Mass Production At The Core: voxeljet’s High-Volume Additive Manufacturing Moves
The new VJET X is preparing for its debut as voxeljet announces its next high-volume additive manufacturing solutions.
In fact, voxeljet has shared two press releases this week pointing to much more to be revealed next week at GIFA. Fittingly, the Dusseldorf event is focused around casting technology, so these reveals make sense there, just as IMTS saw the reveal of other industrial additive manufacturing introductions last year, rather than saving them for full additive-focused formnext.
First, the VJET X. The new technology is designed for integration into traditional metal casting lines to create complex sand cores. The company notes:
“VJET X printers are 10x faster than previous models, which results in a layering speed of less than 5 seconds. On the 1000mm bed of a VX1000 that results in 180cm3 of printing volume every 5 seconds.”
VJET X offers zero emissions throughout the process, from 3D printing the core to storing it to using it in casting. The tech is also automated for pre- and post-processes: loading and unloading the 3D printers as well as cleaning and transporting the printed parts robotically.
The new technology is based on a new process unit, voxeljet notes: “It is a combination of multiple printing and recoating units…”
It’s specifically targeting automotive serial production. The commercial debut will be with “a premium German car manufacturer” to 3D print complex water jacket cores in metal casting.
“This technology development will achieve full volume automotive production for critical engine parts. It’s super-fast (120,000cm3 per hour) with automated box changes, unpacking and depowdering,” said voxeljet UK Managing Director James Reeves.
Reeves, if you’ll recall, pointed us in the way of a serial production-focused announcement to come a few months ago. It looks like we’re finally getting to hear the full story now.
Industrialization of Core Printing (ICP)
The second press release from voxeljet this week points to an alliance with Loramendi and ASK Chemicals. Together, the three are developing a fully automated 3D printed core production solution.
“The technology called Industrialization of Core Printing (ICP) allows automated production of highly complex sand cores for casting processes. By harnessing the flexibility of additive manufacturing, ICP eliminates design limitations of conventional tooling and is capable of matching conventional core making in serial-production.”
Key to the collaboration is Loramendi’s 45-plus-year history in foundry equipment production, which combined with newer additive manufacturing capabilities is leading to this new automated solution. Voxeljet’s announcement says:
“The ICP technology and equipment has been developed to enable a high production flexibility and to boost the opportunities of industry 4.0 for core making factories and foundries. The know-how and experience of Loramendi as a main contractor have been a key success factor to deploy this disruptive innovation by integrating process development and the equipment industrialization.”
Neither the VJET X nor ICP press release mentions the other by name, but the ICP release does note that “the new solution...features a new type of 3D printer, which is more than ten times faster than previous models.”
Both also mention the inorganic binding materials, which enable the zero emissions noted in the VJET X announcement. These materials were developed by ASK Chemicals. The two-component inorganic system is called INOTEC 3D, comprising INOTEC 3D printing fluid and INOTEC 3D promoter.
Full details are set for release at GIFA next week; the ICP press conference will take place at the Loramendi & Aurrenak booth on Wednesday the 26th, while the VJET X announcement simply says that “Together with its industrial partners, voxeljet will present the new VJET X and VX1000-S printers at the GIFA show.” Demos and technical presentations will provide more on-site insight.