Investment Casting Process vs Metal Die Casting : Metal casting is an old manufacturing technique and has been used since 1838. The fundamental process is the same till now, but the machinery and technology used today are very advanced and improved. Depending on these technologies and machines, there are different ways to get the desired products or parts. Among all the metal casting processes, investment casting process and die casting are used commonly, In this article, these two processes are discussed and compared.
This process involves the injection of molten metal into the solidified steel doe void. When the metal gets hardened, it is taken out from the cavity and the process is continued again until the desired product with desired quality is attained. Depending upon the material being used, there are certain variations in this process. The solidified steel mold can create up to 1.5 lac to a million shots.
The investment casting process also called lost-wax casting or precision casting is a process used for shaping ceramic mold. The lost wax is used in one of the largest investment casting foundry. A wax pattern is initially generated which has the same shape as the desired shape into which steel is to be cast. The wax pattern is covered with ceramic material. When the ceramic materials dry and solidify, it is inverted onto a heating source until it melts and gets separated. This solid shell serves as a disposable investment mold. The metal which is in the molten state is pelted into the mold and left until it dries. Finally, metal casting is broken from the used mold.
Here is a comparison of both methods
Selection of material:
Die casted parts are made from non-ferric metals e.g., aluminum, magnesium, zinc while investment casting can cast both ferric and not ferric metals. Hence for ferric material, both methods can be used but for non-ferric materials e.g., copper alloys or stainless-steel investment casting method should be employed.
Investment casting tools are less costly and are appropriate for short-scale production while die casting tools are expensive and suitable to be used for large-scale and high-volume productions. So, while choosing among these two methods, the payback period for the prices of the tools must be considered.
Tolerance capabilities depend upon the part shape and material used. Die casting provides good tolerance while vides tight tolerance. Smaller casting produces greater dimensional accuracy. Large investment castings do not show dimensional accuracy so in such cases i.e., casting is suitable.
Although both casting methods produce complicated parts, their cycle time has great differences. Investment casting is a time-taking process and demands manual labor and time. On the other hand, die casting can generate 3 to 4 shots in a minute and even 45 shots in a minute for multi-slide die casting. Also, doe casting offers automation i.e., it offers to generate die-casted parts without requiring manual effort.
The final cost of the part depends on the cycle time of the method used. So, investment casting being a long-cycled method is a costly method as compared to die casting. The yielded parts from investment casting are exactly the same as produced by die-casting but with manual intervention and with a long cycle time.
Surface finishing of investment casting is of better quality than that of die casting. This eliminates the need for extra secondary machining which is required with die casting.
Investment casting can handle parts with sizes ranging from an ounce to 200 pounds. Die casting, on the other hand, offers fewer size restrictions. Larger will be the part, the larger tool will be required.
For high volume production die casting is a more appropriate method than investment casting. For short-scale production, investment casting is a better choice. Although both parts yield products with comparable quality, the long cycle of investment casting makes it less appropriate for short deadlines. In this article, a comparison of investment casting and die casting is presented which can help to choose the method suitable for a casting project.
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