Printing. The future.
Investment casting is still the method of choice when it comes to producing components quickly, accurately and at competitive costs. In the conventional investment casting process, a wax pattern of the component to be cast has always been made by injecting wax in a die. This wax pattern is then provided with sprues, feeders and assembled in any number of pieces with runners to form trees/cluster (see photo). These trees are then ceramically encased in a multi-stage process to produce the actual casting mold as a "negative". Both - wax model and ceramic mold - are destroyed during the subsequent casting process – this is referred to as “lost molds” - thus releasing the desired component. There are almost no limits to the designer's freedom in terms of shape and geometry with this process - "almost", because: Until now, the wax pattern also wanted to be created using conventional methods, which by their very nature all have their restrictions!
With our Projet MJP2500W precision printer for wax models from the manufacturer 3D Systems, we produce geometries that were previously unthinkable. Components up to a size of 294x211x144mm such as impellers, nozzles, valve seats and turbocharger parts can be provided with extremely filigree structures, cooling channels and undercuts. The 3D printer fits "seamlessly" into our existing investment casting foundry and nothing is left to chance when it comes to precision. In rooms that are constantly air-conditioned to 20°C, the model created from stable casting wax has no chance of deforming.
Not only the compliance to the form and position tolerances is impressive, but also the surface quality of the final component. With Ra between 3.2 and 6.4 it is completely sufficient for many applications and often saves subsequent, cost-intensive mechanical processing which otherwise would be necessary.
3D printing not only offers advantages in terms of extended freedom of design for components, but also speeds up conventional investment casting of series parts immensely. "Classic" wax pattern dies are high-precision devices that take several weeks to design, manufacture and test. To predict the shrinkage and casting quality that naturally occurs during the solidification of castings, we use the most powerful simulation software.
However, what applies to the weather also applies to the foundry business: even the best forecast only provides probabilities for future events, which ultimately do not have to occur in this way. By means of 3D-printed wax models, our simulation results are therefore subjected to a "reality check" and the knowledge gained in the process is incorporated into the final design of the wax injection tools, which subsequently deliver the desired production results from the very first piece. This saves time, minimizes development costs and makes you as a customer and us as a manufacturer equally happy!
You want to protect your critical components from high temperatures, corrosion, and premature wear? Our hard alloys such as STELLITE™, DELORO™ and TRIBALOY™ offer the appropriate protection! The investment casting process using 3D-printed wax patterns offers you the opportunity to convince yourself of their performance in practice - easily, at short notice and at low cost.