BCI and Eaton Invest in Sand 3D Printing to Enhance New Product Development for Hydraulics

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Bremen Castings, Inc. (BCI) was founded 78 years ago in Bremen, Indiana and acts as both a green sand foundry and a CNC machining shop. It’s known for its gray and ductile machined castings. The company’s ferrous and non-ferrous CNC machine shop is equipped with more than a dozen horizontal, vertical and other CNC machines for making assembled, precision machined complete castings, and it will soon be equipped with a different kind of machine – an ExOne 3D printer. This will allow BCI to 3D print sand molds and cores used in the iron casting process.

In addition to acquiring the ExOne 3D printer, BCI is also partnering with Eaton, a power management company that provides energy-efficient solutions to help customers manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power more efficiently, sustainably and safely. Eaton is a massive company with approximately 96,000 employees, selling to customers in more than 175 countries. Through the agreement with BCI, Eaton will also be able to 3D print sand molds and cores using the 3D printer in BCI’s machine shop. The technology will help accelerate new product development for hydraulics customers.

“Utilizing 3D printing in this way lays the groundwork for both companies to save time in material, tooling, engineering, inventory, transportation, and startup cost for new projects,” said JB Brown, President of BCI. “The addition of this 3D printer allows BCI to produce cores and molds for low volume work and prototypes without producing expensive and time consuming tooling for customers.”

[Image: BCI]

ExOne offers multiple 3D printers, including several metal machines, but it stands out for its sand 3D printers, the S series, which consists of the S-Print, the S-Max and the S-Max+. The S-Max 3D printing system is designed for sand casting foundries such as BCI, and allow for the creation of complex sand molds and cores directly from CAD data without the need for a physical pattern. This 3D printer features a large build volume – 1800 x 1000 x 799 mm – and is capable of 3D printing even highly complex cores, lending themselves well to a wide variety of applications.

BCI and Eaton will be able to utilize the new ExOne 3D printer installed in the machine shop to save money and time. 3D printing cores and molds eliminates the need for tooling, which costs money and can take a lot of time to have manufactured. An investment like this one is a wise one for both companies, and is another example of how 3D printing can be used alongside more traditional technologies like CNC machining without eliminating them. While BCI may remain a foundry and CNC machining company at heart, having access to 3D printing technology can help it to bring finished products to its customers faster and for less cost than ever before.

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