Voxeljet AG presented a ground-breaking innovation at GIFA 2023: The new cold IOB (Inorganic Binding) 3D printing technology. With this unique process, moulds and cores for the foundry industry can be produced from sand and an inorganic binder without the need for microwave treatment.
For voxeljet, this year’s GIFA was all about inorganics. In addition to the joint project ICP (Industrialisation of Core Printing) with Loramendi for BMW, the Bavarian company also presented a new, patent-pending, cold-curing inorganic process technology (cold IOB). The ICP project involves a fully automated, manufacturing cell in operation at BMW’s light metal foundry in Landshut, Germany. Within this manufacturing cell, casting cores are printed with inorganic binders and then cured using a microwave. Consequently, it is a warm process technology.
The new cold IOB technology does not require a microwave curing and is thus characterised by lower investment and operating costs. The use of IOB technologies opens up numerous advantages for the foundry industry, e.g. only water vapor is produced during casting instead of harmful gases. This not only reduces emissions but also improves working conditions in foundries.
“Our goal is to provide innovative solutions that not only increase efficiency, but also help promote the sustainability of metal casting.”
“The introduction of cold IOB technology is an important step towards further adoption of printed cores and moulds with inorganic binders in the foundry industry,” says Dr. Ingo Ederer, CEO at voxeljet. “Our goal is to provide innovative solutions that not only increase efficiency, but also help promote the sustainability of metal casting.”
The features of the cold IOB process technology and moulds and cores produced with it include high dimensional accuracy, very good detail resolution and edge sharpness, and the ability to 3D print large moulds and cores. Unlike warm IOB processes, which require printed cores to be cured and dried using a microwave, voxeljet’s cold IOB technology only requires drying after printing, which takes place outside the machine. Customers thus avoid high investment and operating costs for industrial microwaves. The process can basically be used on all voxeljet platforms. It is currently being tested and offered on the VX1000 and VX1000S printers. An expansion of the offering to the VX2000 is planned soon.
The use of inorganic binder in the foundry industry, especially in the automotive sector, is gaining popularity. In view of increasing environmental regulations, demand for inorganic-bonded moulds and cores is expected to rise continuously. voxeljet is committed to expanding its leading role in the field of environmentally compatible 3D printing processes and to making a significant contribution to the sales growth of the voxeljet Group through this strategic orientation.
The cold IOB technology is particularly suitable for prototyping and medium series sizes and is now commercially available. Interested customers already can order benchmarks.