> </span></p> <h3 style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #d9272e;">Get the most out of you prototypes&nbsp;</span></h3> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;">One of the most important&mdash;and often undervalued&mdash;part of the prototyping process is getting your supplier involved in the design process as early as possible. Ideally, you want to design your prototype for optimal manufacturability, and the most straightforward way to do this is to involve design engineers who are familiar with the investment casting process. In doing this, you can avoid setbacks in the prototyping process, like having to re-design a part to certify mold flow and solidification, re-design for castibility, or re-design for alloy requirements.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;">Signicast has the know-how and experience to optimize the production process from the beginning so that you can get the most out of your prototype and streamline the transition to mass production.</p> <p style="color: #000000; margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt;">&nbsp;</p> <p><strong style="color: #000000;"><span>Interested in learning more about prototyping effectively for mass production? Download our free webinar Prototyping for Production! Click below.&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="~/link.aspx?_id=A78DD67E40D84D97A3E996688C298C87&amp;_z=z"><img alt="" height="530" width="1200" src="-/media/1dc4ceb051eb45a9a86cd0ef1d94ad89.ashx" /></a></p> Monday, 02 March 2020 00:00:00 Prototyping for Production FAQ /knowledge-center/signicast-blog/prototyping-faq {FF3619F7-67FE-4BE3-A9AB-9705164E92BA} <p><img alt="" src="-/media/e299caafb98c4169867f2ca073fb2fbc.ashx?h=628&amp;w=1200" style="height: 628px; width: 1200px;" /></p> <p>When it comes to designing and developing your components, developing a prototype is one of many critical steps towards successful program launch and efficient mass production.</p> <h2>How do you determine which prototyping route to utilize?</h2> <p>With 3D printing on the rise, choosing a metal prototyping option may seem like a matter-of-fact decision. However, you&rsquo;ll want to start at a very basic, foundational level and determine the cost impact of a variety of factors in order to achieve better long-term results.</p> <p>The geometry, size, and quantity of your end component will be the three biggest factors that determine which prototyping process will make the most sense, because these three factors drive the cost. Certain features and properties are going to lend themselves to one process or the other. And finally, you need to determine if your prototype will act solely as proof of concept for your design, or if want a fully functional part to test in real-world applications.</p> <p><img alt="" src="-/media/78eae3cb325e488192c3be7a6c24a4ea.ashx?h=4480&amp;w=6720" style="height: 4480px; width: 6720px; float: right;" /></p> <p><strong>Don&rsquo;t worry; our team of engineers can help you determine the best prototyping option for your project.&nbsp;</strong><a href="https://www.signicast.com/en/about-us/contact"><strong>Contact our team today</strong></a><strong>.</strong></p> <h2>What if I&rsquo;m trying to decide between a few different alloys for my part?</h2> <p>The prototyping stage is an excellent point during design and development to test different material options for your component. At Signicast, we can run through multiple material options when you prototype with the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.signicast.com/en/about-investment-casting/investment-casting-process">investment casting process</a>. For example, Signicast engineers can run 3D printed patterns for prototypes in place of the traditional wax pattern. Using this process, our engineers print multiple patterns to run through different molds with different alloys to help you determine the right end-game alloy as it relates to mechanical and physical properties of your component.</p> <h2>What is the typical lead time for tooling and fixtures?</h2> <p>With Signicast&rsquo;s in-house tool room, we build the tool and the fixtures concurrently. Our tooling room runs just like our foundries: two 12-hour shifts, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are no lapses in time. Since we don&rsquo;t defer to an outside source to build our tools, we quote standard tooling lead times of three to five weeks.</p> <h2>Does Signicast do in-house production machining or just machining for prototyping?</h2> <p>We do both. We have a very expansive machine shop at our Hartford, Wisconsin location.&nbsp;In the shop, we have three, four, and five axis machining centers with a wide variety of capabilities.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.signicast.com/en/about-us/contact/request-a-plant-tour">Request a plant tour to see it for yourself</a>!</p> <p><img alt="" height="315" width="1200" src="-/media/050d8d075ebd40b4b4f4f7a326a1fad0.ashx" /></p> <h2>Will there be differences between parts off a manual tool and parts off a full mass production tool?</h2> <p>Typically, no. With a manual tool, we are limited to how fast we can inject parts, so the only notable difference is the speed of injection. With a fully productionized tool, we are able to take advantage of the automated presses and the robotic part removal that is associated with a fully-fledge investment casting run. If your prototyping project has higher volumes, you will gain more efficiency with a productionized tool environment.</p> <h2>What kind of non-destructive testing (NDT) processes are available for investment cast prototypes?</h2> <p>At Signicast, we can do a variety of NDT testing procedures, including but not limited to these tests and procedures:</p> <ul> <li>Fluid penetrant injection (FPI)</li> <li>Mag particle inspection</li> <li>X-ray</li> <li>Test bar</li> <li>Dimensional scanning</li> <li>Coordinate measuring (CMM)</li> </ul> <p>Whatever your testing requirements, whether it&rsquo;s on the printer or post production, we have sources and capabilities in-house to deliver a functional prototype to your doorstep.</p> <h2>Fully functional metal prototypes</h2> <p>We know that finding a supplier who can constantly and consistently deliver effective prototypes can make or break your business. With investment cast prototyping, you do not have to compromise quality for time or cost. To learn more about how you can utilize the investment casting process for prototyping, <em>download our free on-demand webinar.</em></p> <p><strong>Fill out the form below to download our free on-demand webinar.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <br /> <iframe src="https://go.formtechnologies.com/l/682843/2019-10-23/4vpk8" width="100%" height="500" type="text/html" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" style="border: 0;"></iframe> Tuesday, 25 February 2020 00:00:00 Converting to Investment Casting: Is Your Part a Good Fit? /knowledge-center/signicast-blog/converting-to-investment-casting {6287100B-11D1-413B-BB0D-F79E57F82A7A} <h2>What makes your part a good fit for investment casting?</h2> <p>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&rsquo;re like most engineers, you&rsquo;ll begin looking for alternatives to your current process when something isn&rsquo;t working as well as it should. </p> <p>The manufacturing process you select can have a significant impact on the final result you&rsquo;ll achieve. It&rsquo;s why so many design engineers find the arguments for converting to investment casting so compelling.</p> <p>Investment casting allows you to cast almost any shape, in any alloy, with sophisticated and complex design features&mdash;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.</p> <p>In this blog, we&rsquo;ll outline the three F&rsquo;s of form, fit, and function that make a part a viable candidate for the process.</p> <h2>Fit, form, and function</h2> <p>When we start speaking with customers about transitioning an existing part to investment casting, we focus on three areas:</p> <ol> <li>Where will the part <strong>fit</strong>?</li> <li>What <strong>form</strong> will it take?</li> <li>How does it need to <strong>function</strong> to deliver maximum value?</li> </ol> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;">We refer to these as the three F&rsquo;s and the answers to each are key to determining whether investment casting is a good alternative to what customers already have in place.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;">&nbsp;</p> <h3>Fit</h3> <p>When we talk about fit, we&rsquo;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. </p> <h3>Form</h3> <p>In terms of form, we&rsquo;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.</p> <h3>Function</h3> <p>Finally, we focus on function. Here we&rsquo;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&rsquo;re open to adjusting the specific formulation of the alloy you&rsquo;ve been using with a different process, you may be able to see improved part performance by making the switch to investment casting.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>So you&rsquo;re thinking of making the switch to investment casting. What now?</h2> <p>While we&rsquo;re big fans of investment casting, that doesn&rsquo;t mean it&rsquo;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? </p> <h4><em>The best way to know for sure is to get in contact with one of our design engineers. We&rsquo;ll lend our expertise to walk you through step-by-step and help you decide whether or not to make the switch. <a href="https://www.signicast.com/en/about-us/contact/ask-an-engineer">You can contact an engineer here.</a></em></h4> <p><em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p><em><img alt="" height="508" width="974" src="-/media/229d86d4b66b4d75bc50f26fbcdd8fc3.ashx?h=508&amp;w=974" style="height: 508px; width: 974px;" /></em></p> <br /> <h4>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.</h4> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><img alt="" height="254" width="974" src="-/media/5be7c9cebf264b40a88ce2ea783b0d99.ashx" /></em></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong>Fill out the form below to download our on-demand webinar.&nbsp;</strong></p> <iframe src="https://go.formtechnologies.com/l/682843/2019-07-24/35psz" width="100%" height="500" type="text/html" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" style="border: 0;"></iframe> Monday, 27 January 2020 00:00:00 Adding Value with Investment Casting /knowledge-center/signicast-blog/adding-value-with-investment-casting {7DA73F24-188C-4FFC-8B4B-6D7C6B499CDD} <p><strong>Whether your current process is marred by inefficiencies, added cost, or part variance, converting to investment casting can add value to your project.</strong></p> <p>So the initial manufacturing process for your component is turning out to be less successful than you had hoped. No worries, we&rsquo;ve all been there. If your current process is marred by inefficiencies, added cost, or part variance, consider making the switch to investment casting.</p> <p><strong>Investment casting is an extremely versatile manufacturing process which allows an exceptionally wide range of parts and industries to take advantage of its benefits.</strong></p> <p>Certain projects, however, stand to gain more from converting to investment casting than others. For these projects, initial manufacturing processes usually yield complex parts, but have problems with the delivery of design, cost, and speed-to-market. For instance, we often convert complex parts that were initially either cast as several separate pieces or had most of their geometries machined from solid.</p> <h4>Are you currently machining from solid? <a href="https://www.signicast.com/en/about-us/contact/ask-an-engineer"><span>Talk to one of our engineers</span></a> to see if your part is a better fit for the investment casting process. </h4> <h2>&nbsp;</h2> <h2>The downside of secondary operations</h2> <p>While casting several pieces and machining from solid produces a technically functional part, these processes are extremely inefficient when compared to investment casting. When the Signicast team gets involved, we take a more holistic view of your entire project, including cost, production timeline, and intended part performance. Engineers find that secondary operations associated with assembly and machining have a negative impact on both speed-to-market and part performance. </p> <p>By comparison, the <a href="https://www.signicast.com/en/about-investment-casting/investment-casting-process">investment casting process</a> offers net-shape or near net-shape parts in a fraction of the time. Using software simulation like mold flow analysis, Signicast design engineers ensure that the complex geometry within the net-shape component will be both strong and mechanically sound <em>before</em> they pour metal into the mold. Signicast&rsquo;s ability to cast net-shape or near net-shape not only allows design engineers greater freedom, but eliminates waste associated with scrap material when machining from solid.</p> <center></center> <p><img height="508" alt="Investment Casting | Precision Casting | CNC Machine" width="974" src="-/media/c322b0cdd97042f5a47dba10b250bbd4.ashx" /></p> <p>And with the assistance of advanced robotics and best-in-class technology during the casting process, we automate almost every step of the way, guaranteeing repeatability and radically accelerating the manufacturing process beyond any other manufacturer&rsquo;s capabilities. </p> <h2>The value of investment casting</h2> <p>As Lann Ellis, Signicast Sales Engineer puts it, &ldquo;The repeatability you achieve with this process by reducing or eliminating downstream operations also reduces rework loops and streamlines the journey from manufacturing to customer.&rdquo;</p> <p>With investment casting, you get all the benefits of one of the most optimized, repeatable precision metal processes in history, all while reducing the need for assembly and machining down the line and accelerating your speed-to-market.</p> <p>Looking for more resources on converting to investment casting? Download our free white paper on Making the Move to Investment Casting to learn about the solutions that investment casting can provide and how other customers have successfully converted their components.</p> <img height="218" alt="Investment Casting | Precision Casting | CNC Machine" width="974" src="-/media/9cd5f5995ee54867aa0c39f1289e2cd5.ashx" />&nbsp; <p><strong>Fill out the form below to download our free white paper.</strong></p> <iframe src="https://go.formtechnologies.com/l/682843/2019-06-13/2qb28" width="100%" height="500" type="text/html" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" style="border: 0;"></iframe> Thursday, 23 January 2020 00:00:00 Using Soluble Cores in Investment Casting /knowledge-center/signicast-blog/using-soluble-cores-in-investment-casting {3F72BE32-EEE0-4DB5-B480-63CF070E86C1} <h2>Do your metal components require complex inner cavities?</h2> <p><a href="/about-investment-casting/investment-casting-process">Investment casting</a> is ideal for parts that require tight tolerances, repeatability, and complex design characteristics. For parts that require particularly complex inner cavity configurations, our design engineers can incorporate a soluble core into the investment casting process. The use of soluble cores allows for more intricate cavity patterns to be included in the casting, reducing or eliminating the need for additional machining.</p> <p><a href="/about-investment-casting/investment-casting-process">Watch this video to learn more about our investment casting process</a>!</p> <h2>Designing for soluble core</h2> <p>Incorporating a soluble core into the investment casting process is achieved through strategic design and a few additional steps to our advanced investment casting process.</p> <p>During the standard investment casting process, the pattern wax is injected into the mold cavity, cooled, ejected, and then attached to the sprue before continuing on for the remainder of the casting process. If the part does not require a particularly intricate core, this process is <a href="/about-us/automation">automated</a> with our state-of-the-art technology. If the part does require an inner channel, the soluble core process is best-achieved by one of our specialized operators.</p> <p>First, a soluble wax is injected into a mold to form the geometry of the core. The core is then ejected from the mold and cooled.</p> <p>An operator will mount the soluble core in a precise position within the cavity of the mold for the entire component. The position of the soluble core within the mold is held by points of support that are incorporated into the mold during the design process. The added support ensures that the core stays in place when the pattern wax is injected and helps to facilitate the removal of the wax from the mold. The mold is then closed and the pattern wax is injected into the cavity around the soluble core. In the mold, the soluble core creates the inner baffles, channels, and ports that will be included in the final casting.</p> <p>Once the pattern wax is cooled, the whole part is ejected from the mold. The part is then inserted into a bath of mild muriatic acid, and the soluble core is dissolved out, leaving behind a geometrically complex core that could not be otherwise achieved with standard investment casting.</p> <p><img border="0" src="-/media/5695196BFC29419F8DA2D779AEA8E3C8.ashx" width="1600" height="628" title="Using Soluble Cores in Investment Casting" /></p> <p>The remaining pattern wax is then attached to the sprue and continues through the remainder of the investment casting process as normal. The end product is a repeatable, intricate part that delivers high performance without demanding costly secondary operations.</p> <h2>So why soluble cores?</h2> <p><img border="0" src="-/media/1D4155E1602347AD92681ED5CCA31F1C.ashx" width="6720" height="4480" title="Using Soluble Cores in Investment Casting" /></p> <p>Utilizing soluble cores provides many benefits, but the biggest benefit is the ability to design components with more complexity in the core of the part without costly secondary operations.</p> <p>Without the need for additional machining, engineers enjoy greater design freedom. Additionally, the elimination of secondary operations mean that you’ll save time in the manufacturing process, and therefore, save on manufacturing costs.</p> <h3 class="blue">Want to learn more about soluble cores or any of our other options for intricate inner-core designs? Download our free webinar!</h3> <p /> <p><br /> <iframe width="100%" height="500" style="border: 0;" type="text/html" src="https://go.formtechnologies.com/l/682843/2019-07-24/35yfb" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true"></iframe></p> Monday, 11 November 2019 18:30:00 Investment Casting Material Options /knowledge-center/signicast-blog/investment-casting-material-options {2C85AE6E-E164-4934-98F8-50E7725211D3} <div class="content-block block-100" rel-id="6282"><div class="inner"> <p>Investment casting is such a versatile manufacturing solution in part because the material options are nearly endless.</p> <p>Whether you’re looking for corrosion resistance, increased tensile strength, or ductility, we have the materials to meet your requirements. At Signicast, we pour everything from 400 series stainless steel and plain carbon steel, to nickel and aluminum. With the capability to cast parts ranging from a few ounces to upwards of 200 pounds, Signicast’s investment casting process is one of the most dynamic manufacturing solutions on the market.</p> </div></div> <div class="content-block block-100" rel-id="6282"> <div class="inner imageblock"> <iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yqiGscBlq7E?rel=0&amp;controls=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;wmode=transparent" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> </div></div> <div class="content-block block-100" rel-id="6283"> <div class="inner"> <a name="block-6283"></a> <p>This versatility means that we can more easily resolve traditional casting challenges in design, production, cost control, and delivery. The availability of material options means that you don’t necessarily have to sacrifice one element of a design in favor of lowering cost—our engineers are involved in every step of the design and production process to aid in the selection of the most effective metal for your project’s unique challenges.</p> <p>&nbsp;There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when selecting the best alloy for the job. To narrow the scope, here are some frequently asked questions about investment casting materials and options, answered.</p></div> </div> <div class="content-block block-100" rel-id="6284"><div class="inner imageblock" style="line-height:0"> <a name="block-6284"></a> <div class="caption"><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/metal-selector-tool"><img border="0" src="/stuff/contentmgr/files/0/06b2e4765658e8ce864242d154b0f3bf/misc/picture1.png" width="468" height="154" /></a></p></div></div></div> <div class="content-block block-100" rel-id="6285"> <div class="inner"> <a name="block-6285"></a> <h3><b>What alloys accept plating or painting best?</b></h3> <p>Any material can be painted. The alloys that are easiest to paint are generally those that don’t oxidize a lot. For instance, stainless steels can be difficult to paint without some secondary thermal processes, but the plain carbon low alloy steels are quite easy to paint. The other factor that affects painting and plating is the surface finish of each unique part. If the part is too smooth, the paint won’t adhere as well. In general, low alloy steels paint and plate the best.</p> <h3><b>Does Signicast refine carbon and low alloy steels?</b></h3> <p>Typically, we don’t need to refine these materials. Our proprietary process meets and exceeds clarity properties without any subsequent steps. We melt very clean raw materials, as opposed to other processes like sand casting that need to refine their melts to eliminate unwanted matter.</p> <h3><b>Can you create identical parts of different alloys from the same tool or do you need one tool per each alloy of identical parts?</b></h3> <p>Due to the different coefficient of thermal expansion of each alloy, a tool that accommodates the shrink rate of one alloy may not be able to accommodate the shrink rate of another. Though the wax pattern would be the same dimension regardless of the alloy, the part will shrink differently during and after solidification with different metals.</p> <h3><b>Are some alloys better than others for minimizing porosity?</b></h3> <p>Some alloys are better for minimizing porosity without secondary operations, but minimal porosity can always be achieved with additional heating processes. For instance, aluminum alloys can be quite difficult to manufacture without secondary shrinkage operations. Due to its high hydrogen solubility, bubbles can form as the part solidifies, so there must be extra processing steps to prevent that from affecting the performance and porosity of the final product. Generally speaking, stainless steels are good for minimizing porosity during initial production.</p> <h3><b>What alloy works best for thin walls?</b></h3> <p>Because we spend a lot of time designing each casting, we can achieve very thin walls with most materials. Aluminum works quite well for thin-walled parts, as well as sulfur-baring steels.</p> <p><strong>If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of the wide spectrum of material options, download our free, on-demand seminar on investment casting materials here.</strong></p> <p /> </div> </div> <p><br /> <iframe width="100%" height="500" style="border: 0;" type="text/html" src="https://go.formtechnologies.com/l/682843/2019-07-25/36fd8" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true"></iframe></p> Monday, 11 November 2019 18:30:00 Innovations in Casting Hand Tools /knowledge-center/signicast-blog/innovations-in-casting-hand-tools {8B82A00D-6D0C-4A0D-92DF-CA49FF7B517C} <p>When you think of a <a href="/who-we-serve/power-hand-tools">hand tool</a>, like a ratchet or a wrench, the number one thing you’re looking for as a consumer is strength and reliability. As a manufacturer of hand tools, you’re looking for mass quantities, fast turnarounds, and cost efficiencies. Signicast has been creating hand tools for customers across the country for upwards of 50 years and many of today’s leading manufacturers turn to Signicast for fast, repeatable manufacturing.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <h2>Converting Machined Hand Tools</h2> <p>For decades, hand tools have been machined or forged from solid. While this does provide a strong and durable component, it results in tons of scrap, often wasted money, and hours of laborious re-work.</p> <p>In the 1980s, Richard Freeman, a 25-year engineering veteran to a well-known hand tool manufacturer, had the idea to the convert the previously machined ratchet to the investment casting process.</p> <p>After being turned down by almost every lost wax manufacturer in the Thomas Register, now ThomasNet, Freeman found his answer with our <a href="/about-us/locations/signicast-hutchins">Hutchins, Texas-based investment casting company</a>. Working with the engineering team, after a few design iterations, he helped convert the design from raw forging to a net-shape investment cast component. “We were always reworking the old way,” says Freeman. “It shortened the process time by eliminating 7-10 processes that were cut out by converting to casting, saving us over a hundred thousand dollars a year in cost—and that was back in the 80s!”&nbsp;</p> <p>Freeman noted that “we learned on the way and had a lot of guys making special waxes and cavities to get everything right. They [Hutchins] weren’t afraid to take on the challenge.”</p> <blockquote><b>“If we could cast the ratchet with net shape, so there wasn’t any rework, we would save time and money”</b></blockquote> <h2>Stainless Steel Hand Tools</h2> <p>At Signicast, we cast hand tools from a variety of different materials but for strength and longevity, most customers prefer cast steel. Utilizing our in-house engineering team, we design hand and power tools to meet occupational health and safety (OH&amp;S) requirements which we test through careful accident analysis to ensure components are designed with the highest levels of safety and usability.</p> <p>If you’re interested in converting any of your metal components to the investment casting process, reach out to our engineering team to get the conversation started. We offer <a href="/about-us/contact/request-a-seminar">free on-site technical seminars</a> to help you better understand the investment casting process and how we can better serve your foundry needs.</p> Thursday, 25 October 2018 12:00:00 Kovar Spotlight /knowledge-center/signicast-blog/kovar-spotlight {8F087D4C-37E8-4474-8F51-FB29CD104F3D} <p>Following on our success with&nbsp;<a href="/knowledge-center/signicast-blog/invar-36-spotlight"><u>Invar 36</u></a>, Signicast is excited to offer <a href="/about-investment-casting/material-options/thermal-expansion-alloys/kovar">Kovar</a>, an iron-nickel-cobalt alloy, to our customers. <a href="/about-investment-casting/material-options/thermal-expansion-alloys/kovar">Kovar</a> is another alloy that exhibits the “Invar Effect.” The thermal expansion is low and linear below the Curie Point and much higher above the Curie Point. Whereas Invar is designed to have a very low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) and is thus “in-variant” to temperature, Kovar is designed to be “co-variant”. It was designed so that its CTE closely matched that of borosilicate glasses but it is a good match for some alumina ceramics as well.</p> <h2>Benefits and Applications of Kovar</h2> <p>Kovar’s thermal expansion rate is the key property that makes this super-alloy useful. Compared to <a href="/about-investment-casting/material-options">other alloys</a>, Kovar expands at a variable rate with increasing temperature with very little change in dimension. This makes <a href="/about-investment-casting/material-options/thermal-expansion-alloys/kovar">Kovar</a> a great fit for seals and glass-to-metal bonded assemblies with minimal locked-in pressure.</p> <p>It is used in applications requiring a hermetic seal between the metal alloy and the glass or ceramic component. The metal to glass seal is created by performing an oxidizing treatment to the parts after they have been annealed. The oxide layer is intermediary, bonding both to the glass and to the alloy substrate on which it was formed. The hermetic seal creates a bond free of the trouble and failures caused by dirt, dust, moisture, fungus or lack of pressure at high altitudes. Applications for this alloy include x-ray tubes, microwave tubes, and light bulb ends among many others.</p> <h2>Physical and Mechanical Properties</h2> <p>By varying the amounts of the major alloying elements, the CTE behavior of these alloys can be tailored to match different ceramics and glasses.</p> <p><img vspace="5" hspace="5" border="0" align="right" src="-/media/B3AA33B7C60B4CFABE7D41E9868D5EBF.ashx" width="350" height="316" style="margin: 5px; float: right;" /></p> <p><a href="/about-investment-casting/material-options/thermal-expansion-alloys/kovar">Kovar’s</a> typical physical and mechanical and physical properties are as follows:</p> <ul> <li>Density: .302 lb/in3roperties are as follows:</li> <li>Curie Temperature: 435 ºC</li> <li>Melting Point: 1450 ºC</li> <li>Specific Heat:</li> <ul> <li>.105 cal/gm/ ºC at 0 ºC</li> <li>.155 cal/gm/ ºC at 430 ºC</li> </ul> <li>Heat of Fusion: 64 cal/gm</li> <li>Thermal Conductivity: 17.3 W/m · K</li> <li>Electrical Resistivity: 490 microhm/mm</li> <li>Shear Modulus: 7.5 · 106</li> <li>Modulus of Elasticity: 20 · 106</li> <li>Ultimate Tensile Strength: 75,000 psi</li> <li>Yield Strength: 50,000 psi</li> <li>Elongation: 30%</li> <li>Hardness (Rockwell B): 78</li> </ul><h2>Investment Casting Manufacturer</h2> <p>With world-leading experts, rapid prototyping and delivery, and the most advanced investment casting facilities in the world, Signicast is redefining how today’s manufacturers create, refine, and deliver products. 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 the highest quality possible.&nbsp;<a href="/about-us/contact">Contact our engineering team</a>&nbsp;today to get the conversation started.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Monday, 25 June 2018 12:00:00 Investment Casting Aluminum /knowledge-center/signicast-blog/investment-casting-aluminum {C2B84EA1-82E4-4CB0-B5AC-ECC497A55C8F} <div class="block-row" rel-rowtype="10"><div class="handle"></div><div class="row-delete"></div><div class="content-block block-100" rel-id="5955"> <div class="inner"> <a name="block-5955"></a> <section class="intro">Well, not too much, except for that we can cast intricate tap handles that pour your brew of choice. Keep reading to learn more.</section></div> </div></div> <div class="block-row" rel-rowtype="20"><div class="handle"></div><div class="row-delete"></div><div class="content-block block-50" rel-id="5928"> <div class="inner"> <a name="block-5928"></a> <p>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.</p> <h2>Casting A356</h2> <p>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!</p> <p>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.</p> <p><em>*disclaimer, the die cast manufacturer was NOT <a href="https://www.dynacast.com/" target="_blank">Dynacast</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></div> </div><div class="content-block block-50" rel-id="5929"><div class="inner imageblock" style="line-height:0"> <a name="block-5929"></a> <img src="-/media/96E0F92E49A64D2396F435DB88756D4D.ashx" class="image-block" alt="" /></div></div></div> <div class="block-row" rel-rowtype="10"><div class="handle"></div><div class="row-delete"></div><div class="content-block block-100" rel-id="5930"> <div class="inner"> <a name="block-5930"></a> <h2>Flexibility with Investment Casting</h2> <p>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.&nbsp;<b>For this particular customer, we went from designing the tool to part in hand in a matter of four weeks.</b>&nbsp;This was possible in part to the speed and flexibility of Signicast’s in-house tooling. &nbsp;</p> <p>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.</p> <p><b>Watch this quick video to&nbsp;<a href="/about-investment-casting/investment-casting-process">learn more about the investment casting process</a>.</b></p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.&nbsp;<b><a href="/about-us/contact">Contact our engineering team</a>&nbsp;today to get the conversation started.&nbsp;&nbsp;</b></p></div> </div></div> Wednesday, 04 April 2018 12:00:00 Invar 36 Spotlight /knowledge-center/signicast-blog/invar-36-spotlight {C244BA5F-12EC-4E16-B6C8-427C7FAB1BFE} <div class="block-row" rel-rowtype="10"><div class="handle"></div><div class="row-delete"></div><div class="content-block block-100" rel-id="5735"> <div class="inner"> <a name="block-5735"></a> <p>Invar 36<sup>[1]</sup>, also known within the industry as Nilo 36<sup>[2]</sup>, is a nickel-iron superalloy known for its low coefficient of thermal expansion. Containing 36% nickel, it maintains nearly constant dimensions as well as good strength and hardness over a wide range of temperatures.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/physics/1920/guillaume/biographical/" target="_blank">Invented in 1896 by Swiss physicist, Charles Edouard Guillaume</a>, <a href="/invar">Invar</a> was created as a low-cost solution to a meter once made of platinum and iridium. Guillaume’s work led to the discovery of a fairly inexpensive iron-nickel alloy—a steel-like material—that expands very little when heated. He named the alloy&nbsp;Invar&nbsp;because it was almost unchanging or "invariable.”</p> <h3 class="blue"><strong><a href="/invar">Invar</a> <sup>[3]</sup>&nbsp;is typically machined, but what many people don’t know is that it&nbsp;<i>can&nbsp;</i>be cast.&nbsp;</strong></h3> <h2><br />Invar 36 Success</h2> <p>One of our customers came to us specifically wanting to use INVAR 36 for a component requiring the near constant dimensions and long-term dimensional stability this alloy is known for<i>.</i>&nbsp;Due to confidentially agreements, we cannot name the customer but what we can tell you, is that like with many other projects, Signicast engineers rose to the challenge to not only cast Invar 36 successfully but completely exceeded the customers’ expectations—all while saving them money. Because after all, isn’t that the end goal? Create a quality component at the lowest total cost.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="/your-challenges">&nbsp;&gt;&gt; Discover your solution</a>.</p> <p><i>Why did our customer need Invar 36</i>? The slightest change in dimension or shape of their component could alter their end product—even though they were already in a temperature controlled room. A few degrees could alter the function of the part. They knew they needed to work with a material like Invar 36 but machining it from solid became costly.</p> <p><i>How did Signicast help?</i>&nbsp;We had never worked with Invar 36 in the past, but there has never been a challenge our engineers didn’t at least try to overcome. With some research and testing we came up with a casting material that actually performed as good or better than wrought and we were able to cast net-shape successfully. Not only did we add savings on final part cost because they didn’t have to machine the part, but our final part cost was actually cheaper than their original block of metal—prior to machining.</p> <p><i>The end result?</i>&nbsp;A very happy customer who saved tenfold and a new material added to our offerings. &nbsp;</p> <p /> <h3>Invar 36 maintains nearly constant dimensions at temperatures below -150 degrees Celsius up to 260 degrees Celsius.</h3> <p /> <h2>Who Should Use Invar 36?</h2> <p>Customers who are under strict temperature constraints will likely see the advantages of using Invar 36. Unfortunately, those who are currently machining from solid do not realize that casting net-shape is even an option. In today’s world, Invar 36 is often used in measuring devices, precision mechanical systems, laser components, thermostat rods, meters and components that transport liquefied gases—to name a few.</p></div> </div></div><div class="block-row" rel-rowtype="10"><div class="handle"></div><div class="row-delete"></div><div class="content-block block-100" rel-id="5736"><div class="inner table-block" style="overflow:hidden;max-width:100%;"> <a name="block-5736"></a> <div class="table-wrapper"> <table class="data-table"> <thead> <tr> <th>Material</th> <th>Units</th> <th>Invar 36</th> <th>304 Stainless Steel</th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td> Density </td> <td> g/cm<sup>3 </sup></td> <td> 8.05 </td> <td> 8.00 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Young's Modulus </td> <td> GPa </td> <td> 141 </td> <td> 193 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Poisson's Ratio </td> <td> -- </td> <td> 0.26 </td> <td> 0.27 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Microyield Strength </td> <td> MPa </td> <td> 70 </td> <td> &gt;300 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Thermal Expansion Coefficient </td> <td> x 10<sup>-6</sup> K<sup>-1 </sup></td> <td> 1 </td> <td> 14.70 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Thermal Conductivity </td> <td> W/m K </td> <td> 10.40 </td> <td> 16.20 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Specific Heat </td> <td> W s/kg K </td> <td> 515 </td> <td> 500 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Specific Stiffness </td> <td> -- </td> <td> 17.50 </td> <td> 24.10 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Thermal Diffusivity </td> <td> 10<sup>-6 </sup> m<sup>2</sup>/s </td> <td> 2.60 </td> <td> 4.10 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Thermal Distortion (Steady State) </td> <td> µm/W </td> <td> 0.10 </td> <td> 0.91 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Thermal Distortion (Transient) </td> <td> s/m<sup>2</sup>K </td> <td> 0.38 </td> <td> 3.68 </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> </div></div> <div class="block-row" rel-rowtype="10"><div class="handle"></div><div class="row-delete"></div><div class="content-block block-100" rel-id="5734"> <div class="inner"> <a name="block-5734"></a> <h2>Advantages of Invar 36</h2> <p>The most obvious advantage of Invar 36 is its ability to hold dimensions at cryogenic temperatures. Aside from that, Invar 36 looks and feels similar to steel. It also has outstanding weldability and machinability. Invar can also be created with customized chemistries to better meet the strength and hardness needs of customers.&nbsp;</p> <p>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 the highest quality possible.&nbsp;<strong><a href="/about-us/contact">Contact our engineering team</a>&nbsp;today to get the conversation started.&nbsp;&nbsp;</strong></p> <p /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>1* Invar 36 is a trademark of Carpenter Technology, Reading PA</em><br /><em>2* Nilo 36 is a trademark of Special Metals Corporation, USA</em><br /><em>3* Invar is a trademark of Imphy Alloys, France</em></p></div> </div></div> Thursday, 02 November 2017 12:00:00 Nickel-Based Steel Alloys /knowledge-center/signicast-blog/nickel-based-steel-alloys {DE35F93A-EB2A-4C66-BDFD-675F6648828D} <div class="block-row" rel-rowtype="10"><div class="handle"></div><div class="row-delete"></div><div class="content-block block-100" rel-id="5693"> <div class="inner"> <a name="block-5693"></a> <p>While the investment casting process is capable of pouring almost any alloy, our most popular alloys are in the nickel family. Consisting primarily of nickel, chromium, and molybdenum, nickel-based alloys are among the most widely used investment casting materials. The most popular being CW2M.</p> <p>Creating a nickel-based alloy takes great precision and skill. At Signicast, we pay very close attention to the composition of the material we melt to ensure we create superior alloys. Our <a href="/about-investment-casting/investment-casting-process">casting process</a> creates very metallurgically clean castings with excellent weldability.</p> <h2>What Industries Use Nickel-Based Alloys?</h2> <p>Any industry can use nickel-based alloys, but the majority of our customers who use them are looking for the best corrosion resistance in oxidizing environments. Additional elements like molybdenum and chromium are added to create an alloy that is arguably one the world’s toughest.</p> <p><i>When should you use a Nickel-based Alloy?</i> If <a href="/about-investment-casting/material-options/300-series-stainless-steels">300 series stainless steels</a> do not cut it, <a href="/about-investment-casting/material-options/nickel">nickel-based alloys</a> are great for components used in the chemical and process industries. Additionally, meter bodies used in chlorine and acid services utilize <a href="/about-investment-casting/material-options/nickel/cw2m-annealed">CW-2M</a> for its excellent mechanical and physical properties.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img border="0" src="-/media/A6D7F5595B364733A303EBD59BF83DF7.ashx" width="600" height="300" alt="Nickel-Based Alloys | Investment Casting Metals" /></p></div> </div></div> <div class="block-row" rel-rowtype="10"><div class="handle"></div><div class="row-delete"></div><div class="content-block block-100" rel-id="5694"> <div class="inner"> <a name="block-5694"></a> <h2>High-Performance Alloys</h2> <p>Nickel-based alloys are part of the super alloy family, also known as high-performance alloys. As well as being highly resistant to corrosion and oxidation these alloys are harder and stronger and corrosion resistant at higher temperatures making them a great option for welding applications. Some alloys lose corrosion resistant when you raise the temperature, nickel-based alloys do not. They also have great ductility and can be easily fabricated.</p> <p><b><a href="/about-investment-casting/material-options">See all of our alloy options. </a></b></p> <p>Signicast offers everything from 400 stainless steel to aluminum. We are committed to giving you the very best performing part at the lowest total cost. <a href="/about-us/contact">Contact our team today </a>to discover our capabilities so that you never have to compromise when it comes to an investment casting manufacturer, again.</p> <h3 class="blue">Did You Know?</h3> <p>Hastelloys are name brand nickel-based alloys invented by Haynes International in 1912. The original patent expired allowing manufacturers to develop “generic” or off-brand “Hastelloys”. For example, our CW-2M is equivalent to Hastelloy C. So while the name itself may be different, the alloy acts and performs just like the original Hastelloy.</p></div> </div></div> Wednesday, 27 September 2017 12:00:00 Top 5 Things to Consider When Choosing an Investment Casting Company /knowledge-center/signicast-blog/top-5-things-to-consider-when-choosing-an-investment-casting-company {2D433A2F-F409-400F-A794-A900865A0C16} <p>If you have ever worked with an investment casting company or visited their plant, you know how manually intense the process is—and it takes a lot longer than other casting methods. When searching for an investment casting company, there is no need to settle for traditional or ordinary. Here are the top five things to consider when searching for the best investment casting company.</p> <h2 class="blue">Quality &amp; Repeatability</h2> <p>Investment casting is considered a net-shape or near net shape process and it can be done consistently with the right tools. We believe the key to great quality starts with early supplier involvement during the formative stage of product design. With over 30 engineers on staff, our technical and CAD capabilities are available to help you improve the way your existing component is produced—even if it was previously manufactured by another casting process.</p> <p>We start with high-quality wax injection tooling and we create a manufacturing process that never stops.&nbsp;Our tool building process helps to reduce project time and aids in building more complex tools to create high-quality, complex parts with the tightest tolerances. Tool building process that is unparalleled in capability and speed. Everything is based on speed getting that tool finished. Additionally, we utilize simulation software to simulate solidification during the casting process resulting in significant time savings by eliminating multiple trials—thus achieving a high-quality repeatable process, the first time.</p> <h2 class="blue">Speed &amp; Delivery</h2> <p>When you think of investment casting, we know most people are concerned with speed. In fact, some people would say that investment casting is one of the most frustrating casting processes because it is typically very slow. At Signicast, we have eliminated the word slow from all aspects of our business. We don’t batch projects like other investment casting companies, we connect all the dots so each project runs as one complete operation—from tooling to finishing, robots move parts one from step to the next in a continuous flow. Other investment casting companies complete each process independently of each other—often leaving your parts sitting at one cell for weeks at a time—while Signicast does it all in one consecutive process. Doing so helps drastically reduce defects and potential part failure.</p> <p>Speed is so critical especially if you are getting defective parts. You wait a long time and then get shitty parts. Combining the speed and the quality is the kicker. If you ship a part on-time but it's defective is it really on time? Quality before speed—but it just so happens we get everything done just as fast.</p> <p>If you visit our Hartford, Wisconsin facility you will see a completely automated manufacturing system incorporating robotics, eliminating material handling to deliver your job faster and better than any other investment caster.</p> <p>With true just-in-time delivery, you do not have to keep heavy inventory to cater to market fluctuations. Our average throughput for new product launch once we get the purchase order to build the tool, inject the parts, send samples, get approval and run the project, is less than 8 weeks. That is less than the average investment casting company takes to run a project for a current customer.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Contact our team today to schedule a plant tour to experience the Signicast difference firsthand.&nbsp; </b></p> <h2 class="blue">Lowest Total Cost</h2> <p>While many of today’s casting companies promise the cheapest part price, Signicast strives to offer the lowest total cost which includes getting your product to market faster while still producing a high-quality cast part. We operate with a first to market mentality meaning our customers provide their production schedules and Signicast develops a delivery program to accommodate their workflow. Our continuous flow manufacturing process enables us to reduce cost due to less labor which in turns helps us create the lowest total cost for our customers.</p> <p>The extreme flexibility of the Signicast investment casting facility is the reason why we are a true just-in-time manufacturer. Signicast is ready and equipped to handle radical shifts in output when you are faced with unexpected spikes in demand for your product.<strong> If you want repeatability, low lead times, better reliability, and total support, <a href="/about-us/contact">contact our team</a> today to experience the Signicast difference.</strong></p> <p /> Wednesday, 21 June 2017 12:00:00 Finish First When You Finish with Signicast /knowledge-center/signicast-blog/finish-first-when-you-finish-with-signicast {2B81FCDF-0259-4BD8-8A99-2418CCABB041} <div class="content-block block-100" rel-id="5234"> <div class="inner"> <a name="block-5234"></a> <div class="WordSection1"> <p>When you partner with Signicast to finish your investment castings, you not only have access to our world-class engineering team that assists with design for manufacturing but you also receive the highest-quality cast components. Why does this matter? Mechanically sound parts from the get-go, ensure your secondary operations are completed at the lowest total cost. Our continuous flow manufacturing process enables us to complete parts in half the time of other investment casting companies&mdash;without cutting any corners.</p> <h2 class="blue">The Highest Quality</h2> <p>Signicast has in-cycle part checking and cutter compensation systems that verify quality through the use of contact probes and lasers. From machining to surface finishes, our finishing capabilities are consistent from the first part to the last. Signicast&rsquo;s finishing capabilities include, but are not limited to:</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="block-row" rel-rowtype="30"> <div class="handle">&nbsp;</div> <div class="row-delete">&nbsp;</div> <div class="content-block block-33" rel-id="5236"> <div class="inner"> <a name="block-5236"></a> <h4><strong>Machining</strong></h4> <ul> <li>Stamping</li> <li>Surface grinding</li> <li>Broaching</li> <li>Milling</li> <li>Machining</li> <li>Passivation</li> <li>Drilling</li> <li>Tapping</li> </ul> </div> </div> <div class="content-block block-33" rel-id="5237"> <div class="inner"> <a name="block-5237"></a> <h4><strong>Plating and painting</strong></h4> <ul> <li>Yellow zinc</li> <li>Chrome</li> <li>Polished zinc</li> <li>Nickel</li> <li>Clear zinc</li> <li>Black oxide</li> <li>Powder coating</li> </ul> </div> </div> <div class="content-block block-33" rel-id="5238"> <div class="inner"> <a name="block-5238"></a> <h4><strong>Secondary operations</strong></h4> <ul> <li>Electro-polishing</li> <li>Pickling</li> <li>Anodizing</li> <li>Acid treating</li> <li>Mechanical polishing</li> <li>Sand blasting</li> <li>Glass bead blasting</li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <div class="block-row" rel-rowtype="10"> <div class="handle">&nbsp;</div> <div class="row-delete">&nbsp;</div> <div class="content-block block-100" rel-id="5235"> <div class="inner"> <a name="block-5235"></a> <div class="WordSection2"> <h3 class="blue">*There is no need to negotiate a scrap allowance when you partner with Signicast.*</h3> </div> <h2 class="blue">The Best Equipment</h2> <p>Signicast consistently invests in our Finishing Division to ensure our machine tools remain top-of-the-line. All machinery receives scheduled maintenance so unexpected shutdowns won&rsquo;t interfere with your lead times. In the event a tool may need maintenance during a run, our in-house tool room offers immediate assistance. We can accommodate unforeseen tooling issues in hours while other investment casting companies have to outsource their tooling repairs&mdash;which can take days!</p> <h2 class="blue">Dramatically Reduced Lead Times</h2> <p>Customers who utilize Signicast&rsquo;s finishing services receive completely finished components on time and enjoy the industry&rsquo;s shortest lead times. High-quality finished parts begin with the best as-cast components. At Signicast, everything we do starts with quality.</p> <h2 class="blue">One Less Supplier to Worry About</h2> <p>Finishing your newly cast component at another facility just doubles your headaches. You already trust Signicast to provide you with the best components in the industry&ndash;why not have them finish your components as well? Signicast is your one-stop shop for all of your investment casting needs.</p> <h2 class="blue">Better Component Design and Performance</h2> <p>Since all of Signicast&rsquo;s modules work together seamlessly, excellent internal coordination and communications generate improved component designs, faster product launches, and fewer mistakes&ndash;all with less management on your part.</p> <h3 class="blue"><strong>The bottom line: having Signicast finish your part can save you time and money. Contact our team today to get started.</strong></h3> </div> </div> </div> Wednesday, 14 June 2017 12:00:00 New Product Launch – Time to Market Checklist /knowledge-center/signicast-blog/new-product-launch-–-time-to-market-checklist {5CB79E99-8823-48B7-844B-453F7FC5DDA2} <p>Signicast is a full-service investment casting company that is capable of completing parts in a fraction of the time it takes traditional investment casters. Our first to market approach starts with you, the customer. If you are starting a new project, here are the most important things to remember to get your new project up and running:</p> <h2 class="blue">1. Early Supplier Involvement</h2> <p>We cannot stress how important it is to involve the Signicast team in your design phase so that we maximize your design for manufacturability and take advantage of all the opportunities and flexibilities that the investment casting process offers.</p> <h2 class="blue">2. 2D Print and 3D Model</h2> <p>In order for us to be efficient with our quoting process, it is best to send your print and CAD files including the components adjacent to the casting that need to be designed. Important information such as part size, tolerance, and gating should all be included. The more our engineers have to work with, the faster we can return your completed quote.</p> <p>Signicast has a very precise process in place where you can track the status of your tool being built. We make this process visible to our customer to ensure there are no surprise delays. With our innovations, in-house tool room and engineering expertise, it takes us 10 days to make an investment cast tool where the industry standard is typically 4-8 weeks.</p> <h2 class="blue">3. Part Samples &amp; Test Procedures</h2> <p>After your PO is issued, Signicast makes your project a priority. While other investment casting companies create your tool and then let it sit until they can work your project into the schedule, at Signicast, we prioritize that no matter what, when a tool hits the wax cell it is running immediately. Our continuous flow manufacturing process ensures your parts go from one cell to another without slow batch times.</p> <p>If by chance there is something wrong with the tool during production, we can fix it on-site.&nbsp; We may lose an hour in the production process where most facilities would lose days. Our manufacturing process is fully automated so that we can deliver an efficient, unbroken flow of product—all the time.</p> <p>If you’re looking to get to market quickly, we highly recommend having an approval process planned and ready to go so that you can have a successful, fast program launch. When we get you samples, the longer it takes to approve it, the longer it will take to get your product on the shelf. Each of our customers have a different approval process, knowing the necessary steps ahead of time and having that plan in place will ensure that there are no hold-ups.</p> <p>At Signicast, we work with a first to market mentality. Our state-of-the-art automation removes the old limitations of traditional investment casting. We can rapidly prototype new products, consolidate multiple parts into higher performing units, and deliver new products with true just-in-time capability—at a fraction of the time it takes other manufacturers.</p> <h3 class="blue"><a href="http://www.signicast.com/contact"><b>Contact our team</b></a><b> today to experience the Signicast difference. </b></h3> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wednesday, 07 June 2017 12:00:00 Top 3 Design Tips for Investment Casting /knowledge-center/signicast-blog/top-3-design-tips-for-investment-casting {AFFE6BBE-A3BC-4204-B487-E9A7EBF3EB96} <div class="block-row" rel-rowtype="10"><div class="handle"></div><div class="row-delete"></div><div class="content-block block-100" rel-id="5063"> <div class="inner"> <a name="block-5063"></a> <p>When designing for investment casting, all of our customers want the same thing, quality components that provide superior performance and durability. This requires sound mechanical design of the final component, reliable process controls, consideration of marketplace economic requirements, and clear communication among all parties. Most of our customers are not familiar with designing specifically for investment casting, so while the below tips are important to remember, we strongly urge you to involve our engineering team early during design to realize the benefits of our knowledge and design efficiencies.</p> <p><u>Contact our team today to get the conversation started.</u></p> <h2 class="blue">Size &amp; Weight</h2> <p>Part size and weight are the most critical factors in determining part cost because mold capacity is limited by both. The more pieces that can run on a mold, the lower the part cost. While almost any configuration can be investment cast, our team of engineers can help to optimize your part for the investment casting process by reducing part weight and optimizing design geometries. The key to the most cost-effective use of this process is to fully utilize its flexible capabilities and incorporate as many useful features into the cast piece as possible.</p> <h2 class="blue">Gating Design</h2> <p>The number of gates you have has a direct influence on the cost of your project. The impact of the gate location on the component must be considered during the design phase, as it can be a careful balance between manufacturability, part function, dimensional control, and aesthetics.</p> <p>When possible, a part should be designed so that a single gate can feed the part. This will generally yield more pieces per mold and reduce the pour weight per mold. Single gate feeding also enhances the dimensional stability of a given part by providing a directional solidification pattern.</p></div> </div></div> <div class="block-row" rel-rowtype="60"><div class="handle"></div><div class="row-delete"></div><div class="content-block block-25 block-float-right" rel-id="5065"><div class="inner imageblock" style="line-height:0"> <a name="block-5065"></a> <img src="-/media/A2083CF6BA7449CA88AB4FC6F5C2FDCB.ashx" class="image-block" alt="" /></div></div><div class="content-block block-100 block-wrap-left" rel-id="5064"> <div class="inner"> <a name="block-5064"></a> <h2 class="blue">Component Castability</h2> <p>Castability is very important to the investment casting process. Ideally, an investment cast component would be shaped like an icicle for directional solidification—you would pour from heavy to thin. If a design contains features that will raise scrap or rework rates (and piece price), a Signicast estimating engineer will recommend design modifications to help minimize costs. &nbsp;</p> <h2 class="blue">Quality Investment Castings</h2> <p>Early supplier involvement means Signicast’s in-house technical staff and CAD capabilities are available to help you to ensure that you receive the best quality component. The design tips above will only help to improve the way your component is investment cast, even if it was previously manufactured by another casting process. Unlike other casting processes, designing for investment casting has a unique set of efficiencies that can be utilized to create the best part for the best price possible<b>. </b></p> <p><b>Contact our team today so that you can benefit from our engineering experience and state-of-the-art innovations.&nbsp;</b></p></div> </div></div> Wednesday, 26 April 2017 12:00:00