An Introduction to Impro Mexico’s Investment Casting Process Capabilities
If you’re looking for a North American source of investment castings, Impro can help. We started investment casting at our plant in Mexico in late 2022, and with extensive precision machining services on site, we’re able to finish as well as cast parts for customers in the USA and further afield.
Why Investment Cast?
Investment casting is capable of higher precision, greater detail and smoother surface finish than other casting methods. The process starts with molding a wax replica of the part needed. After adding wax feeder runners and sprues the complete assembly is dipped in or sprayed with a ceramic slurry.
The ceramic dries to a hard shell, after which the wax is melted out and molten metal poured in. The metal solidifies and the shell is broken apart. Any internal cores are broken up and removed and the cast part or parts are cut off the metal feeder “tree”.
While more involved than other processes, the benefits of investment casting are:
- Higher accuracy
- Thinner walls
- More precise reproduction of fine detail
- Less metal to remove by machining
On complex parts this last point can lead to substantial savings in manufacturing lead time and cost, especially when the metal is hard to machine.
Investment Casting Applications
Investment casting is preferred for complex parts required in medium to high quantities. It’s used extensively for aerospace components and medical devices, as well as in automotive and engine manufacturing. Industries like fluid power, oil and gas, and energy also use parts that are investment cast.
Any metal can be investment cast, but the benefits are maximized with high value and hard-to-machine alloys. Stainless, alloy and carbon steel are good candidates. Superalloys are another family of metals typically investment cast, although these need highly specialized vacuum equipment to avoid oxidation reactions with some of the alloying constituents.
Impro’s Current Capabilities
Our investment casting plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, has two investment casting lines, both of which were installed and commissioned in 2022. Line 1 is dedicated to automotive production and has an annual capacity of 1,500 tons. Line 2, with the same capacity, is set up to produce castings for industrial customers.
Maximum casting size on each line is 220 lbs (100kg) and they both handle stainless steel, alloy steel and carbon steel.
Each line includes wax pattern molding and shell-making and is supported by comprehensive CNC machining capabilities. These include turning, milling and 5-axis machining. In the case of Line 1, there are a total of 40 machines, while Line 2 has 60.
Our facility in San Luis Potosi is currently in Phase 1 of its development. The 1,200,000 square feet facility includes:
- Precision machining
- Sand casting
- Investment casting
- Aerospace components manufacturing
- Surface treatment
Phase 2 will see the investment casting operation double in size, for a total capacity of 6,000 tons per year.
Advantages of Sourcing from Mexico
Impro set up manufacturing in Mexico to shorten and simplify the supply chain for customers in the Americas. We currently serve engine OEMs, truck manufacturers, and others. For customers in North America, a significant benefit comes from the USMCA trade agreement, which offers preferential tariff treatment and simplifies the movement of goods across borders.
Precision Investment Cast Parts for the Americas and Beyond
Investment casting is a complex process particularly suited to making high-precision, high-complexity, mission-critical parts. To better serve customers in the Americas, Impro decided to invest in a vertically integrated, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that uses the latest technology. If you need a source for high quality investment castings weighing up to 220 lbs (100kg) we can help. Contact us to start the discussion.