Mission M


Industrialization of Core Printing (ICP)

As part of the Industrialization of Core Printing (ICP) cooperation project, we installed and commissioned the world’s first fully automated additive manufacturing cell together with Loramendi, a Spanish expert in foundry equipment.

Installed in the BMW Group’s light metal foundry in Landshut, Germany, the cell produces several thousand water jacket cores per month for the cylinder head cooling of BMW’s B54 engines. It is the first additive series production solution of its kind and a beacon for all subsequent projects. We are particularly proud of our VX1300X – one of our most powerful printing systems.

Less investment

Layer-based 3D printing eliminates the need for tooling altogether. No long delivery times, no high costs. Full automation limits human intervention to a minimum.

Flexible "tool change"

The elimination of tools also means that a new core geometry can be produced additively at the push of a button without any setup time. For example, today a 4-cylinder water jacket core, tomorrow a 6-cylinder.

Geometric freedom

New, optimized and highly complex designs can be easily manufactured additively. Undercuts are negligible and help revive products thought dead and extend life cycles.

In our vision, the fully automated production line is the standard we want to achieve: Intensively we have worked together, creatively, courageously, innovatively and sustainably. The ICP project is a milestone for us, for the additive industry and for the automotive industry.

Dr. Ingo Ederer, CEOvoxeljet AG

The example of the ICP project shows that by combining state-of-the-art 3D printers with sophisticated automation technology and suitable post-processing processes, flexible manufacturing cells can be created that can produce hundreds of thousands of complex sand cores per year with a high degree of automation. As the complexity of the components increases, this can also be seen as an economical alternative to standard production processes such as core shooting, or new designs emerge that can only be produced via 3D printing.

Overview of the ICP project

The requirements for the ICP project came from the customer, BMW. It involves the production of a water jacket core which, after casting, reproduces the cooling channels on the cylinder head in the engine block.

The design of the core is so complex that, due to their undercutting, they have the cores manufactured exclusively by additive manufacturing. The complex design can increase the efficiency of the engine by up to 30%, as the cooling can be placed closer to the combustion chamber, thus optimizing heat transfer. The high volumes customary in the automotive sector and the cycle time of the system were the biggest challenges here.

For more than 45 years Loramendi has been developing equipment for the foundry industry and today enjoys a worldwide prestige. We are known as a manufacturer of robust, reliable machines and solutions specifically designed to meet the specific challenges of the foundry industry. We are very excited about this new path, which will completely change the landscape of the foundry industry and set new standards for core making.

Joseba Goitig, General ManagerLoramendi

Loramendi and voxeljet have taken up this challenge and, with ICP (Industrialization of Core Printing), have presented for the first time a flexible production cell based on printed sand that produces several 100,000 cores per year in an automated process. In addition, the ICP project uses exclusively inorganic binders, which has a positive impact on environmental and working conditions.

The complete layout consists of five steps

The sand is mixed with the additives required for the printing process and conveyed to the printers.
An optimized process unit, consisting of a print head with two recoaters, enables - depending on the configuration - a shift time of less than 8 seconds and can coat and print the entire width of the construction field in one pass.
To give the printed cores the stability they need for casting, they must be hardened with the aid of a microwave. The microwave directly extracts the moisture produced in the cores.
The penultimate step. Here, the unbound sand around the printed components is extracted and fed back into the circuit.
Robots pick up the printed cores and place them in a cleaning box. Here, the cores are cleaned with compressed air and material before they are optically measured and fed into the production line.

VX1300 X: The revolution of the casting industry

To meet the requirements of additive series production, we have developed a new 3D printer especially for the ICP project: the VX1300X. Equipped with redundant assemblies, predictive maintenance and a unique process unit, it makes a clear statement to standardize 3D printing in series production.

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