Voxeljet AG has presented what it has claimed is a ‘groundbreaking’ innovation at the GIFA 2023 trade show, its new cold IOB (Inorganic Binding) 3D printing technology. With this process, moulds and cores for the foundry industry can be produced from sand with an inorganic binder without the need for microwave treatment according to the company.
In addition to the presentation of the new process at the show, voxeljet also presented work from its joint project with Loramendi for BMW on the industrialisation of core printing (ICP). The ICP project involves a fully automated, manufacturing cell in operation at BMW’s light metal foundry in Landshut. Within this manufacturing cell, casting cores are printed with inorganic binders and then cured using a microwave.
The new cold IOB 3D printing technology does not require a microwave curing, and so it is characterised by lower investment and operating costs according to voxeljet. The company claims that the use of IOB technologies opens up multiple advantages for the foundry industry, for example only water vapour is produced during casting instead of harmful gases. voxeljet says this reduce emissions as well as improving working conditions in foundries.
“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, said 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.”
Unlike warm IOB processes, which require 3D printed cores to be cured and dried using a microwave, cores printed with voxeljet’s cold IOB technology only require drying after printing according to the company, all of which takes place outside of the machine. The company says the process will be able to be used on most voxeljet platforms, and is currently being tested and offered on the VX1000 and VX1000S 3D printers, with an expansion of the offering planned for the VX2000.
According to voxeljet, the use of inorganic binder in the foundry industry, particularly in the automotive sector, is gaining popularity. The company says it expects demand for inorganic-bonded moulds and cores to rise continuously in light of increasing environmental regulations.
In early 2023, Tooling & Equipment International (TEI), one of the largest users of 3D sand printing in the United States, purchased its third VX4000 3D printer from voxeljet to use in 3D printing of cast cores for the all-electric Cadillac CELESTIQ.