Investment Castings: A National Security Assessment, December 1987

Investment Castings: A National Security Assessment, December 1987
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Investment Castings: A National Security Assessment, December 1987.  This publication is a national security/industrial capabilities assessment of the domestic investment casting industry.  The report includes a detailed review of the investment casting industry and its performance, production capabilities, surge and mobilization capabilities, supply relationships, and a technology assessment.  The report finds that U.S. firms lead the world in investment casting technology.  This technological lead has a positive qualitative impact on defense capabilities and has conferred competitive advantages on U.S. investment casting firms in the world aerospace market.  The report notes, however, that the U.S. has a limited production base for some highly sophisticated investment castings such as hollow-core blades.  Furthermore, the investment casting industry is dependent on foreign suppliers for materials, such as numerous metals, wax and wax blending materials, and selected ceramic shell making additives.  The report concludes that as a result, lead times may rise to unacceptable levels in an emergency.  The report closes with recommendations for Department of Defense consideration.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:


Overview p. 1

I. Introduction

Background p. 2

II. Industry Description

Investment Casting p. 5

Industry History p. 6

Current Industry Profile p. 8

Markets p. 11

Production Cost Analysis p. 15

III. Industry Performance

Shipments p. 22

Employment p. 24

Investment p. 25

International Trade p. 28

Foreign Relationships p. 30

Offsets p. 32

IV. Production Capabilities

Practical Capacity p. 35

Interpreting Capacity p. 37

Lead Team p. 39

Ramp-up Time p. 42

Capacity Conversion p. 44

V. Surge and Mobilization Capabilities

Definitions p. 48

Blades and Vanes p. 49

Aluminum p. 52

All Other Foundries p. 55

Government Actions p. 57

VI. Supply Relationships

Subcontracting p. 59

Strategic Materials p. 62

Other Materials p. 65

VII. Technology Assessment

Key Technologies p. 71

Advanced Ceramics p. 79

Competing Production Processes p. 82

VIII. Conclusions and Recommendations p. 87


A. Detailed Investment Casting Process Description

B. Strategic Materials Frequently Investment Cast

C. Competing Production Processes

D. Industry Survey Instrument

E. Selected Statistics and Graphs


The Defense Department, manufacturers involved with investment casting, policymakers and members of government would be interested in this publication as it outlines procedures involved in investment casting, as well as an industry analysis in terms of national defense capabilities. 

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Commerce Dept., Bureau of Export Administration, Office of Industrial Resource Administration, Strategic Analysis Division
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