The concept of the MTZ symposium, which took place from 26th to 27th November in Friedrichshafen, combines interesting lectures with the opportunity to exhibit products and processes for this branch. Two representatives of the BLANK team participated in this symposium as well. Roland Schuler responsible for product engineering and Hubert Schäfer, responsible for sales in the automotive sector, gave an insight into the possibilities of investment casting. "Often people in this branch think of small, filigree parts when they talk about investment casting,” reports Huber Schäfer. “This is in principle correct, but investment casting can do even more than this!”
Depending on the part geometry, the BLANK Group realizes investment casting up to a total size of 45 x 45 cm (17 X 17 inch) and a weight of up to 24 kg (52 pounds). "A good example are turbine wheels," explains Roland Schuler. “We produced an Inconel turbine wheel of 6 kg for a turbocharger which is used in a ship’s engine.” The turbocharger ensures by the increased introduction of fresh air for more efficient combustion. The challenges for the parts geometry and structure are mainly the stability and composition of the alloy due to the high temperatures and constant load changes. Only nickel-based alloys, which are melted and poured under vacuum can perform these requirements. "The investment casting procedure provides an efficient manufacturing process to execute this process with little waste," stresses Hubert Schäfer. Another advantage is the close-to-contour implementation of thin wall thicknesses which saves downstream machining processes.
After the event, both BLANK participants draw a positive balance: "During the event we were able to highlight the many possibilities which investment casting can offer. The mix of lectures and exhibition booths enabled great expert discussions and interesting new contacts."