voxeljet (18)

A joint project between the Precision Casting Centre foundry and voxeljet has received the coveted "Component of the Year" flagship award from the British Cast Metals Federation (CFM). The project involved an optimized aluminum Wheel Upright that is five times stiffer than before, while maintaining the same weight. Prior to carrying out the 3D print run, voxeljet and its partners optimized the topology and ran both a life cycle analysis and a casting simulation.

The project began with the need to significantly increase the rigidity of the Wheel Upright without changing the weight or materials used. With the help of cutting-edge simulation tools and using the full range of structural design freedom offered by 3D printing technology, the partners produced a Wheel Upright that is up to five times more rigid than its predecessor. Kevin Smith, Sales Director with voxeljet UK, describes the benefits as follows: "The design freedom of additive manufacturing processes, combined with simulation, allows us to come up with a new generation of designs that overcome the earlier conventional design limitations." It was voxeljet's 3D printing process that made it possible to implement cast part geometries with this level of complexity. "Because of this, the CMF jurors had a hard time at first believing that this complex Wheel Upright was an aluminum investment-cast part," Smith adds. This project is an impressive demonstration of the potential that exists with regard to boosting performance and/or reducing weight.

Another reason why the project received the award was that the component had been produced particularly economically by combining voxeljet's 3D printing process with traditional investment casting. In the jury's view, the project proved that this manufacturing process can revolutionize the production of complex cast parts with entirely new designs and offers many benefits for manufacturers and customers alike.

The Wheel Upright described above was optimized as a joint project between Altair, Click2Cast, HBM nCode and voxeljet. The engineers could take full advantage of component design freedom, thanks to the 3D printing technology and the simulation-driven design. Various software programs were used for the simulations. Inspire, which is based on Altair's OptiStruct optimization solver, was used for optimizing the topology. The component fatigue was simulated with nCode Designlife, and the Click2Cast software was used to simulate the casting process.

Coinciding with voxeljet's success at the CMF Awards, the company has launched an on-demand service center for industrial 3D printing applications in the UK. The substantial capacities of three high-speed, large-format printing systems, each of which has a build volume of 1,000 x 600 x 500 mm, make it possible to produce precise investment casting molds and models in just a few days. James Reeves, Managing Director of voxeljet UK, comments: "Our 3D printing systems are the biggest and fastest available today for investment casting. They enable us to respond quickly, implement short processing times and still remain cost-efficient."

Photo 1 ("CMF Award"): Adam Robertson (left) of the Precision Casting Centre and Kevin Smith, Sales Director of voxeljet UK, with the "Component of the Year“ award presented by the Cast Metals Federation.
Photo 2 ("Optimization"): Comparison between the original Wheel Upright (left) and the optimized one (right).

For more information, visit: www.voxeljet.com

Thursday, 17 December 2015 11:03

Voxeljet Expands to India

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The German manufacturer of industrial 3D printing systems established voxeljet India Pvt. Ltd. in December 2015. The new voxeljet subsidiary is located in Pune, a large automotive and manufacturing center near Mumbai. India’s foundry industry still features a fairly traditional structure. The global popularity and acceptance of the 3D printing technology has led to growing interest in 3D printers and on-demand parts services on the part of the Indian industry.

voxeljet wants to build up a strong market position in India already at this early stage. Ms. Nidhi Shah, the new Managing Director of voxeljet India, has more than ten years of experience in 3D printing methods and additive manufacturing technology. She plays an important role in establishing the voxeljet brand in India and promoting the development of an operational presence in the market.

Similar to the already established voxeljet subsidiaries, the company also plans to establish a service center for the on-demand manufacture of 3D-printed molds within the next 18 months. The first phase will focus on the development of the sales and service structure. voxeljet COO Rudolf Franz notes as follows with regard to the global business developments: “After the UK, the US and China, the subsidiary in India represents the next big step in voxeljet's global growth strategy.”

For more information, visit: www.voxeljet.com

Friday, 20 November 2015 12:45

voxeljet Delivers 100th 3D Printer

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Industrial 3D printer manufacturer voxeljet from Friedberg, Germany is celebrating a special kind of anniversary. The high-tech company, which has established a name for itself as a manufacturer of industrial 3D printing systems and as a service provider for the on-demand production of sand molds and plastic models, is pleased to announce that it is delivering its 100th 3D printer in November 2015.

The machine in question is a VX1000—a multi-purpose 3D printer that combines high performance with a large build space (1000 x 600 x 500 mm). The printing system can be operated with plastic and sand particle materials and is ideally suited for the precise manufacture of prototypes, small component series and models. In combination with the phenolic direct binding process, the 3D printer offers significant advantages over current sand printing processes, such as the ability to recycle non-printed particle material.

The manufacturer has recently registered steadily growing demand for 3D printing systems. Hubert Stärker, Director Sales and Marketing at voxeljet, knows the reasons for this development: "Many customers who have their molds printed at our service center eventually want their own 3D printer, whether for reasons of flexibility or economy. Another reason for the positive development lies in the many advantages offered by the 3D printing technology, which are gradually making their way into more industries and induce companies to purchase their own machines."

The reason that more and more people who are interested in a 3D printer choose voxeljet is the machines' superior performance. They feature high-performance print heads that ensure excellent resolution along with above-average print speeds, allowing for the rapid and cost-efficient printing of build volumes of up to 8 m³.

In addition, the 3D printers are "made in Germany" at voxeljet's headquarters in Friedberg (near Augsburg, Germany). They are made entirely of high-quality components that ensure ongoing operations for many years to come. Tobias Reinold, Director Systems at voxeljet, is also optimistic about the future: "Demand for industrial 3D printers is very strong. We are well prepared for this demand and look forward to machine number 200."

For more information, visit: www.voxeljet.de/en

In January 2015, voxeljet commenced operations and began printing parts for customers at its North American Services facility located in Canton, Michigan (near Detroit). The approximately 50,000 square foot facility will initially operate four large-format printers to support both the sand casting and investment casting markets. The Company expects to install additional sand and plastic printers, including the VX4000 during the course of the year. Voxeljet anticipates its Canton, Michigan facility having similar printing capacity to its Friedberg, Germany service center by the end of 2016.

We hosted our first customer seminar on January 20th which included presentations from David Tait, Managing Director of Voxeljet of America Inc., Ingo Ederer CEO of voxeljet AG, and Tom Mueller, Director of Casting Applications, North America.

“Our inaugural customer seminar was very successful”, said David Tait, Managing Director of Voxeljet of America Inc. “We were able to share various historical applications with customers of the aerospace, automotive and heavy equipment sectors. Many of these 3D printing technology users were excited about the facility’s capabilities as well as the very robust machine engineering quality. We look forward to our growing presence in the market.”

voxeljet is a provider of high-speed, large-format 3D printers and on-demand parts services to industrial and commercial customers. The Company’s 3D printers employ a powder binding, additive manufacturing technology to produce parts using various material sets, which consist of particulate materials and proprietary chemical binding agents. The Company provides its 3D printers and on-demand parts services to industrial and commercial customers serving the automotive, aerospace, film and entertainment, art and architecture, engineering and consumer product end markets.

Voxeljet of America Inc.
41430 Haggerty Circle
Canton, Michigan 48188
Tel +1 734-808-0025

For more information, visit: www.voxeljet.de

voxeljet AG (the “Company” or “voxeljet”), announced that it has completed the acquisition of all outstanding shares of Propshop (Model Makers) Limited (“Propshop”). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Propshop will become voxeljet UK, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, and will continue to support the film and entertainment industry, as well as the broad, growing consumer market for on-demand 3D printing services. Propshop’s operating results will be included in voxeljet’s services segment going forward. James Enright, founder and CEO of Propshop, joins the Company as Managing Director of voxeljet UK and Vice President for Consumer Markets and will report directly to voxeljet’s Management Board.

Dr. Ingo Ederer, Chief Executive Officer of voxeljet, commented, “We have a longstanding relationship with Propshop and are impressed with the business James and his team have developed over the years. Propshop’s innovation, creativity, and advanced experience with our 3D printing technology has made it a leading provider of sophisticated and complex content to the entertainment industry. These attributes and award-winning capabilities have presented Propshop with several new and very exciting consumer-related opportunities in the on-demand parts services market uniquely suited for large scale 3D printing production. Combining the expertise of both companies in this regard is an attractive arrangement. We are very happy to welcome Propshop into the voxeljet family.”

James Enright added, “I am excited to be working with voxeljet and about the opportunities presented by industrial 3D printing techniques and capabilities in developing consumer products. Propshop has a vast archive of digital content, which can now be transformed into collectables and art objects, effectively supplying the expanding market for this type of product.”

Founded in 2002, Propshop is a physical and digital asset production company primarily focused on building props for the entertainment industry. Propshop is based at Pinewood Studios in London, England. In addition to manufacturing physical props, Propshop provides specialized 3D modelling and scanning facilities. Propshop’s clients include Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures, Disney and BBC Films. Propshop contributed to such films as Zero Dark Thirty (2013), Skyfall (2013), and, The Dark Knight Rises (2013).

For more information, visit: www.propshop.co.uk

Tuesday, 03 December 2013 12:25

voxeljet Announces VX2000 Industrial 3D Printer

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voxeljet AG (NYSE: VJET) announced the launch of the latest in its full line of large format industrial 3D printers, the VX2000. The new printer is being demonstrated for the first time at Euromold, the leading worldwide trade fair for Moldmaking and Tooling, Design and Application Development, taking place in Frankfurt, Germany, December 03-06, 2013.

The VX2000 is equipped with a build space of two cubic meters, making it one of the largest commercially available 3D printing platforms in the market, and the largest ever to be introduced at Euromold. The large build format of the VX2000 is suited to a variety of applications in the automotive or aviation industry, at foundries, pump manufacturers or the equipment building industry.

"The VX2000 closes the big gap between the VX1000 with a design space of 0.3 cubic meters and the VX4000 with a design space of eight cubic meters. We now offer a balanced product range that enables us to provide our customers with an industrial 3D printer for any conceivable application area," said Dr. Ingo Ederer, voxeljet’s Chief Executive Officer.

The new industrial printer is designed for use with all particle materials currently available at voxeljet, and combines superior performance with a very large build space, providing users with maximum flexibility. voxeljet’s customers are now able to use the build space measuring 2060 x 1060 x 1000 mm for the economic manufacture of large individual molds or small series manufacture, depending on their requirements.

voxeljet technology offers significant advantages in the manufacture of complex cores and parts that, due to their complicated geometry, are difficult to produce using traditional core manufacturing methods. For example, the VX2000 can print an impressive number of 216 water jacket cores measuring 490 x 210 x 80 mm in a job box in approximately two days of standard operations. An additional example would be the manufacture of complex mechanical parts for the pump industry. The VX2000 build space can easily encompass the large-format molds for four Francis impellers with the dimensions 980 x 980 x 490 mm.

The VX2000 achieves its high level of performance through the jetting of material through a high performance ink-jet head containing up to 13,280 nozzles, at resolutions of up to 600 dpi depending upon the application. The layer thickness during one print run ranges from 100 to 400 micrometers, with a print width of 564 millimeters. The printed build volume is 45 liters per hour. This means that the VX2000 is twice as fast as the well-known VX1000 high-performance printer, and offers an impressive degree of accuracy.

The VX2000 system dimensions are 4.9 meters long and 2.6 meters wide and it comes with an integrated material supply system. Similar to all other voxeljet machines, the VX2000 is designed for rugged industrial use in which high quality performance is required around the clock. The platform is destined to become the product of choice for environments where efficient and sustainable operations are just as important as above-average reliability and the lifetime of the machine.

For more information, visit: www.voxeljet.de/en/systems/3d-druckervx2000

Wednesday, 20 March 2013 09:01

Voxeljet VX4000 Builds 3D Printed Living Space

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Designer François Brument takes a close look at the possibilities of digital design when it comes to the creation of living spaces. He breaks with traditional approaches to architecture, interior design and furnishings and created separate self-enclosed areas using additive manufacturing. Brument melds these areas into a one unit system including rooms, walls and furniture items.

His carte blanche project titled 'Habitat imprimé' (printed living space), is the result of a collaborative effort with Sonia Laugier. The exhibit on display is a real model of a bedroom with integrated shower and walk-in closet, which visualises the possibilities of additive technologies. The room can be divided as required, shelves can be integrated into walls, surfaces can be structured in any manner desired – the restrictions that formerly set limits to the creativity of builders, architects and designers have been removed.

Looking for a way to turn his vision into reality, Brument contacted voxeljet in May 2011. He was very excited about the technical possibilities offered by 3D printing and after extensive discussions with voxeljet's experts, it was clear that the Augsburg-based company could provide the perfect solution for his project. The visionary was particularly impressed with the large-format VX4000 printer at the voxeljet service centre, which can print very large moulds with a maximum volume of eight cubic metres.

Once the CAD data was forwarded to the service centre, it was time to "print" this unique project. The VX4000 built the entire living space, including furniture, shelving, wash basin and all technical installations, in a total of 64 moulds, which only had to be assembled into a unit.

"As a manufacturer of 3D printers with an attached service centre, our ideas are anything but conventional. Still, we were both surprised and inspired by François Brument's creative approach. The 'Habitat imprimé' project is a milestone for the 3D print technology and drives forward our activities for the development of printing systems for concrete," says voxeljet-CEO Dr. Ingo Ederer.

For more information, visit: www.voxeljet.com

Tuesday, 06 November 2012 12:35

voxeljet Builds Aston Martin Models For Skyfall

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Innovative 3D printing technology from Augsburg-based voxeljet is on display in the newest James Bond film Skyfall – more specifically in the scene when James Bond's car explodes in flames. A total of three Aston Martin DB 5 models were created at the company's service centre. The models double for the now priceless original vehicle from the 1960s in the film's action scenes.

Action scenes in expensive film productions such as a James Bond film must look as realistic as possible. For the model builders working behind the scenes, the high demands of film makers translate into more requirements and detail work. Therefore companies such as Propshop Modelmakers Ltd., which specialises in the production of film props, are always on the look-out for trend-setting manufacturing methods.
The fact that the British company selected the 3D printing technology of a German provider is a special honour for the Augsburg company. "Of course only state-of-the-art technology was used for the new James Bond film Skyfall. To be considered a benchmark by the model builders from the Pinewood Studios is evidence of the performance and position of our 3D printing system in terms of global ranking," says voxeljet CEO Dr. Ingo Ederer.

voxeljet is considered a pioneer in the area of 3D printing. At its service centre, which is the largest in Europe, the Augsburg-based company has specialised in the on-demand production of sand moulds for metal casting, as well as plastic moulds and 3D functional moulds. Small-batch and prototype manufacturers in a variety of branches of European industry appreciate the fast and cost-effective manufacture of their casting moulds and 3D models based on CAD data. At the same time, the internationally active company has also made a name for itself as a manufacturer of high-resolution 3D printing systems. voxeljet moulds are very precise and rich in detail – properties that also impressed the British model builders.

Aston Martin from a 3D printer

"Propshop commissioned us to build three plastic models of the Aston Martin DB5. We could have easily printed the legendary sports car in one piece at a scale of 1:3 using our high-end VX4000 printer, which can build moulds and models in dimensions of up to eight cubic metres. But the British model builders were pursuing a different approach. To ensure that the Aston Martin was as true to detail as possible, and for the purpose of integrating numerous functions into the film models, they decided on an assembly consisting of a total of 18 individual components. The entire body is based on a steel frame, almost identical to how vehicles were assembled in the past," says Ederer.

voxeljet started the printing process once the CAD data for all components were available. The models are produced with the layer-wise application of particle material that is glued together with a binding agent. The plastic material PMMA is used for this purpose; it is ideally suited for precisely these types of tasks. The individual components that are made of PMMA feature outstanding attention to detail, but are also very stable and resilient, which means that they are well suited for mechanical post-processing.

Following the unpacking process, which involves the removal of unbound material from the finished components, voxeljet's service centre looked very much like a body shop. A total of 54 individual parts for the three vehicle models, including mudguards, doors, bonnets, roofs and more, now had to be safely packaged and transported to Pinewood Studios near London.

Elaborate detailed work

The model builders at Propshop then meticulously assembled and finished the components, painted them in the original colour and added chrome applications along with realistic-looking bullet holes. The special effects that can be seen in Skyfall confirm the perfection in execution of this work. After the finishing process, it is impossible to distinguish the Aston Martin models made with the voxeljet printer from the original, even in the close-up shots. And: The priceless Aston Martin DB5, which was already used in the first James Bond film exactly 50 years ago, remains unscathed, while one of the elaborately and meticulously constructed models explodes in flames in the film. An expensive crash, since one of the three models was auctioned off by Christie's for almost USD 100,000.

For voxeljet, participating in a James Bond production was of course anything but a normal contract, and it also opened up an entirely new industry for the company: "In addition to the automotive industry, foundries, designers and artists, the film industry represents an entirely new customer base for voxeljet. 3D printing is on the cusp of a great future in the film industry. The technology offers fantastic opportunities, since it is usually much faster, more precise and more economical than classic model construction," says Ederer.

voxeljet specialises in 3D print technology. This globally operating high-tech company is a well-respected manufacturer of 3D print systems that are suitable for industrial applications. At the same time, the company operates one of Europe's largest service centres for the "on-demand production" of moulds and models for metal casting.

For more information, visit: www.voxeljet.com

voxeljet presents the world's first continuous 3D printer VXC800. This series machine is based on the innovative VXConcept study, which garnered considerable attention at GIFA 2011. The VXC800 will celebrate its premiere at EuroMold 2012.

"Our presentation of the concept study was so well received that we decided on a rapid implementation of the project. The VXC800 establishes a completely new generation of machines that allows the building and unpacking process steps to run at the same time, without having to interrupt the operations of the system," says Dr. Ingo Ederer, CEO of voxeljet technology.

This leap in technology has become possible thanks to a novel patented design with a horizontal belt conveyor that controls the layer building. The layers are built at the entrance of the belt conveyor, while the unpacking takes place at the exit. The finished component can simply be removed from the rear end of the system when it has gone through the entire material.

The length of the moulds is virtually unlimited with this type of system, as there are no restrictions with respect to the length of the belt conveyor. The width and height of the build space are 850 x 500 mm. The VXC800 works with a 600 dpi high-definition print head and layer thicknesses ranging from 150 µm to 400 µm.

Apart from the technological highlights, users will be pleased with the investment and operating costs, which are lower than those of conventional systems. "The development of the world's first 3D continuous printer is a milestone not just for voxeljet but the entire industry. Orders for the machine can be placed as of the start of the EuroMold. The first deliveries are planned for the second quarter of 2013," says Dr. Ederer.

For more information, visit: www.voxeljet.de

Tuesday, 28 August 2012 11:28

Express Prototyping Purchases voxeljet VX500

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It's all in the name for Express Prototyping LLC in Keego Harbor near Detroit. The company aims to deliver plastic models for investment casting within two working days, and has therefore invested in a voxeljet 3D printing system.

It is anything but a coincidence that Express Prototyping in the US relies on a voxeljet VX500 3D printer for the on-demand production of PMMA models. Thomas Müller, CEO of the newly formed company, is a proven RP expert with a lot of experience in 3D printing, who made a conscious decision in favour of the VX500. "This machine is ideal for our application purposes. It is very precise, fast, reliable and efficient. I think that voxeljet's technology will have a stellar future here in the US, and I am pleased to be participating in this development," says Thomas Müller.

Production with the new machine started not long after the VX500 unit was delivered in July. In this context, the services offered by Express Prototyping go beyond the mere 3D printing of investment casting models. Complete investment cast parts can also be delivered at the customer's request.

For more information, visit: www.express-prototyping.com

Wednesday, 15 August 2012 11:05

Ford Motor Purchases voxeljet VX800 3D Printer

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Ford Motor has recently commissioned a new voxeljet VX800 3D printing system that uses the new Polypor C material system at its AM Center in Dunton near London. The system was selected following an intensive testing and evaluation phase.

A good decision, according to Trevor Bentley, Application Engineer at Ford Motor: "We are very excited about the technical properties of the new binder. Polypor Type C is by far the best material we have ever used with a voxeljet system. The parts we have printed are very impressive, and our foundry men are very happy with the burn-off properties of the new material. The cast parts are of the highest quality with a very professional appearance. All of us are really happy with the new material."

Trevor Bentley believes that Polypor C's long shelf life and uncomplicated storage offer additional advantages. The binder does not have to be stored in the fridge at low temperatures. And: Polypor Type C is free of aromatic compounds and environmentally compatible; in addition, it does not pose any health risks and gives off a pleasant smell.

And by the way: users wishing to print design, architectural or other presentation models will also be excited about Polypor Type C. The new material differs from Polypor Type A and Type B in that the finished plastic models feature a very white colour and are thus able to meet demanding requirements with respect to the model's look and feel.

voxeljet specialises in 3D print technology. This globally operating high-tech company is a well-respected manufacturer of 3D print systems that are suitable for industrial applications. At the same time, the company operates one of Europe's largest service centres for the "on-demand production" of moulds and models for metal casting.

For more information, visit: www.voxeljet.com

Thursday, 02 August 2012 11:06

WMF Giant Spoon – A Case for 3D Printing

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It is 2.30 metres high, 50 centimetres wide, weighs almost 20 kilograms and is the largest spoon that WMF has ever produced. Both its purpose and its manufacture, in which 3D printing plays a central role, are anything but normal.

Of course the giant specimen is not meant for conventional use but rather has been designed to highlight an optical phenomenon that anyone who has experienced the reflections and optical distortions of looking into a polished bowl of a spoon (the concave front of a spoon) would be familiar with. People interested in an explanation for this special optical feature will want to check out the "Viseum", the museum for optics and precision mechanics in Wetzlar. This is where the EUR 10,000 WMF exhibit can be found, and it demonstrates the origin behind these reflections in XL format, so to speak.

Just as impressive as the spoon itself is the process of how it was made, most of which took place at the WMF model building studio in Geislingen. "While the manufacture of single oversize cutlery pieces is not unusual, we have never made anything of this size to date. However, not least due to 3D print technology, this project was completed quickly and without any problems", says Gerd Greiner, manager of the model building studio.

The well-known "Palma" WMF cutlery served as a template for the giant spoon. As part of a first step, the CAD data of the original Palma spoon was adjusted to the required size on the computer. This data was then transferred to the voxeljet service centre, where a high-performance printer using the 3D printing method produced a plastic model of the bowl of the spoon, which was used as the original model. This process did away with the elaborate construction of a negative mould, resulting in significant cost and time savings. The printed PMMA model, which impressed with a high degree of mechanical stability and attention to detail, was used to quickly generate a sand mould that was cast in bronze. Subsequently the bowl was finished and coated with nickel, and finally attached to the spoon handle, which was made of brass and also coated with nickel. "The WMF spoon is another successful example of the ever increasing popularity of 3D printing beyond conventional application areas. We are really impressed with the creativity shown by users in applying 3D technology, which is still a fairly young method", says Rudolf Franz, COO of voxeljet technology GmbH.

For more information, visit: www.voxeljet.de

What began in the automotive industry is now continuing in many other industrial sectors – the triumphant success of 3D print technology. More and more users value the time and cost advantages offered by this process for the tool-less production of sand moulds for metal casting and they benefit from the newest developments of this fairly new technology.

Cast parts in small batch sizes are very popular. While it used to be mainly automotive manufacturers and suppliers that required very small quantities of metal cast assemblies and components for testing and prototype manufacture and discovered 3D printing as a superior technology for producing the required sand cores and moulds, this method has since established itself in numerous other industrial segments. Today, 3D printing is used in conventional applications and all other situations that require the rapid and efficient production of sand moulds – whether for architecture, restorations, aviation and aerospace or the production of designer furniture.

The technology's breakthrough has not gone unnoticed at the service centre of voxeljet technology GmbH. This is where state-of-the-art 3D printing systems create high-quality sand moulds and cores for metal casting exactly in accordance with customer specifications. "Never before have we printed such a broad spectrum of moulds and assisted so many customers from different industries," says Dr. Ingo Ederer, CEO of voxeljet technology GmbH.

This positive development can be attributed to two factors: Knowledge of the key process-inherent benefits of 3D print technology, which is quickly expanding across industry sectors, and also the quantum leaps in the performance of 3D printing systems, which increase the number of application options.

Benefits of 3D print technology

In contrast to the conventional manufacture of moulds, in which the production of model plates or core boxes alone can take several weeks, 3D printing makes it possible to "print" smaller sand moulds in as little as a few hours. The moulds are created without cumbersome and expensive mould set-ups, and are produced in a fully automated process purely based on CAD data using the layer building method, which consists of the repeated application of 300 micrometre thick quartz sand layers that are selectively glued together with a binder using the print head of the system. After the printing process is complete, the mould only has to be unpacked and cleaned of excess sand – that’s all.

3D print technology not only significantly reduces the production time for prototypes and small series, but also places far fewer restrictions on the designer's freedom of scope than conventional production methods. Designs can be made true to their structure without having to watch for draft angles or undercuts. Even moulds that have been modified during the testing phase can be printed immediately in accordance with the new CAD data, without requiring time-consuming tool modifications.

In addition to time aspects, there are also cost saving considerations that favour the use of layer building technologies. When examined with respect to total costs, up to a certain batch size 3D printing is significantly cheaper than conventional methods due to the lack of tool costs. "The smaller the batch size, the greater the cost advantage offered by our voxeljet technology. And depending on the complexity and size of the moulds, 3D printing can still be the preferred choice for batch sizes of several hundred parts," says Dr. Ingo Ederer.

Advances in printing system performance

Another key factor behind the acceptance of 3D print technology across all industries, which has grown by leaps and bounds, are the enormous advances in the performance of the printing systems, as evidenced by a quick look at the voxeljet service centre. The centre only uses 3D printers that are made by the company, as voxeljet not only operates one of Europe's largest service centres for the on-demand production of moulds, but has also made a name for itself around the world as a manufacturer of innovative 3D printing systems.

"The past few years have seen veritable quantum leaps with respect to printing quality as well as printing speed. The high-performance print heads of the new machines achieve excellent resolutions and printing speeds that are five times higher than even just a few years ago. In addition, with our VX4000 we are now able to generate moulds of the size of a sports car – something that would have been unthinkable not long ago," says Dr. Ederer.

In fact, the VX4000 machine can produce sand moulds with a volume of eight cubic metres with the dimensions 4 x 2 x 1 metres, which has allowed voxeljet to open up an unimagined number of opportunities for users. The huge build space provides sufficient room for the rapid production of extremely large individual moulds, but can also be used for the efficient production of small series.

The machine operates at more than three times the build speed of voxeljet's standard printers, but with the same resolution and precision. This performance is made possible with the use of a particularly wide print head, resulting in time and cost savings for users. The system design consisting of building platforms that are alternately inserted into the process station allows for continuous building in three-shift operations.

Designer furniture from 3D printers

An example of the opportunities and design scope offered by today's 3D print technology is the production of designer furniture in limited quantities. This trend-setting method can be used to produce spectacular designs at competitive production costs, as evidenced by the Batoidea chair design.

Batoidea, or stingray, is the name for a designer chair created by Belgian star designer Peter Donders (www.morphs.be). The design really does conjure up the image of an elegantly gliding stingray, visualising lightness and airiness, and impressing with its elegance. The production of this chair, which breaks with convention and is made of aluminium casting, would have been virtually impossible in terms of financial aspects without the use of 3D print technology.

Peter Donders was able to turn his unconventional ideas into reality on the computer, using the well-known Rhino3D modelling program. The great advantage of this progressive work method: The CAD data set required for 3D printing was automatically available on the computer following completion of the work.

The production of the generously sized chair with its complex stingray design required a total of five sand moulds, which were produced at voxeljet's service centre in Augsburg. The largest individual mould measured 1.105 x 713 x 382 millimetres – a size easily handled by voxeljet's high-performance printers. The chair production process placed great demands on 3D printing and the cast, as the design consists of a very thin-walled aluminium cast structure, which undergoes further processing until the application of the finishing varnish.

"For us, as the pioneers of the 3D print technology, it is nice to see how this trend-setting method is establishing itself in more and more industries. And it appears that the sky is the limit with respect to potential application areas. Sometimes even we are surprised by the creativity of our customers. From exclusive birthday gifts and reconstructed temple models to complete vehicle models and components for racing, designer furniture and architectural models – we are discovering new application areas for 3D printing every day," concludes Dr. Ingo Ederer.

For more information, visit: www.voxeljet.com

When it comes to the manufacture of designer furniture in small batches, more and more providers are relying on 3D print technology, which can be used to produce spectacular designs at economic production costs, as evidenced by the Batoidea chair.

Batoidea, or stingray, is the name of a designer chair created by Belgian star designer Peter Donders. One look at this refined piece of furniture reveals the idea behind the name, as the design really does conjure up the image of an elegantly gliding stingray, visualising lightness and airiness, and impressing with its elegance. The production of this chair, which breaks with convention and is made of aluminium casting, would have been virtually impossible in terms of economic aspects without the use of 3D print technology.

Peter Donders was able to implement his unconventional ideas inspired by nature on a technical level using a computer and the well-known Rhino3D modelling program. The great advantage of this progressive work method: The CAD data set required for 3D printing was automatically available upon completion of the work on the computer.

The production of the generously sized chair with its complex stingray design required a total of five sand mould parts, which were manufactured at voxeljet's service centre in Augsburg. The largest mould part measured 1,105 x 713 x 382 millimetres – a size easily handled by voxeljet's high-performance printers. The largest voxeljet 3D print systems can accommodate shapes with a maximum volume of eight cubic metres.

The chair production process places great demands on 3D printing and the cast, as the design consists of a very thin-walled aluminium cast structure. The casting process is followed by grinding and polishing work, before a high-quality varnish is applied to the Batoidea chair.

For more information, visit: www.morphs.be or www.voxeljet.com

Thursday, 29 March 2012 09:50

voxeljet: 3D Printing For Architectural Models

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A builder's capacity for three-dimensional imagination is quickly overwhelmed when it comes to the assessment of drafts for larger structures. Therefore the ability of architects to present the quality of their work in the most realistic and detailed light as possible is becoming ever more important. Architectural models from 3D printers are the top choice in this regard, as shown by a project for a social centre in Ghana.

Munich architect Wieland Schmidt is already a well-known figure at voxeljet's service centre in Augsburg, as he was one of the first to identify the opportunities offered by 3D print technology for the production of small-batch models or products. "It is fascinating to see how concrete models or products can be created from CAD data in such a rapid and uncomplicated manner. The options provided by 3D printing have also proven themselves with regard to the planning of a trend-setting social centre in Ghana", says Schmidt.

This story starts with a storm in Ghana, more specifically in Sunyani. That is where the Catholic diocese operates an educational institution that comprises more than 200 kindergartens and almost 400 schools ranging from elementary school to university. The church also runs a large number of other social projects designed to help the poor. The diocese also operated a large community hall. However, the hall was damaged by a heavy tropical storm, which tore off the entire roof, hurled it through the air and destroyed it. It was a miracle that no one was hurt, but the hall could not be saved and had to be demolished.

The decision was made to build a new social centre to continue the diocese's successful work. The new complex is designed for a multi-use environment and supposed to act as a meeting place in addition to functioning as the administration for the diocese.

This trend-setting project was planned and designed by Wieland Schmidt: "We want to achieve a lot with the new building complex. We want to build it in an environmentally-friendly manner, using materials from the surrounding area, while at the same time it is designed to be as self-sufficient as possible on an energetic level. Given the tropical heat, it is important to ensure that the building does not heat up, while the energy needs of the building will be covered by solar elements."

Impressive 3D model from Augsburg

Of course everyone in Ghana was curious as to what the new building complex would look like in detail. Therefore Wieland Schmidt decided to digitalise the building data and print out the entire social centre. The voxeljet service centre used the proven method of printing on a high-performance VX800 printer. This equipment is predestined for generating models that require absolute attention to detail and a precise representation. The VX800 generated the Christ the King Social Center in plastic directly from CAD data on the basis of the so-called layer building method (dimensions 840 x 840 x 225 millimetres). Using thousands of micro-metre fine layers, the VX800 built the entire building in approximately one day.

Following the unpacking period – a process during which excess material is removed from the model – the Christ the King Social Center became reality, at least in terms of a model. "The architectural model of the social centre was printed with a richness of detail and precision that is the hallmark of voxeljet quality. Also, the excellent mechanical stability of the 3D prints ensured that the model withstood the long journey from Augsburg to Ghana without any damages," says Wieland Schmidt.

Once the model arrived in Sunyani, Bishop Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi and his staff took a closer look at the model from Augsburg: "The compelling 3D model allowed us to gain a realistic picture of the building – we are very excited. The concept put forward by architect Schmidt is very impressive and perfectly tailored to our needs. We hope to construct the building as quickly as possible," says Bishop Gyamfi.

In fact, 3D printing is perfectly suited for this form of presentation. The plastic models make it easy to assess dimensions and proportions, therefore more and more architects rely on the advantages of 3D printing for important presentations. At the same time, there is an increasing demand for purely white models, which has prompted voxeljet to offer a new binder type, effective immediately. The new material is called Polypor Type C and differs from the standard binders in that the finished plastic models feature a very white colour and are thus able to meet demanding requirements with respect to the model's look and feel. This means that 3D printing is becoming even more attractive, particularly for architectural models and design studies.

For more information, visit: www.voxeljet.com

While voxeljet's Service Center in Augsburg is happy about its full order books, business has also picked up significantly in the equipment building segment. "In the system business, we are noting the positive effect of our numerous international sales cooperation arrangements. Demand for all-in-one 3D print systems from foreign markets has increased significantly", says Rudolf Franz, COO of voxeljet technology GmbH.

Customers from the automotive industry make up a big part of this demand. Particularly the R&D area, which requires small batches of prototypes and pre-series parts, places great value on the advantages offered by rapid and tool-less mould production directly from CAD data.
"We are particularly pleased with the fact that more and more large automotive manufacturers outside of the German-speaking economic area are also relying on voxeljet technology. We were able to obtain Hyundai in Korea as a new customer for the VX500. Ford UK purchased a new VX800 system as part of a replacement process. The quality of our systems is predestined for reliable permanent operations - a feature that also appears to be important in international markets", says Rudolf Franz.

For more information, visit: www.voxeljet.com

voxeljet technology is coming to this year's EuroMold in Frankfurt with a true highlight. The Augsburg-based company will be celebrating the world premiere of the VX 1000 3D printer at its fair stand E62 in Hall 11. Visitors to the trade fair are invited to join them and experience the excellent performance of this new machine.

"The VX 1000 allows us to close the gap between our large-format machine VX 4000 and the proven VX 800 industrial printer. The VX 1000 features a large build space of 1060 x 600 x 500 millimetres, along with a compact design and high printing performance. With this new product, we now have a comprehensive product range that enables us to offer the most appropriate machine for virtually all requirements," says voxeljet COO Rudolf Franz.

The VX 1000 is designed as a high-performance machine. It features a high-performance print head that reaches a resolution of up to 600 dpi at a high build speed. The newly developed 3D printer sets the trend for the manufacture of different components and moulds. It is also possible to print complex geometries with undercuts that are true to detail and precise.

At the EuroMold trade fair stand, voxeljet highlights not only the speed and accuracy of the VX 1000, but also the fact that it is environmentally friendly. Here, the Augsburg firm is exhibiting the new machine in test operations using an inorganic binder. Thanks to this moulding material system, which was developed by Hüttenes-Albertus in conjunction with voxeljet, 3D printing is slated to become even more environmentally friendly. Interested visitors can obtain additional information about the benefits and disadvantages of inorganic binder directly from the voxeljet stand.

For more information, visit: www.voxeljet.de or www.euromold.com

voxeljet unveils its 3D printing system VX4000 – a machine that is set to cause a stir among international experts. It enables objects to be produced from particulate material with dimensions of 4 x 2 x 1 metres.

Dr. Ingo Ederer, CEO of voxeljet technology, is delighted with the capabilities of the new machine. "With our new VX4000 we can generate moulds the size of a sports car, the limit being a volume of eight cubic metres. This presents users with undreamt-of possibilities. The enormous build space enables the rapid production of large individual moulds, but is also flexible enough to allow the cost-effective production of small batches."

The new system scores high on flexibility and speed. The machine operates at three times the build speed of voxeljet's standard printers, but with the same resolution and precision. Users benefit from significant time and cost savings. The very look of the machine – almost 20 metres long and of high-quality design – sends a signal that this is a system for tough industrial conditions. The system design with building platforms that are inserted alternately into the process station allows for continuous, round-the-clock operation.

"Adding the VX4000 to our range of models expands our product portfolio of standard and high-definition printers in a logical way. With a range that extends from the VX500 through the VX800 to the VX4000, we now cover build space lengths of 500 to 4,000 mm. This means that we have the right system in our portfolio for virtually any application and any client – from architectural office to automaker", says Dr. Ederer.

The VX4000 offers excellent features:

* Build space of 4000 x 2000 x 1000 mm
* Continuous operation with multiple building platforms
* Variable use of build space for individual application
* Effective and continuous operation through rugged design and high-quality components
* Fast and economical manufacturing of large components and batches

VX4000 at a glance:

The VX4000 is a large-format 3D printing system for producing any type of object from particle material. With the aid of voxeljet's well-proven 3D printing process, objects are automatically produced from 3D CAD data. Thin layers are applied repeatedly to a building platform in a buildup process. These layers are then bonded together with fluid binder according to the layer geometry.

The VX4000 system concept features a very large building volume of 4 x 2 x 1 metres, which is approximately eight times the volume of conventional systems. To improve performance, a particularly wide print head is used, which prints a layer in only two passes.

As a result, the system not only ensures the fast manufacture of individual, oversized objects, but also permits efficient small batch production. The system design with building platforms that are alternately inserted into the process station allows for continuous (24/7) operation. The machine thus has a robust design and is equipped with high-quality technology.

For more information visit: www.voxeljet.de

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