Concurrent Technologies and Desktop Metal Advance Sand-Casting Technology

The possible $15 million contract from the Defense Logistics Agency aims to develop the science and engineering of 3D printed sand-casting molds.

The possible $15 million contract from the Defense Logistics Agency aims to develop the science and engineering of 3D printed sand-casting molds.

The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) has awarded Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) a prime contract worth a potential $15 million to demonstrate the practicality of producing obsolete critical castings through 3D printed sand-casting mold technology, the organizations report. In addition, the project is designed to further develop the science and technology of 3D printed sand-casting molds. CTC will work with subcontractor ExOne, a subsidiary of Desktop Metal, as well as the University of Northern Iowa, DLA, and metal casting foundries on the project. 

“Several years ago, CTC recognized the need for a process to inexpensively and quickly produce obsolete critical castings needed by the Department of Defense. The castings had been difficult to source because the original manufacturing designs, patterns, and/or producers are no longer available,” says Mike Tims, CTC advisor engineer and this program’s manager and principal investigator.

The base year of the contract is worth $4.6 million; four 1-year options, if all exercised, would bring the total value of this effort to a potential $15 million. This project will demonstrate 3D printed molds and cores for sand castings to the DLA supply chain and to foundries, which could then produce the castings that the industry is not currently positioned to make because traditional tooling is no longer available.

Digital casting is enabled by binder jet 3D printing technology. Replacement parts can be cast in tooling printed layer by layer in sand direct from a digital file without making physical patterns. 

“Supply chain agility is a core advantage of 3D printing technologies like binder jetting and digital casting allows low or high volumes to be produced efficiently and economically. We’re proud to partner with CTC in this project to address casting obsolescence 3D printed sand molds to ensure defense readiness,” says Ric Fulop, founder and CEO of Desktop Metal. 

Edward J. Sheehan, Jr., CTC president and CEO, adds, “This project builds on the expertise CTC developed through 30+ years of advanced engineering and manufacturing, particularly through two Office of Naval Research projects that developed, used, and implemented printed sand-casting molds. Together with our project partners, we will provide the government a robust solution to their challenge to re-create castings that are hard to obtain.”  

Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) is an independent, nonprofit, applied scientific research and development professional services organization. CTC collaborates with its technology transition affiliate, Enterprise Ventures Corporation, to leverage research, development, test and evaluation work to provide transformative, full lifecycle solutions. 

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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