Investment Casting vs Forging

Occasionally, customers will want to compare the investment casting process with forging for manufacture of their components. While both processes are effective metal forming techniques, advantages and disadvantages are on two opposite ends of the spectrum. While both have their advantages and disadvantages, the factor that usually pushes most from forging to investment casting is the limitations on product complexity that forging imposes. While some simple parts with limited surface finish and tolerancing can be very economically forged in large quantities, nearly any complex feature of the geometry or special tolerances make investment casting the better choice.

Investment Casting vs Machining
Investment Casting Forging
  • Can be used to cast a wide variety of ferrous and non-ferrous alloys.
  • Low volume production runs are cheaper as tooling is less costly.
  • Can produce much more complex designs, incorporating design features such as logos.
  • Parts require little machining after finishing.
  • Excellent surface finishes can be achieved.
  • Production costs are low.
  • Cycle times are extremely short.
  • Cost effective at very high volumes.
  • Cycle times are much longer due to the nature of the process.
  • Part size is limited by what can be securely gated to a tree.
  • Dimensional accuracy is diminished with increasing part size.
  • It is a much more manual process and costs can be higher for large production runs.
  • Tooling costs are far higher.
  • Tooling must be replaced quite frequently due to wear.
  • Alloy selection is somewhat limited.
  • Lower dimensional accuracy.
  • Extremely limited component complexity.

Other Comparisons

  • Investment Casting vs Die Casting
  • Investment Casting vs Sand Casting
  • Investment Casting vs Metal Injection Moulding