FLOWCASTINGS PROVIDES INTEGRATED DIGITAL ADVANCED MANUFACTURING FOR LOW-CARBON AVIATION AND POWER
Our core competencies are based on a unique ceramic and wax materials creation and their shaping through digital transformation from Computer Aided Customer Design into Computer Aided Manufacturing. These unique cast pre-products are created as digital and as fast as 3D-printing. Flowcastings is then transferring these products into high end investment castings, non-compromised in their directional solidified or single crystal grain based physical properties. The combination of the digital, fast pre-products with high end casting capability is unmatched in the turbine component manufacturing industry.
FAST PRECISION CORED PATTERNS AND SX / DS CASTINGS SAVE UP TO A YEAR OF PRODUCTION TIME
SINGLE CRYSTAL (SX) & DS CASTINGS
A key limiting factor in early jet engines was the performance of the materials available for the hot section (combustor and turbine) of the engine. The need for better materials spurred much research in the field of alloys and manufacturing techniques, and that research resulted in a long list of new materials and methods that make modern gas turbines possible.
The most advanced production method of turbine blades is Directional Solidified (DS) or Single Crystal (SX) investment casting (or lost-wax processing). This process involves making a precise negative die of the blade shape that is filled with wax to form the blade shape. If the blade is hollow (i.e., it has internal cooling passages), a ceramic core in the shape of the passage is inserted into the middle. The wax blade is coated with a heat-resistant material to make a shell, and then that shell is filled with the blade alloy. This step can be more complicated for DS or SX materials, but the process is similar. If there is a ceramic core in the middle of the blade, it is dissolved in a solution that leaves the blade hollow.
PRECISION CORED PATTERNS
Flowcastings´ patent-protected production method for ceramic cores and wax component patterns overcomes the need to develop expensive injection dies. We produce our own, unique ceramic in a 3D pre-shape (a ‘blank’). The material is fully conditioned to meet the physical properties needed for all three investment casting process types: Equiaxed, DS or SX.
The ceramic as well as the wax is then shaped by Flowcastings’ digitally driven process to accurately incorporate all 3D-design based features from the customer. Flowcastings’ casting development and production commences just as fast as an alternative 3D printing process would, but 3D printing is limited to equiaxed parts and even then suffers from compromises in material component properties. The Flowcastings approach delivers the full component and materials properties, regardless if the component is equiaxed or a more advanced DS or SX product.