November 14, 2006 — Alcoa Inc.'s Howmet Products and Services' Ti-Cast facility in Whitehall, MI, has named the winner of the Investment Casting Institute's 2006 Casting Contest Award, in the aerospace category. The award recognizes Howmet for its “outstanding leadership in demonstrating the benefits of the investment casting process.”
The winning design is a complex flight-control manifold produced for Parker-Hannifin Corp. The part is cast from a titanium alloy selected (as was the investment casting process) to give the manifold the combination of light weight and high strength needed for the application. Michael A. Pepper, vice president and general manager of the Howmet Ti-Cast facility stated: "It is a product that could not be produced by any other process than investment casting. The manifold has one of the most complex geometries ever manufactured using the investment casting process."
Alcoa explains that the casting's complexity involves hollow serpentine passageways, compactness, asymmetry, and net-shape surface areas. "In addition, the investment casting process provides a high 'buy-to-fly' ratio for the customer's raw material requirements. More than 95 percent of the purchased material is used in the final casting," said Pepper.