Phone: +1 (248) 628-4300

Barron Industries receives Best Investment Castings award for Military Parts

For the third year in a row, Barron Industries has won the best investment castings award for military parts. The Investment Casting Institute (ICI) distributes their awards annually to manufacturing companies that best demonstrate the benefits of investment castings. Barron won the 2022 Best Military Castings award for using additive manufacturing techniques to produce a control housing in a military aircraft.

“The customer came to Barron with an urgent need to fill a supply gap,” said Bruce Barron, President/CEO. “There was a shortfall in the supply of Control Housings for Military Aircraft. Deliveries of the component, which measures 12 in. x 10 in. x 4 in. and is produced in 17-4 PH stainless steel, was falling behind customer requirements.”

Barron produced an SLA Quickcast RP pattern using the latest additive manufacturing techniques to create a rapid prototype casting to prove the concept and manufacturing method. The diffuser was designed, cast, machined, and painted in just eight weeks to meet test vehicle requirements.

The component design has a high degree of complexity with tight as-cast profile tolerances on a part that wants to distort during casting cooling and is challenging to straighten. This was found to be the key reason that deliveries were not being met.

Additive Manufacturing Process Provides Solutions

“Barron utilized 3D printed patterns and rapid manufacturing techniques to provide fully processed First Article parts in eight weeks and then launched into monthly production deliveries, said Joseph Fritz, ICI President. “Barron was able to not only meet the program’s urgent demand requirements but they also put the program back on schedule.”

Improved product reliability came from producing the components from SLA Quickcast 3D printed patterns, with no hard tooling required. The SLA Patterns are more stable than wax patterns in maintaining dimensions and configuration, thus reducing the degree to which the previous parts were distorting, which affected component supply.

“Using printed patters also had the benefit of saving the customer a significant non-recurring expense by eliminating the need for tooling as well as taking tooling lead time out of the planning equation,” said Barron.

Benefits of Investment Casting

Investment casting is a process used for making precise and complex metal components and, for many industries, it saves time and cost in producing their parts. For example, when an aerospace company asked Barron Industries to manufacture an investment casting for an advanced military guidance system, it reduced its costs by a whopping 75 percent. Barron’s superior casting solution won industry acclaim, winning the Investment Casting Institute’s 2020 Military Award. Barron won the 2021 Best Casting Award for a component the company manufactures for a military vehicle. Using the investment casting process, Barron converted a distorted multi-piece welded fabrication into a one-piece lightweight and thin-wall investment casting. Made of A356-T6 Aluminum, the thin-wall HVAC Diffuser is used in a military vehicle with tight packaging constraints. 

Time and Cost-Saving Advantages:

Barron’s additive manufacturing technology and materials for 3D-printed investment casting patterns enable us to create complex casting patterns in a fraction of the time it takes to create molds using traditional tooling. By using our additive manufacturing process, we can create hollow patterns that allow for greater design complexity, reduced component weight, and lower assembly costs.

Design Flexibility:

As opposed to forming parts from bar metal, machined investment castings can be used to convert multi-piece fabrications into one-piece castings, greatly reducing lead-times, waste and cost. In addition, machined investment castings offer a myriad of metals including low cost alloys such as carbon and tool steels or costly alloys such as aluminum, stainless steel, hastalloy, cobalt and Inconel.

Intricate Shapes/Thin Walls:

Also known as “precision casting”, the investment casting process produces components with intricate and complex shapes, superb surface finishes and strict dimensional accuracy.

Environmentally Friendly:

Investment Casting is a totally earth-friendly process. Metals and wax used in manufacturing are recycled and reused to make new parts. Although the ceramic shell material cannot be recycled within the investment casting process, it is classified as an inert substance and controlled landfill disposal is not necessary. Waste from ceramic slurry can also be recycled for many uses including fill for construction projects or filler for concrete.

Machined Investment Castings from Barron Industries

Barron Industries is a global supplier of precision cast parts, machined components and complete assemblies. Barron manufactures highly-engineered investment castings with both ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Using the most advanced casting and CNC machining technology, Barron’s start-to-finish manufacturing process includes everything from design for manufacturing to in-house Nadcap certified NDT and welding, as well as off-shore production and complete supply chain management.