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Precision Investment Casting, also referred to as lost wax casting, is a process in which metals are casted into different shapes using wax and ceramics to act as the mould for the casting. This is one of the oldest known techniques for metal casting and has stood the test of time over centuries.
It finds usage in various industries like firearms industry, energy industry, gas and oil and even food industry. While many debate upon the strength and durability of this form of casting, doubting mainly that this method might provide weaker metal shapes as compared to forging or metal fabrication, these doubts have been laid to rest since aerospace, defence and medical fields have trusted equipment that are made from Precision Investment Casting.

As mentioned earlier, the process for Precision Investment Casting requires wax and ceramics to be the mould for the main metal. This is done in a very simple yet precise way (hence the name) and the steps are:
? Pattern Formation –Manufacturing of the wax pattern is the very first step involved in investment casting. Here it should be mentioned that wax is preferred over plastic, because wax melts easily and can be reused for another casting which is again a beneficial point from costing aspect. Special aluminium moulds are made to cast the pattern and this requires some trial and error, because factors like shrinking of the wax, the ceramic or even the metal should be incorporated.
The hard facts on marine hardware and components
While it may seem like a proportionally small detail for an overall marine fabrication project, finding the best hardware can significantly prolong the lifespan of an end product and tailor it to a specific customer’s needs. The technology for marine hardware is always changing, and it can be hard to keep up with the new products in the gap between trade shows. We caught up with a few of the nation’s most successful manufacturers and distributors to find out what’s hot this summer, and what fabricators can do to stay in the loop on the latest hardware products available.
The development cycle
Manufacturers insist that input from marine fabricators, regardless of the size of the shop they run, is key to developing new and more technologically advanced hardware. However, the process for developing a new item can take upwards of three years.
What’s hot
Because of the lengthy testing period, some of the marine hardware just entering the market now are products that have been around for a year or more—but manufacturers say that should help fabricators feel confident that these “hot” new products are road-tested and trade-show approved.

Alan Butcher of Intermold says his company is seeing rising popularity in two of its more versatile products: a new Lever Lock Joiner that securely fastens the telescoping support poles of an awning without having to use screws, and a universal deck hinge that can adapt to a wide variety of boat decks.
“There’s a whole bunch of deck hinge combinations out there, which is one reason we made the universal deck hinge,” Butcher says. “It swivels, and it fits a lot of different deck combinations, so the customer doesn’t have to have the exact angle. In the past they’ve had to slip wedges under them to change the angle of a hinge, because every deck has a little bit different camber to it. So we added a universal hinge that will adjust to whatever deck you put it on, and many customers have found that to be to their advantage.”
Tom Koster also emphasizes the importance of being able to offer versatile hardware. He says that one of his most popular new products is a ball and socket fitting, which can help a fabricator to fit a frame around the curved edges and adapt to new kinds of boats.
“Boats used to be more or less a lot of right angles, or straight angles, but now boats are manufactured with compound curves,” Koster says. “So when you put a frame down, it isn’t a straight line, because the boat itself is curved, the fittings have to be flexible, and allow movement within the hinge itself.”
The newest product we found has only been in development for 18 months, and is just being placed on the market for the first time: YKK’s new adhesive snap fastener, called the Snad. Rod Helwig of YKK says that the Snad was developed as a response to fabricators’ concerns about traditional snap applications.
The Stainless Steel Handrail Bracket Round for round or flat handrail. Sleek in design, easy to install and is safe and sturdy upon completion. It benefits from our new interchangeable mounting mechanism which makes it easy to mount to various surfaces such as Wood/Sheet Rock, Steel or Glass.

Suitable for flat or round top rail (adapter included)
Satin/Brushed Finish Stainless Steel AISI 316 Marine Grade for outdoor and indoor areas
Suitable for round handrail of 1 1/2" to 1 3/4" diameter
Suitable for wood or steel handrail
Mountable into wood stud, steel stud, or concrete
What are metal products?
The steel industry, the business of processing iron ore into steel, which in its simplest form is an iron-carbon alloy, and in some cases, turning that metal into partially finished products or recycling scrap metal into steel. The steel industry grew out of the need for more durable and more easily produced metals. Technological advances in steelmaking during the last half of the 19th cent. played a key role in creating modern economies dependent on rails, automobiles, girders, bridges, and a variety of other steel products.
Austgen - Metal Fabrication
Iron working can be traced as far back as 3,500 BC in Armenia. The Bessemer process, created independently by Henry Bessemer in England and William Kelly in the United States during the 1850s, allowed the mass production of low-cost steel; the open-hearth process, first introduced in the United States in 1888, made it easier to use domestic iron ores. By the 1880s, the growing demand for steel rails made the United States the world's largest producer. The open-hearth process dominated the steel industry between 1910 and 1960 when it converted to the basic-oxygen process, which produces steel faster, and the electric-arc furnace process, which makes it easier to produce alloys such as stainless steel and to recycle scrap steel.
After World War II, the U.S. steel industry faced increased competition from Japanese and European producers, who rebuilt and modernised their industries. Later, many Third World countries, such as Brazil, built their own steel industries, and large U.S. steelmakers faced increased competition from smaller, nonunion mills ( mini-mills ) that recycle scrap steel. The U.S. produced about half of the world's steel in 1945; in 1999 it was the second-largest producer, with 12% of the world market, behind China and ahead of Japan and Russia.
Since the 1970s, growing competition and the increasing availability of alternative materials, such as plastic, slowed steel industry growth; employment in the U.S. steel industry dropped from 2.5 million in 1974 to less than a million in 1998. Global production stood at 773 million tons in 1997, down from 786 million tons in 1988. U.S. steel production has remained constant since the 1970s at about 100 million tons, but mini-mill companies now produce 50 % of that total. An increase in U.S. demand during the 1990s was largely met by imports, which now account for from about a fifth to a quarter of all steel used annually in the United States. The old-line U.S. steelmakers, losing market share and with a higher wage, health, and retirement costs, experienced a string of bankruptcies beginning in the late 1990s, leading to industry and union pressure for protective tariffs, which were imposed by President George W. Bush in 2002 on most steel from non-NAFTA industrialised nations. Later reduced, the tariffs were found in 2003 to be illegal under World Trade Organization rules, and President Bush reversed the tariffs.
The Metal Industry is primarily concerned with metallurgy and metalworking. At first, the metals are extracted from the metal-ores found in their natural state deep within the earth. Then these ores are purified through a detailed procedure to obtain the metals in their pure form, and these processes comprise metallurgy. Then the pure form of the metal so obtained is used to manufacture structures as well as different machines and parts of machines. The procedures which involve the manufacturing of machines and other useful items from the metals so obtained through the metallurgical processes, constitute metalworking.
The manufacturing of alloys is also carried out in the Metal Industry through the proportionate homogeneous mixing of two or more metallic elements (metals in the pure state). The alloys so formed are mainly manufactured in order to enhance the natural properties of the metals by combining them together. Steel is one of the most popular as well as useful alloys of iron, formed through the chemical combination of mainly iron and carbon. In addition, it may also contain other metals, as added to the combination in order to attain desired properties from the alloy.
Metals are commodities without which a modern industrialised economy could not exist. Iron and steel, in particular, are ubiquitous and are central to meeting basic needs such as housing and mobility. Basic metal production encompasses the activities of smelting or refining ferrous and precious as well as other non-ferrous metals from ore or scrap, using metallurgic techniques. It also comprises the production of metal alloys and super-alloys by adding certain chemical elements to pure metals. The output of smelting and refining, usually in ingot form, is used in rolling, drawing and extruding operations to make products such as plate, sheet, strip, bars, rods, wire, tubes, pipes and hollow profiles, and in molten form to make castings and other basic metal products.

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