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Investment casting facility

The CSIR investment casting facility is the only foundry in South Africa with a production-level vacuum casting capability. 

The facility was established in 1984 to develop a nickel-based alloy vacuum casting capability for turbine blades in support of the South African Airforce. It grew with the addition of an industrial multi-chamber vacuum casting furnace, state-of-the-art vacuum heat treatment and other specialised processes.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s the CSIR investment casting foundry established the capability to produce nickel-based super alloy turbine blades from standard equiaxed grained blades to complex single crystal hollow blades that were bench tested on commercial military jet engines. This technology was transferred to the Denel foundry, where it was implemented on an industrial scale. 

During the late 1990s and early 2000s the CSIR worked closely with several industrial partners to localise the manufacturing of products. The most significant intervention was the casting and qualification of the 9 mm pistol for the South African Police Service, in collaboration with Hausler Scientific Instruments (Pty) Ltd. The first batch of 500 pistols was produced and, subsequently, the foundry assisted with limited production for Hausler Scientific.

Although the investment casting foundry has been established based on the advanced vacuum casting capability, it has the capability to provide support to the wider metals forming industry.

Most recently, a niche capability has been established to produce investment cast titanium alloys.

It continues to provide support to a variety of industries, from product development to small production runs, to fill a gap that local investment casting foundries cannot service.

Investment casting capabilities

  • Modified and upgraded vacuum casting furnace.
  • Development of a vacuum heat treatment cycle: Significant cast and heat-treated mechanical properties were reliably achieved against the ASTM 8E standard for titanium castings.
  • Chemical milling on semi-industrial scale.
  • Modified and upgraded vacuum casting furnace.

Contact Person

Dr Robert Tshikhudo

Technical Specifications

CSIR investment casting facility

The facility was established in 1984 to develop a nickel-based alloy vacuum casting capability for turbine blades in support of the South African Airforce. It grew with the addition of an industrial multi-chamber vacuum casting furnace, state-of-the-art vacuum heat treatment and other specialised processes.

investment facility
investment casting facility
investment casting facility
investment casting facility