An overview of casting processes - Investacast

An overview of casting processes

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An overview of casting processes

Investacast provides design, prototyping, casting, machining and finishing services to customers throughout the world. We offer investment casting, pressure-die casting and water glass casting, alongside processes such as forging and metal injection moulding. Investacast can also source production from both our sister companies and overseas partners, providing access to a wide range of manufacturing options.

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Casting at Investacast

In this article we focus on our casting processes. Investacast is a leading global supplier of high-quality cast products and components for a range of demanding industries. Casting is a precision manufacturing process capable of meeting high specifications and finishes, and is a cost-effective solution to a wide range of technical challenges.

Investment Casting
Investment casting, also known as lost wax casting, can be traced back nearly 5,000 years to when ancient societies used beeswax to cast anything from small pieces of jewellery to large statues. Today, a wax pattern is coated to form a ceramic shell, which is then dewaxed and filled with molten metal. Once the metal has solidified and cooled, the ceramic shell is mechanically removed to reveal the cast metal product.

Investacast has over 50 years’ experience in investment casting and is a leading supplier of investment castings in the UK. We work within a wide range of industry sectors including aerospace, defence, automotive, marine, communications, energy and electronics, and in industrial automation.

Pressure Die Casting
The process of die casting has evolved over the past two centuries and is now the manufacturing method of choice for a wide range of applications. In pressure die casting a steel tool serves as the ‘mould’ into which molten metal is forced under pressure. The metal solidifies rapidly and takes the form and finish of the tool.

Many types of non-ferrous metals can be used in pressure die casting, most commonly aluminium, magnesium, copper and zinc. At Investacast we offer a wide range of casting materials and are always happy to explore suitable options with you.

Water Glass Casting
The process of water glass casting (also known as sodium silicate casting) is similar to investment casting, the principal difference being that in water glass casting the wax is removed from the ceramic mould by submersion in hot water.

Water glass casting is cost-effective, providing a low unit price for less critical applications, and is undertaken by Investacast through our international network of suppliers.

Sand Casting
Sand casting is a casting process where the molten metal is poured into a mould made of sand. A resin pattern is produced and placed into a wooden moulding box, ready to be filled with sand. The sand is mixed with a hardening agent and forms a solid mould around the pattern. Once hardened, the sand moulds are removed by machine or hand from their wooden boxes and joined to form a closed casting cavity. After the metal has been poured and cooled, the sand is removed to reveal the casting.

Our sister company Haworth Castings has extensive experience in sand casting and we are proud to work with them to supply high quality sand castings to our customers.

Gravity Die Casting
Sometimes referred to as ‘permanent mould’ casting, gravity die casting is a repeatable casting process used for non-ferrous alloy parts, typically aluminium, zinc and copper base alloys. The process is similar to pressure die casting, but gravity rather than pressure is used to fill the mould.

Our sister company Haworth Castings specialises in sand and gravity-die castings and we can work with them, or source sand and gravity die castings from overseas to deliver the best solution for your casting requirements.

Casting alternatives
Casting may not be the most suitable manufacturing method for your component. Investacast also offers:

Forging

Forging is a manufacturing process involving the shaping of a metal through compression by hammering, pressing, or rolling. A wide range of metals can be forged, gaining specific mechanical properties with minimal waste.

Metal Injection Moulding (MIM)

MIM is a metalworking process in which finely-powdered metal is mixed with binder material to create a feedstock that is injected into a mould. The resulting component or ‘green part’ is brittle and must be sintered in a furnace to achieve density.

CNC Machining

Investacast offers the full range of precision machining services carried out by computer numerical control – specialist computers programmed to guide the machining tools in shaping the component. Our sister company Metaltech specialises in high-precision machining so we can work with them or our overseas partners to ensure you achieve the ideal manufacturing solution.

Casting expertise from Investacast

The best production process for your product will depend on many factors, including the geometry of the part, your specification and material selection, the application or end use, and the required volume and speed of production. At Investacast we use our expertise and the latest technology to help you find the best manufacturing solution.

Investacast serves customers throughout the world from our purpose-built 20,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in Ilfracombe, Devon. As part of Expromet Technologies Group, Investacast is now also able to share with customers the wider experience and specialisms of our sister companies Haworth Castings and Metaltech, and our links with overseas partnerships provide further options for cost-effective and high quality castings through a global supply chain.

Together we offer a comprehensive range of world-class engineering solutions for performance-critical applications.

If you have a project, talk to our experienced sales team

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