July 3, 2019
Dear DE Reader:
Sand casting is a metal manufacturing process that predates the Industrial Revolution, and is still popular today. More than 70% of all metal castings are produced using sand casting. The materials are cheap and are suitably refractory even for steel foundry work.
All that said, the actual process of designing and making the sand molds is time-consuming. Enter 3D printing automation. ExOne has been making sand mold 3D printers for 20 years, and their latest model brings new power to the process of making both prototypes and industrial series production. The automation and utility it brings to this important industrial process is why the new ExOne S-MAX Pro is our Editor’s Pick of the Week.
To appreciate what the S-MAX Pro offers, let’s step back in time. Traditionally sand molds are made with sand held in place with a bonding agent like clay. The sand is typically contained in a system of frames or mold boxes known as a flask. The mold cavities and gate system are created by compacting the sand around models called patterns, by carving directly into the sand, or by 3D printing.
To describe the ExOne S-MAX Pro, let’s start with speed. The S-MAX Pro can achieve printing speeds of up to 135 l/h (layers per hour) and can print two full 1,800x1,000x700 (mm) job boxes, each with a volume of 1,260 liters, in just 24 hours.
The S-MAX Pro features a new efficient printhead and a fully automated recoater. The molding material can be replaced quickly, allowing production of complex parts with various casting materials in one mold. The control system has been enhanced to support 24/7 operation, and to allow the S-MAX Pro to work in chains to create a fully automated, scalable production line. Cloud connectivity and inline process and machine monitoring allows flexible, location-independent monitoring of print runs.
Along with the release of S-MAX Pro, ExOne has a new partnership with Siemens for industrial automation. Learn more about the partnership and how ExOne fits into a digital foundry workflow in this week’s Product Brief.
Thanks for reading; we will be back next week with another Editor’s Pick of the Week.
—The DE Editors