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BMW adopts 3D printing sand casting technology

2023-12-20 16:18

BMW has recently established an automated production line in Landshut, Germany, specifically for producing 3D printed sand molds for engine cores. This measure is the result of a collaboration between BMW, Loramendi, and Voxeljet, marking a significant transformation in the field of sand casting. This long-standing technology has now been revitalized by modern 3D printing technology.

The new industrial sand core printing (ICP) production line, BMW's largest component factory, is a pioneering attempt in the 3D production of the sand core additive manufacturing series. This production line aims to produce thousands of 3D printed sand cores per week, which are key components for casting efficient engine cylinder heads. These engines are essential components for various brands of cars such as BMW, MINI, Rolls Royce, and BMW Motorrad.

This 3D printing method can manufacture integrated sand cores, thereby simplifying the design of engine components. This innovative technology has improved the performance of BMW B48 engines, especially in the production of water jacket outlet combination cores. This process reduces complexity and optimizes engine efficiency and fuel consumption.

In addition, this customized production line minimizes casting emissions and only generates water vapor during the casting process. This production line uses Voxeljet's high-speed VJET-X 3D printer and is integrated with a fully automated workflow including the Loramendi industrial microwave curing device. The 3D printing process includes bonding the sand layer, followed by microwave curing and cleaning, to achieve seamless integration with BMW's established casting process.

The Voxeljet VX1300-X printer has further improved the speed and efficiency of this process, with a printing speed ten times higher than previous models. The roller free design of these sand cores facilitates quick replacement of variants, thereby avoiding time-consuming tool replacement and production downtime. The system can also ensure the recycling and reuse of unused materials, demonstrating its concept of sustainable development.