Investment casting is a casting method that can be used to cast small to medium stainless steel components with precise details as well as large components from different metals. The advantages of investment casting process for stainless steel products are little material loss, low energy consumption and minimal need for finishing steps.
Investment casting method can be used to manufacture stainless steel product components for example for automotive industry, food processing industry, construction industry, and so on. The biggest difference between investment casting and other casting methods for creating stainless steel products is the size accuracy and surface finish (refer to stainless steel invesment casting vs stainless steel sand casting).
Stainless steel casting offers excellent mechanical properties. Some cast stainless steel grades come with the added bonus of excellent corrosion resistance and some cast stainless steel grades are heat treatable allowing for further enhancement of mechanical and corrosion resistant properties. These are just some of the reasons why stainless steels are commonly used to manufacture a wide range of industrial and commercial investment casting products today. CFS Stainless Steel Casting Company has extensive experience manufacturing investment castings from a vast variety of stainless steel alloys in various shapes and sizes.
Among all the stainless steels, 300 series stainless steels are the most commonly adopted to suit investment casting technique. The 300-series group of stainless steels contain 16-30% chromium and from 6-35% nickel, maintain good strength at high temperatures and are easy to maintain. 300 series stainless steel investment castings are used predominantly in the automotive, aerospace and construction industries.
300 Series Stainless Steels for Investment Casting
304(L) Stainless Steel: This non-magnetic alloy is the most versatile type in stainless steel investment casting process. 304 or 304L Stainless Steels has lower carbon to minimize carbide precipitation and is used in high-temperature applications. It’s commonly used to creat equipment components by investment casting process in the mining, chemical, cryogenic, food, dairy and pharmaceutical industries. Its resistance to corrosive acids also makes 304 Stainless Steel Castings ideal for cookware, appliances, etc.
316(L) Stainless Steel: This alloy is recommended for investment casting because it has better corrision resistance. The addition of molybdenum and a slightly higher nickel content make 316 Stainless Steel suitable for architectural and marine applications in severe environment, from polluted marine environments to areas with sub-zero temperatures. Products served for the chemical, food, paper, mining, pharmaceutical and petroleum industries are often investment cast by 316 or 316L Stainless Steel.
Of course, other 300 series stainless steels are available in investment casting, such as 302, 310, 317, etc. Just pls advise the exact grade, CFS foundry can always customize for you as per the drawing or sample provided.
Considerations When Choosing Stainless Steel Investment Casting
The cost of manufacturing an injection tool for producing the pattern is relatively high. When talking about large volume productions, the cost savings from the manufacturing method will quickly replace the tool’s manufacturing costs. But with low volume productions, it may take years. However, in complex stainless steel pieces, investment casting may be the only possible economically sensible manufacturing method for even small series.
Although investment casting can be used to produce stainless steel components of varying magnitudes on a wide scale, the method also has an upper limit. In investment casting, this upper limit is lower than in many other casting methods, for example, sand casting. For larger stainless steel parts, sand casting is preferred.
The multi-step stainless steel casting process takes more time than other metal forming processes. But even though the casting process itself takes time, the overall turnover time to finished products is shorter because the need for post-casting machining is often low or nonexistent.