Sand casting moulds and cores to be looked at differently going forward.
Internationally recognised company ExOne has recently appointed Peter Bird as its South African agent. ExOne is a New York stock exchange publicly traded manufacturing technology company that provides 3D printing machines, 3D printed products and related services to industrial customers in multiple segments, including pumps, automotive, aerospace, heavy equipment and energy.
ExOne was founded in 2005 as a spin-off of Extrude Hone Corporation, a global supplier and developer of precision nontraditional machining processes and automated systems for more than 50 years. Three-dimensional printing emerged as the core technology for The ExOne Company, which currently supplies services, systems and solutions for manufacturing in the digital age, including three-dimensional printing in industrial grade materials such as sand and metals.
The ExOne® process, which utilises binder jetting technology with industrial materials, gives traditional manufacturers an opportunity to reduce costs, lower the risk of trial and error and create opportunities for design innovation.
ExOne offers digital part materialisation in various combinations of sand casting media and chemical binders, depending on desired strength and level of detail. These include silica sand, synthetic sand and other casting media.
Digital production of sand moulds and cores eliminates the need for hard tooling and drastically reduces lead times. The process uses three-dimensional printing technology to produce the moulds and cores layer by layer from a CAD file. A binder catalyst is coated on the sand, which is then spread in layers. The printhead jets a second component of the binder system selectively onto the spread sand layer. When this component meets the catalyst coating on the sand, a polymerisation reaction occurs which bonds the sand particles together. Curing occurs in the air without the need for external heat.
Standard foundry industry materials are used, enabling easy integration of the moulds and cores into existing manufacturing and foundry procedures. This digital process offers design freedoms not possible in moulds and cores produced using the traditional pattern approach. Castings requiring multiple cores can be modified to use fewer cores, or even a single core. Drafts required when moulds are created from patterns can be eliminated. Advanced venting schemes and integrated rigging features are also possible.
Multiple add-on service options are offered including reverse engineering, mould design, solidification analysis and CAD rigging system design, pouring of castings and inspection to ensure a quality finished product.
“With decades of manufacturing experience and a significant investment in research and product development, ExOne has pioneered the evolution of nontraditional manufacturing. This investment has yielded a new generation of rapid production technology in the field of additive manufacturing as well as advanced micromachining processes,” said Peter Bird.
“A major aspect of ExOne’s business is selling 3D printers and services, which are used to produce the 3D-printed sand moulds that go on to create castings. Obviously, for a company like ExOne, which is expected to generate about $60 million in annual revenue this year, the growth potential could be staggering. However, there are numerous challenges in changing the way the metal foundry industry operates.”
“Nevertheless the market opportunity for creating 3D-printed castings could potentially be worth billions of dollars worldwide in the not too distant future.”
For further details contact Peter Bird on TEL: 083 226 8764, www.exone.com