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For Every Casting Application, a Customized Ceramic Core Solution

Jan. 23, 2012
Integrating coremaking and casting processes relies on collaboration and an open exchange of information

Understanding that each foundry and each casting often present very different requirements is critical to the success of any ceramic core manufacturer. Successfully integrating coremaking and casting processes relies heavily on collaboration and open exchange of information by both producers. From core and tooling design to dimensional and quality inspection, a group effort to define a customer’s requirements and the supplier’s capabilities must be established and fostered throughout the duration of the program.

There was a time when an investment caster would be apprehensive at the thought of using a ceramic core. Their concerns usually revolved around the high cost and the possibility (or probability) of problems with core-metal reaction (CMR), strength, out-gassing, and/or core removal.

Today, successful ceramic core manufacturers understand that no two foundries are alike. Having an off-theshelf ceramic core system that works in several foundries may not always work in the next one. They must know how the core will behave during each step of the investment casting process to allow the caster to keep their yields at a profitable level. Likewise, the foundry must realize that each core manufacturer has different capabilities and products to offer. A core program originally established at one core-maker may require tooling, design, or processing changes to successfully transfer to another. Acknowledging this from the beginning, mutually establishing the requirements, and ongoing cooperation will yield the best possible outcome.

At Core-Tech we request a complete “Casting Parameter Form” for each new project, even if it is with a repeat customer, or similar to an existing part. This form requests basic information about the casting process, such as alloy, dewaxing method, and processing temperatures. Of course, the customer is not required to share any information considered proprietary, only as much as they are comfortable. The completed parameter form will provide the necessary information to allow us to determine the best core material, firing cycle, impregnants, and coatings for the application. The purpose is to make sure that, once the caster receives the ceramic cores they are ready for use in their production process.

Examples of common core issues include using a ceramic core body that is more porous to help reduce out-gassing and to aid in leachability. For use with reactive alloys, a specific coating may be recommended which will aid in eliminating CMR. When strength is an issue, the solution may be a stronger core body or the addition of an impregnant.

For the caster, it is important to recognize a ceramic core manufacturer who has the capabilities to match the ceramic with their systems and alloy use. It is just as important to be able to discuss the specific needs of their foundry to effectively procure a product that works.

Finally, communication is the critical factor for a successful association between a metalcaster and a ceramic core manufacturer. The well-informed caster will keep their yield and profits high and their scrap low. Using the proper ceramic core made specifically for their process will make the difference.

Core-Tech has used this philosophy over the years, gathering enough experience to develop a universal ceramic core material called DC- 04. DC-04 is an injected ceramic core body that can be adapted for use in all casting processes. It exhibits all of the characteristics required for the casting process, such as high strength, thermal stability, surface finish, and good leachabitity. Keeping with the “custom-fit” philosophy, it can be offered with a coating or impregnant suited for each customer’s individual needs.

Core-Tech provides precision ceramic cores for investment castings, mainly for the aerospace, automotive, commercial, gas turbine and medical markets. Cores can be manufactured in many compounds or blended to meet customer specific needs. Core- Tech is an ISO 9001:2008 certified company meeting stringent manufacturing requirements.

More information is available at