Key Features of Stainless Steel Investment Casting Companies
Several key features are common to many stainless steel investment casting companies:
- Customization: Most stainless steel investment casting companies offer customization options, such as the ability to produce castings in various sizes, shapes, and finishes.
- Materials: Many companies offer a wide range of stainless steel grades, including standard and specialty alloys, to meet the specific needs of different applications.
- Quality control: Quality control is essential when choosing a stainless steel investment casting company. Look for a company with a proven track record of producing high-quality, accurate castings.
- Capabilities: Different companies have different abilities, such as producing large or complex castings or working with tight tolerances. Consider what you need in terms of size, complexity, and precision when choosing a company.
- Capacity: Some stainless steel investment casting companies can produce large quantities of castings, while others are better suited to smaller runs. Consider your volume requirements when choosing a company.
- Lead time: Lead time, or the time it takes to produce the castings, is an essential factor to consider when choosing a company. Ask about lead times and whether a company can meet your timeline.
What is Stainless Steel Investment Casting?
Stainless steel investment casting is a manufacturing process in which stainless steel parts are produced by casting molten stainless steel into a mold. The process is similar to precision investment casting, also known as lost-wax casting. It involves creating a wax pattern of the desired part, surrounding it with a ceramic material, and then melting and draining away the wax to leave a hollow cavity in the shape of the part. The main difference is that the material used is stainless steel rather than various other metals that can be used in precision investment casting.
Stainless steel investment casting produces parts with complex shapes and high dimensional accuracy. It is often used in aerospace, defense, and medical devices, where stainless steel’s corrosion resistance and durability are significant. Stainless steel investment casting can produce parts in various stainless steel alloys, including 316L, 304L, and 17-4 PH.
Stainless Steel Characteristics
Stainless steel is a type of steel that contains at least 10.5% chromium, which gives it its corrosion-resistant properties. In addition to its corrosion resistance, stainless steel has some other characteristics that make it useful in the applications like food and medicine:
- Strength: Stainless steel is a strong and durable material that can withstand high loads and stress.
- Heat resistance: Stainless steel can maintain its strength and structural integrity at high temperatures, making it useful in high-heat applications.
- Non-toxic: Stainless steel is non-toxic and can be used in applications where other metals would be undesirable, such as in the food and medical industries.
Stainless Steel Investment Casting Process
The investment casting process allows for producing strong, complex shapes with accurate dimensions and a smooth surface. Many industries use stainless steel for their products because it is resistant to corrosion and wear. Some industries that utilize stainless steel castings are aerospace, automotive, medical, marine, and food.
The wax pattern is the first step in the precision metal casting process. This wax model is then used to create a ceramic mold. The wax melts away, and the ceramic shell stays in place. Then, molten stainless steel is poured into the mold to make the final cast piece. After the metal has hardened and the mold has been removed, some castings may require additional machining.
Stainless Steel Investment Casting Benefits
Stainless steel castings in a variety of alloys can provide the end user with many benefits, including:
- It can withstand high temperatures without losing its shape
- It has excellent tolerance for accuracy
- It can create complex shapes with great detail and has tight tolerances.
- A minimal surface finish is required after casting
- Size flexibility
Applications Of Stainless Steel Investment Casting
Stainless steel investment castings offer corrosion resistance, strength, and durability benefits. They are an excellent option for many applications.
Pipe Fittings: Applications for stainless steel pipe fittings that commonly utilize casting methods are elbows, nipples, tees, and bushings.
Marine use: Stainless steel is highly resistant to corrosion, heat, and abrasion. This makes it ideal for maritime applications like boat building, where it’s exposed to salt water and often involves exposure to harsh conditions or chemicals that can cause corrosion in other metals.
Food Processing: Stainless steel castings are popular in the food industry because they don’t rust easily. Some objects often made out of stainless steel are food storage containers, coffee makers, and metal grinders. Coffee makers use many parts, including heating elements, pumps, and valves made from stainless steel castings.
Automotive: Many automotive parts are made from stainless steel investment casting. These include grilles, trim, exhaust parts, and converters.
Medical devices: Medical devices often require tight tolerances and high dimensional accuracy. Stainless steel components include dental and surgical instruments, operating room equipment, stretchers, MRI and X-ray machines, implantable parts, and wheelchairs.
Whether you are looking for a specific etched stainless steel casting or a unique design, we can meet your requirements. You will find our custom precision casting services competitively priced and delivered on time, every time.
Zetwerk helps companies large and small fulfill their requirements for large-volume, precision stainless steel castings. We can also help you with your needs for other kinds of castings, including aluminum, iron, and PH stainless steel. We have facilities across the United States and can help you meet all your needs.