Transition to a digital production
3D printing is the most advanced technology for the molds production to date. Nowadays, designers are limited only by their own imagination, and companies can freely come up with products that they would like to develop without looking back at the limitations of the past. Existing methods for making molds (SLA and SLS) are expensive, or take a long time (manual processing). This reduces the efficiency of production and R & D. This problem is especially important in the manufacturing of complex molds (curved configuration, internal cavities, a large number of unique cross-sections in various planes), and when developing new designs, when a large number of iterations associated with casting are required (pilot production, design offices). The method of direct printing of molds allows to dramatically shorten the time to market new products, reduce production costs, especially in small-scale production, removes the technological limitations of the classical approach, which is known be its complexity of the internal configuration for the production of rigging. The creation of molds using a 3D printing system allows to reduce the technological chain by refusing the following operations: making a master model from metal or composite materials, making a gating system, molding the mold parts (installing the master model and gating system into the flask and filling with a mixture). This leads to a reduction in production time and a decrease in the cost of the mold in times. For an example, let us compare the cost of casting molds for a part with a volume of 33 cm3 made using the nechnology of investment casting (IC), lost-foam casting (LFC) and on a 3D printing system: IC - 11265₽/ piece, LFC - 6270₽/piece, 3D printing system - 675₽/piece. As you can see from the above example, the cost of manufacturing a form on a 3D printing system is many times less than for any other technology. Such an economic effect is achieved due to the fact that the 3D printer creates a mold directly from the digital model. The digital model of the mold is divided into layers, transferred to a 3D printer, in which the hardener, according to the digital model of the mold, is drifted on a pre-prepared layer of a sand mixture. As a result of the work, a hardened part of the sand mixture is created in the building zone, exactly repeating the digital model. An unhardened sand mixture is easily removed and re-used.
The application of a printing system with a large job box to create several molds of the same type allows the technology to be used for producing scal and large-scale parts. The use of this technology implements the transition to digital production.
Printing of the mold allows to exclude several steps from the manufacturing process, what leads to a sharp (in dozens of times) reduction of the time and cost of manufacturing it.
For example, let us consider the manufacturing of the rod for the formation of internal cooling channels of the engine in various ways:
Product: Casting core for forming internal cooling channels of the engine.
The volume of the rod is 300 cm3.
Material - removable from the casting (sand, gypsum).
The size of the rod: 300mm * 216mm * 85mm.
As it can be seen from the table, the transition to direct printing of sand-casting forms leads to a sharp reduction in terms and a cost reduction in 400 times, what confirms the expedience of developing such technology.