The Characteristics of an Aluminum Investment Casting

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The Investment Casting process provides two primary cost benefits to its customers.  First is its Near-Net-Shape capability that stems from the dimensional precision of the process and because no draft angle is required.  Secondly the Investment Casting process provides an ability to combine multiple pieces into a One-Piece structure with few design constraints and without a major impact to cost.

Based upon those inherent advantages Investment Casting should be considered as a manufacturing method if:

  • There is an opportunity to eliminate assembly operations with a One-Piece casting.
  • The Alloy or Configuration is difficult to machine.
  • The Configuration needs to be lightweight.
  • There is a need for a precision casting without a draft angle.
  • There are undercuts or detail that cannot be cast by another foundry process.
  • There is a need for good and uniform cosmetic appearance.

With easily machined alloys, such as aluminum, the One-Piece advantage is of greater significance than is Near-Net-Shape.

A great example of a One-Piece casting design is the American Foundry Society / Metal Casting Design & Purchasing Magazine’s “2013 – Casting of the Year”.  The multiplicity of features that are combined into this lightweight yet rigid structure imparts great value to its customer both in direct savings from reduction of assembly time and indirectly from part-count reduction.

Designing a One-Piece product can necessitate a certain level of skill on the part of product engineers.  To assist our customers develop their internal casting design expertise O’Fallon Casting offers both a 3-Hour IC-101 Class and a 3-DayIC-201 Course.  These two classes provide the customer / students an overview of the investment casting process, insight as to its strengths & weaknesses and an understanding for good design practices.

O’Fallon Casting also provides its customers with a free Concurrent Engineering Service.  Through Concurrent Engineering OFC Engineers will appraise the castability of a customer design and make recommendations to improve its manufacturability.

Investment Casting castings present a cost effective solution for the manufacture of complex shapes that reduce part count and improve the affordability, manufacturability and reliability of an engineered product.  If you have any questions, pleased to not hesitate to call your O’Fallon Casting Sales Engineer.