The Schmolz + Bickenbach Guss Gruppe, a producer of specialty steel castings at three foundries in Germany, has acquired a large-format, 3D printer to produce sand molds for its products. The group ordered a VX1000 system from voxeljet technology GmbH, a “high-performance” system that offers a build space of 1,060 x 600 x 500 mm, with a print head able to achieve resolutions up to 600 dpi, for reproducing complex geometries and undercuts in mold design.

The value of the investment and the schedule for installing the new system were not reported.

Schmolz + Bickenbach Guss supplies castings for energy markets, steelmaking equipment, rolling mills and tube mills, mechanical and plant engineering, automotive tooling, pumps and accessories, as well as art casting. It pours high-temperature and low-temperature steels, corrosion- and acid-resistant steels, duplex and super duplex steels, nickel-based and Ni-Cu alloys, and tool steels.

The group’s larger castings (up to 5,000 x 5,000 x 6,000 mm) are produced at its foundry in Krefeld, Germany. Machine molded castings up to 800 x 650 x 500 mm are produced at its Kohlscheid foundry.

The foundry had used sand molds printed at the voxeljet service center before deciding to invest in its own system. The supplier explained that “increasing order volumes” made the purchase a sensible investment.

"With the new VX1000, we will now be able to print components ranging from 1,060 x 600 x 500 mm and a maximum unit weight of 70 kg right here at our precision foundry,” according to CEO Andreas Höller.

“By choosing a large-format printer, we will be able to print a large number of individual components in one job, and we will also use the machine for the series production of components with complex geometries. This process is particularly cost-effective because there are no tool costs," he added.

Voxeljet noted that the large build space of the VX1000 will establish new opportunities for Schmolz + Bickenbach Guss to produce large-dimensional models,