One of the oldest known techniques for metal casting, precision investment casting, is most sought after process due to its quality in terms of the finished products. The process is simple yet the precision it requires and delivers is impeccable.
Wax shape of the metal is created and casted in a ceramic cover. Once the casting is cool and the ceramic cover has hardened, it is further hardened in a high temperature furnace which results in the wax melting, leaving behind the design cavity.
This is then filled with molten metal and left to solidify. Once the solidification has completed, the ceramic cast is broken and the metal design is ready. It does sound simple, but the process requires much trial and error and practice to reach perfection, hence choosing the right investment casting supplier is crucial.
Being a supplier of metal casting or if you are in defence or aeronautical industry, then you will know how important it is to have the correct shape for the metal design to get optimum functionality from it. Hence, choosing an investment casting supplier is not the same as choosing your screws and bolts supplier. You need to prepare a few questions which you need to ask yourself and the supplier you are considering.
• The very first thing you need to know is which casting method is suitable for your industry. You need to consider the material, pattern and the designs that your project will require, and you need to select the investment casting supplier accordingly. This manufacturing industry is not the “one size fits all” concept, and no one supplier will cater to the needs of all the consumers’ needs.
This knowledge is most important if you are dealing with areas that rely on high precision like nuclear, aerospace or defence markets where attention to detailing is the key. Look for a supplier who has experience and knowledge about your market. This will help you and them in manufacturing quality products.
• Certification is the next thing you need to look for in your supplier. The process of investment casting is complex and requires much knowledge about the process and machineries. Making a cast, fine tuning it, handling the process of heating and solidifying, breaking out the cast, making sure there are no bubbles in the casting process, and all of the steps involved take experience and expertise. Diligently check for the certifications and accreditations of the investment casting supplier you are considering to choose.
• The testing process too should be kept in consideration. Opt for suppliers who have the option to do the testing themselves, as outsourcing means more money spent.
• Process diversity is another thing to consider when selecting a supplier, since the same casting process may not fit all your projects. Having a supplier that offers more than one casting process means you do not need to keep running around between both your suppliers and your task is done properly and promptly. Working with the same source means that all your parts will be of the same quality and integrity. The fact that working with the same supplier also increases trust and both of you know each others’ requirements too.
• Quality and pricing are other important aspects to focus on, when it comes to selecting an investment casting supplier. Quality of the service provided should be at par with the price that you will pay for the products, and here you need to make note of what you require in terms of quality and quantity. It should be noted that investment casting is a costly process, but it does yield a fine product. So, if you want quality product, you need to work on the price.
• Value added services, or the in-house services, that the company offers should also be kept in consideration. You need to know whether you are ok with just an investment casting supplier or you need them to conduct certain tests for you as well. Even the variety of machineries they have or lack should be taken into consideration.
Metal casting is no joke, especially for sectors like nuclear, defence, aerospace and medicine where lives are literally at stakes of the components produced by the investment casting supplier. Being one of the oldest forms of casting, this technique has been stable throughout the time with many companies doing justice to the process. Selecting the correct supplier is not all about technicality, but also about trust and ease of access.