Rapid Manufacturing Services
A Unique Resource
Castings Technology International is a unique source of Rapid Manufacture metal castings, with particular emphasis on the following areas:
- prototype metal castings;
- one-off metal castings (including specials and legacy parts);
- small pre-production batch metal castings;
- patterns, tools and dies.
Our Rapid Manufacture services have been specially developed to meet the needs of manufacturing companies operating in a wide range of market sectors including aerospace, defence, automotive, motorsport, medical, valves, pumps and general engineering.
Rapid Prototyping and Manufacture without constraints
No size restrictions – No weight restrictions - All air and vacuum melted alloys
Build envelopes and other potential constraints do not affect Cti’s abilities to meet customer needs. Where your requirements sit outside the size range capabilities of one technique, Cti is able to exploit the in-house facilities, expertise and experience to generate the optimum blend of rapid manufacturing techniques that deliver your components within your timescale and budget.
Truly Representative Castings
All the Rapid Prototype castings produced by Cti have the identical dimensional tolerances, surface finish and mechanical properties as production castings.
The Optimal Solution
Cti’s underlying philosophy is to consistently supply the optimal solution.
Our patternmakers and CAM engineers are uniquely placed to select from a range of prototyping techniques and where appropriate combine a number of technologies to ensure that truly representative castings are delivered on time, time-after-time and within your budget.
This choice includes the most appropriate Rapid Prototyping technology or exploiting techniques based on CNC-machining, which have been specifically designed in-house for prototyping metal castings of any size.
Depending upon the size and weight of the required component, castings may be produced from one of, or a combination of the following:
- Investment casting;
- Ceramic shells produced from wax or resin models;
- Castings utilising Cti’s Patternless® Process;
- High speed CNC precision-machined cellular disposable patterns;
- Traditional patternmaking
Experience that adds value
Cti staff are vastly experienced at working with design and development engineers across a wide range of discrete and disparate markets sectors, realising new products in the shortest possible time and within budget.
The sheer breadth and depth of our experience means we understand the key drivers of your markets and the needs of your customers.
Our understating of the entire process from concept through detail design product development to casting and finally bulk manufacture means that we can ensure that the process chosen to realise your requirements is the right one for you. It also means that we can add value at each stage by optimising casting design, advising on material selection, recommending the most appropriate casting process etc.
So beneficial can this expertise be that a number of casting producers include their use of Cti as their technical partners as part of their marketing strategy.
A Proven Track Record
Rapid Manufacture is not a recent development for Cti. For over 20 years we have produced prototype and one-off castings as part of our extensive problem solving and research activities.
During this time we have established an unrivalled reputation as a supplier of prototype castings in all commercially available alloys – including vacuum melted special steels, nickel and cobalt-based superalloys and titanium, as well as the more common alloys of aluminium, copper, iron and steel.
Much more than a RP Service
Whilst we are able to provide Rapid Prototype models, what differentiates Cti from ordinary RP Bureaux is our ability to deliver truly representative production castings.
In many areas of manufacturing where Rapid Prototypes are used tight dimensional tolerances and repeatability are not important. Many stereolithographs are used to simply to check fit or demonstrate the aesthetic qualities of a new design.
By contrast the needs of casting users are much more demanding. Invariably they require castings that, in terms of dimensions and mechanical properties, are true representations of production castings.
Beginning Where Others Have Failed
To benefit fully from our services it is best to involve us at the earliest possible stage. We will always be able to advise on the optimal casting design for both performance and subsequent bulk production. However, we are very used to being asked to deliver solutions quickly where others have already tried and failed.
The Rapid Manufacturing process.
3D CAD File
A three dimensional CAD file of the casting to be made must be created. Invariably this will be provided by the client, however, the creation of a 3D CAD file may be undertaken by Cti.
Casting Design and Simulation
Cti engineers are able to bring a wealth of design, product development and process experience to bear on each and every project.
Using high-level software to simulate casting manufacture, our design engineers can optimise designs to facilitate the production of components to the required specifications at lowest cost. They have considerable experience in simultaneous engineering and, by means of electronic data interchange, work on projects for companies around the world.
At this stage our engineers are more than able to select the most cost effective and appropriate manufacturing process.
The CAD file is then translated into a STL file, which breaks down the surface of the model into a series of triangular images. The time this process takes may vary depending on the quality of the original data.
The data is then transmitted to the SLA equipment, where a high-powered laser builds a three dimensional model or stereolithograph from individual layers approximately 0.1 mm thick in a photo-sensitive epoxy resin.
This process is capable of creating extremely complex parts with a speed and accuracy not achieved by conventional model making. The stereolithograph model is then cured in a UV oven.
Although this 3D model may be suitable for visualisation of the component, the cured stereolithograph model can also be used as a pattern for the production of an investment shell. Repeated dipping of the pattern in a ceramic slurry and coating in refractory materials builds up a shell, which is then fired to bake the ceramic and also to facilitate the removal of the SLA pattern.
The investment casting process is then used to produce the casting. Cti has the ability to make castings in practically any alloy, so pouring the specific alloy isn't usually a problem. Once the casting has cooled, it is finished to the customer's requirements. Cti also offer a full testing and analysis service to support the casting production process