At this year’s GIFA show in Düsseldorf, voxeljet AG will present a milestone in additive series production. voxeljet is bringing fully automated 3D printing into series production with its partner Loramendi. This is possible because it created and implemented a process and system for the automatic large-scale production of inorganic sand cores for light metal casting for the BMW Group’s Landshut plant.
Voxeljet’s next generation VX1300-X (VJET X) 3D printers are used on the production line. The 3D printers are part of a fully automated pre- and post-processing workflow that also includes industrial microwaves for curing 3D printed cores. This solution provides a customised, powerful, and innovative solution for producing BMW’s high-performance engines.
Fully Automated 3D Printing into Series Production
A joint vision has been realised after years of research and optimisation: voxeljet and Loramendi present their flagship project for BMW Group Plant Landshut at this year’s GIFA foundry trade fair. We developed a fully automated and integrated production line for the inorganic large-scale production of sand cores using 3D printing as part of our collaboration project ICP (Industrialization of Core Printing).
Nine become one: Advantages of 3D printing
The design of the cylinder head for the BMW B48 engine can be significantly improved by using 3D printing in the production of water jacket cores. Because only steam is produced during casting, the inorganic process protects the environment and improves working conditions. At the same time, the engine’s efficiency and consumption can be optimised due to the component’s complex design. No other technology allowed for the cost-effective mass production of such a complex element. BMW can now produce the core entirely in one piece using 3D printing, as opposed to the previous nine complex individual parts.
The ICP production line completely automates and optimises what was previously a manual and time-consuming process. Using the binder jetting process, five voxeljet VX1300-X 3D printers now produce thousands of cores fully automatically every week. These are then unpacked, hardened, cleaned, and prepared for casting in Loramendi-developed unpacking stations, microwaves, and cleaning cells.
“The fully automated 3D production line is the standard we want to implement: for four years, we have worked hard on this project with BMW. To see the VJET X printers in full operation now is extremely exciting and a milestone not only for us but also for the entire 3D printing and automotive industry.”– Dr. Ingo Ederer, Founder and CEO, voxeljet
3D printing for series production
The VX1300-X 3D printer is a mass additive manufacturing 3D printer. Bidirectional recoating and simultaneous printing of the build area are made possible by a high-performance process unit. As a result, in multi-shift and continuous operation, the VX1300-X achieves extremely short layer times and high output volumes, making it ideal for series production.
It can be operated manually with conventional furanic material systems or automatically with inorganic material systems. The complex sand cores are prepared for metal casting and integrated into the existing casting process using a fully automated post-processing cell. The sand cores’ tool-free construction enables variant changes at unprecedented speed, with no time-consuming tool changes or production downtimes.
About voxeljet: voxeljet is a leading provider of large-format, high-speed 3D printers and on-demand services for industrial and commercial clients. The company’s 3D printers use powder-based, additive manufacturing technology to create highly complex components out of a variety of materials such as sands and plastics.
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