STAINLESS STEEL CASTING
CIREX: YOUR RELIABLE PARTNER IN STAINLESS STEEL CASTING
CIREX is one of the largest steel foundries in the world. By our decades of experience with lost wax investment casting in steel, we can assure you high quality castings, which are produced in a very efficient manner. With locations in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, CIREX is well represented in Europe. By composing our own alloys, we can cast almost any steel alloy. One of the types of steel in which CIREX is specialised and casts in large quantities is stainless steel (INOX).
DIFFERENT TYPES OF STAINLESS STEEL
CIREX composes her own stainless steel alloys, so nearly any type can be cast. Depending on the different amount of unique elements and the quantity (%) of elements contained within the stainless steel, a unique stainless steel alloy can be created. Thanks to the large variation in compositions, countless stainless steel castings are possible. Below you will find a short overview of the stainless steel types that we cast most often at CIREX:
This is the most common stainless steel and is applied in different applications. It consists of at least 18% chromium and 8% nickel and has no magnetic properties within its austenitic structure.
Corresponds to stainless steel 304. The ‘L’ stands for ‘low carbon’, so this stainless steel has a lower carbon amount to increase weldability and to limit the corrosion sensitivity after welding.
A better, but more expensive type of corrosion resistant steel is stainless steel 316. This alloy contains at least 16% chromium, 10% nickel and 2% molybdenum. Because of the addition of molybdenum, this stainless steel type is better defended against salt corrosion and acids, and is often applied in chemical industries.
Comparable to stainless steel 316 but with a lower carbon level to increase weldability of the stainless steel.
A high quality stainless steel which is regularly used in the aircraft industry. It is characterised by a high tensile strength, hardness, toughness and is also corrosion resistant.
STAINLESS STEEL CASTING
CIREX develops and produces high quality investment castings that can be cast in virtually any steel alloy. Steel is an alloy consisting of iron (Fe) and carbon (C), where the term ‘steel’ is used for iron alloys with a limited amount of carbon (less than 1,9%). When the iron contains more than 2% carbon, we talk about ‘cast iron’ instead of steel.
Stainless steel, also called INOX, is a type of steel known for its corrosion resistance after contact with water. Next to the basic elements iron (Fe) and carbon (C), stainless steel also contains chromium (Cr) and nickel (Ni). Before it can be classified as stainless steel, at least 12% chromium has to be present in the steel alloy. Next to the basic elements, many different types of stainless steel also contain the elements molybdenum, nitrogen, manganese or silicon.
But exactly, what are the influences of the elements chromium and nickel in stainless steel? When chromium comes in contact with oxygen, a chemical reaction takes place whereby an invisible layer of chromium oxide (Cr2O3) is formed. This is also known as “oxide skin”. This layer protects the underlying metal against rust (oxidation). Whenever the oxide skin gets damaged, a new layer has to be built up. In that case, rust might occur on the surface when a damaged layer comes in contact with water. This rust will never push through, because a new oxide layer builds up again in the meantime.
Stainless steel types with 6% to 26% nickel are austenitic and non-magnetic. Indirectly, the nickel in stainless steel will neutralise the magnetic effects of the chromium. When a relatively large amount of chromium is present in stainless steel alongside a limited amount of nickel, the stainless steel can be magnetic. As such, stainless steel is not non-magnetic by default. There are also types of stainless steel with a ferritic structure which only contains chromium and not nickel. That’s why they don’t have magnetic properties.
PROPERTIES OF THE LOST WAX TECHNIQUE
CIREX is a supplier of precision castings which are cast by using the lost wax technique. These castings are characterized by low surface roughness values and precise tolerances. Lost wax castings are also known as the highest quality steel castings available on the market. They are often applied in environments where the quality demands are high, because the components usually operate in environments which are aggressive (hostile), subjected to large differences in temperature or they are required to be especially hard, strong or light. Because of these specific and high demands, special alloys are often utilised for these castings.
Freedom in style and design
High surface quality & low roughness values (Ra 1.6 – 6.3 µm)
High dimensional accuracy and precise tolerances (VDG P690 D1)
Virtually any steel alloy can be cast
Complex shapes can be cast as a single component
Little to no machining is required
Products with undercuts can be cast
Suitable for smaller and larger series