BMW Plant 3D Prints Massive Engine Cylinder Sand Cores Automatically

IMTS

Share this Article

Thanks to a partnership with Loramendi and voxeljet, BMW’s Landshut plant now has the ability to automatically 3D print large-scale sand cores for casting cylinder heads for high-efficiency engines. The new process is both a significant milestone for voxeljet (Nasdaq: VJET) as it expands its work with the world’s largest automakers and for BMW, which is increasingly automating its additive manufacturing (AM) operations.

In May 2022, BMW announced the completion of the Industrialization and Digitalization of Additive Manufacturing (IDAM) project, which enabled the automated printing, finishing, and conveyancing of parts made with metal laser powder bed fusion (LPBF). This latest Industrialization of Core Printing (ICP) project applies a similar approach to sand core 3D printing, used for casting cylinders for the BMW B48 engine.

3D printed sand cores made using voxeljet technology.

AM was the fabrication method of choice for the automaker, due to the ability to optimize cylinder head design, improve engine efficiency, and reduce consumption. However, 3D printing sand cores requires various labor-intensive steps, including raw material preparation and recycling before printing and drying, removal and cleaning of the printed parts after the job is complete. To streamline the process, the partners developed an automated production line, featuring voxeljet’s VX1300-X printer and Loramendi’s Microwave-Curing.

A rendering of BMW’s sand core production line.

Loramendi and voxeljet began developing the ICP setup in 2019, along with ASK Chemicals, which developed a binder that would limit post-processing of sand cores. The line consists of automated jobbox unpacking and curing stations. Afterwards robotic arms automatically finish and remove 3D printed sand cores from the jobboxes for final casting. With the new setup, the BMW Landshut plant is able to produce thousands of 3D printed cores per week.

While this represents another step in automation for BMW’s production of metal parts with 3D printing, it also builds on voxeljet’s continued success in the automotive space. The German company’s U.S. customer, Tooling & Equipment International, is 3D printing sand cores for the series production of large-format, weight-saving structural components for Cadillac’s CELESTIQ vehicle, a limited series luxury car estimated to cost $300,000.

Due to the niche applications of its technology, voxeljet stock seems to have struggled ever since it listed last decade. Now that large scale sand core 3D printing is being adopted by major car manufacturers for series production, it could rebound, but I envision the company being acquired, possibly by Desktop Metal.

Share this Article


Recent News

CADchat Introduces Digital Workspaces, Video Conferencing for CAD

GREENFILL3D 3D Prints Sustainable Interior Solutions for Stretch Ceilings



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

3D Printing News Unpeeled: A $3000 SLS System, Construction Subsidies and Parameters

The Housing Affordability Crisis is one of Canadian President Trudeau’s biggest issues. Now the government has made subsidies available, including scaling new technologies, 3D printed housing and libraries of reapproved...

“Bundled Light” Enables High Quality Plastic 3D Printing from LEAM

Naturally, we expect current 3D printing methods to continuously improve, but it continues to do so in the most surprising ways. The latest development comes from LEAM, a startup spun...

Sponsored

Each to Their Own: Exploring Creality’s Latest Ender Trio as the Company Strengthens Its Commitment to 3D Printing Advocacy

Creality has reaffirmed its commitment to promoting 3D printing. The launch of the Ender-3 V3 SE, Ender-3 V3 KE, and Ender-3 V3 showcases the company’s dedication to catering to diverse...

3D Printing News Briefs, March 23, 2024: AM in the US Coast Guard, Navy, & More

In today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, we’re discussing the use of 3D printing in various branches of the military, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy, and the German...