Investment Casting & Automation – Incastt Machines

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The Indian investment casting industry has a remarkably interesting history. The oldest known example of the lost wax technique comes from a 6,000-year-old wheel-shaped copper amulet found at Mehrgarh in the Indus Valley. During this period the lost wax technology was used in many other applications throughout the sub-continent. Most of the applications are now forgotten. Today this technology survives restricted to idol making in remote pockets of the country. The modern Investment casting began in India at a foundry located in Faridabad in the year 1966. From then till the year 2000 India had a total of fewer than 30 foundries in the country, including the Gas Turbine Research Establishment, Ordnance Factory Medak, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Shivaji works and others. Post-2000, the industry rapidly grew and now India has over 300 investment casting foundries. Rajkot alone has more than 120.

The lost wax technologies used in India today are mostly imitations of western countries with little understanding of the science behind it. A large number of foundries today function based on obsolete ideas and are heavily dependent on manual labour. This dependency on labour skill, combined with the resistance to adopt newer technologies has greatly reduced the efficiency of the foundry and inflated the cost of production.

As the investment casting industry grows in India, the market is becoming more quality sensitive. Foundries will have to upgrade and streamline their processes to be able to survive in the post pandemic industrial era. India cannot afford to import technology from abroad any more, we need to realise the importance of Indigenous innovation and technical expertise to grow our industries.

Automation and standardisation of the production steps is an important factor for the long- term success of a foundry. The key towards rectifying this issue is by reducing the irrational dependence on worker skill.

Incastt has the unique advantage of having in-depth knowledge and know how in various investment casting technologies and are also expert machine manufacturers. This combination enables Incastt in helping the Indian investment casting industry to move towards meeting the new quality and cost challenges; Incastt has successfully developed solutions using automation and robotics. The RoSS system, a fully automated Shell room designed and manufactured by Incastt, helps to streamline the whole shell building activity with minimum effort. Shell building is the most time-consuming process in investment casting; with a completely automated shell building process we have achieved a reduction in lead-time, raw material consumption and labour leading to reduction in the cost of production. The indigenously built system is flexible and can be customised to support and cater to the needs of the foundry.

This is only the first step taken by Incastt to rationalise and automate the investment casting industry in India. Incastt is further developing an automated robotic metal pouring system. The purpose is again to reduce dependence on difficult to get labour.

However, foundries today must get used to the idea of continuous innovation and improvement in technology as the only way to sustain the industry

 

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