Why choose Carbon and Low-Alloy Steel investment Castings

When choosing among the myriad steels used in investment castings, it’s important to consider the strength and processing parameters required for your precision metal component. Strength requirements will vary depending on operational loads, vibration, temperature and environmental conditions. Processing considerations include formability, weldability, machineability and other fabrication requirements for producing the casting.

Carbon and low-alloy steel investment castings are commonly used for pressure containing and structural applications due to their strength, hardenability and resistance to wear and abrasion. Their relatively lower cost also makes these alloys attractive, however the key to the economic use of the investment casting process is to incorporate as much added value into the casting as possible, eliminating or minimizing welding or machining, to produce components with high integrity and tighter tolerances. For example, traditionally machined features such as holes and slots are cast to size and machine quality surface finish of 125 micro inches is standard for the investment casting process.

Carbon Steel

The most common metal used to manufacture products, carbon steel is also known as plain steel because it is mainly carbon with no minimum percentage of other alloying elements. Increased carbon content makes the steel harder and stronger through applications of heat treatments, but it also makes it less ductile and lowers the melting point of the alloy.

Of all investment castings manufactured at Barron Industries’ investment casting foundry, approximately 30% are made of carbon steel. These precision machined castings are used in ground-based military vehicles, “roughneck” equipment for oil and gas exploration, and conveyorized  material handling systems.

Low-Alloy Steel

Alloy steels are divided into low-alloy steels and high-alloy steels, with low-alloy steels most commonly used for industrial applications. Steel is deemed to be low-ally when the amount of added alloying material comprises less than 8 percent of the metal’s total weight. The additional elements are added to increase hardness and durability. Commonly added elements in low-alloy steel investment castings are chromium, vanadium, nickel and molybdenum. The percent composition of these various alloying elements is based on the intended use of the investment casting. Low-alloy steels gain strength through heat treatment. Barron’s low-alloy steel investment castings are also resistant to corrosion and tougher than normal carbon steel.  Common uses for alloy steel investment castings include agricultural equipment, defense applications and performance-critical equipment for the oil and gas industry.


In the metal casting foundry business since 1923, Barron Industries melts and pours both ferrous and non-ferrous materials. In addition to aluminum, alloy steels and stainless steel, Barron pours all alloys that can be air melted or inert atmosphere melted including 600 series Inconel alloys as well as Hastelloy X and C.

We specialize in high-strength stainless steel, aluminum and armor alloys. Customers turn to Barron Industries to meet premium mechanical properties through a combination of strict process controls and secondary thermal treatment parameters in alloys such as 17-4 PH Stainless Steel and A357-T6 Aluminum. Barron pours more than 200 different ferrous and non-ferrous alloys including:


We recognize that each customer has unique requirements. Our melt technicians are capable of custom mixing alloys as needed to produce a final metallurgy that is certified to meet individual customer requirements. Every heat is spectrographically tested to ensure the correct chemistry and mechanical properties are verified by in-house testing of separately cast tensile specimens. Metallurgical quality and integrity are ensured by archiving a small metal sample of each heat for up to seven years to assure our customers of the metal quality and address any technical inquiries that may arise years after castings have been produced and shipped.

Barron’s investment casting process produces precision components with strict tolerance requirements. Our solidification modeling software predicts the outcome of a casting’s internal quality level before production, significantly reducing lead times and development costs. We are experts in value engineering for our customers.  Barron will help you reduce weight and improve the functionality of your metal component. Let us redesign or convert your costly multi-piece weldment or fabrication into a single-piece investment casting.

Material selection is critical in product development. Whether it is reviewing required mechanical properties or discussing alloy metallurgy, we can help you select the investment casting alloy best suited to the rigors of your specific application. Contact us for assistance.