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Product History

PROCESS HISTORY 5000 years ago

Investment Casting (The Lost Wax Process) has been practised for thousand of years, with lost wax process being one of the oldest known metal forming techniques. From 5000 years ago, when bees wax formed the pattern, to today’s high technology waxes, refractory materials and specialist alloys, the castings ensure high quality components are produced with the key benefits of accuracy, repeatability, versatility and integrity.

4000 years ago

Investment Casting is one of the earliest forms of casting, dating back in use over 4000 years when production of idols, ornaments and jewellery using natural beeswax for patterns, clay for the moulds and manually operated bellows for stoking furnaces was carried out. Examples of investment cast production have been found in Egypt from the tombs of Tut-Ankh-Amun (1333 BC – 1324 BC), in China from Han Dynasty tombs (209 BC – 9 AD) with some of the earliest investment casting known to have taken place during the Shang Dynasty (1766 BC – 1122 BC), other examples of early investment cast articles have also been found in Mesopotamia, Mexico, and the Benin civilization in Africa where the process was used to produce intricately detailed artwork of copper, bronze and gold.

1100-1500 AD

Investment Casting is one of the earliest forms of casting, dating back in use over 4000 years when production of idols, ornaments and jewellery using natural beeswax for patterns, clay for the moulds and manually operated bellows for stoking furnaces was carried out. Examples of investment cast production have been found in Egypt from the tombs of Tut-Ankh-Amun (1333 BC – 1324 BC), in China from Han Dynasty tombs (209 BC – 9 AD) with some of the earliest investment casting known to have taken place during the Shang Dynasty (1766 BC – 1122 BC), other examples of early investment cast articles have also been found in Mesopotamia, Mexico, and the Benin civilization in Africa where the process was used to produce intricately detailed artwork of copper, bronze and gold.

1940’s

Investment casting really started to become a modern industrial process in the 1940′s as the onset of World War II increased the demand for precision net shape manufacturing processes and the use of specialized alloys that could not be shaped by traditional methods. Investment casting could produce these near net shape components more quickly and accurately than traditional machining methods that were becoming overwhelmed by the demand.

Investment Casting Process was found practical for many wartime needs and during the postwar period it expanded into many commercial and industrial applications where complex metal parts were needed.

TODAY

Modern investment casting techniques stem from the development in the United Kingdom of shell process utilizing wax patterns known as the Investment X Process. This method resolved the problem of wax removal by enveloping a completed and dried shell in a vapor degreaser. The vapor permeated the shell to dissolve and melt the wax. This process has been evolved over years into the current process of melting out the virgin wax in an autoclave.

The process is suitable for repeatable production of net shape components, from a variety of different metals and high performance alloys. Although generally used for small castings, this process has been used to produce steel castings of up to 300 kg and aluminium castings of up to 30 kg. Compared to other casting processes such as die casting or sand casting it can be an expensive process, however the components that can be produced using invesment casting can incorporate intricate contours, and in most cases the components are cast near net shape, so requiring little or no rework once cast.

The Investment Casting industry, is one of the principal suppliers of precision net shape components to several markets, including:
Aerospace | Automotive | Medical



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