3D prints casting cores for all-electric sedans
4/13/2023 Lightweight trend News

3D prints casting cores for all-electric sedans

A US company is using a German supplier's 3D printers to mass-produce structural components for all-electric sedans. According to the manufacturer, it prints cast cores of large-format, weight-saving structural components using the world's largest 3D sand printers, which simplifies production compared to conventional manufacturing.

Two people looking at an automotive part at EUROGUSS
The underbody structure of the all-electric Cadillac Celestiq sedan consists of six large precision sand-cast aluminium parts. To realize the structures economically and as easily as possible, the American manufacturer of castings, Tooling & Equipment International (TEI), relies on additive manufacturing to produce all inner cores. For this, the US company is working with a German supplier of industrial 3D printers, Voxeljet. The printing system enables stiffening features of the hollow profiles that are not economically feasible with conventional manufacturing.

Each casting replaces up to 40 components

In the production of each vehicle underbody, the manufacturer needs a total of 51 additively manufactured sand cores. With the supplied 3D printing system, he prints hundreds of inner cores in one night. After printing, the cores are smoothed, coated with a fireproof coating, placed in sand molds and finally cast in a low-pressure filling process.

Each of the six sand-cast parts reduces the total number of components by 30 to 40 compared to a typical stamped structure, he said. Because each structural part has fully machined interfaces, the six castings can be assembled precisely, and tight tolerances can be maintained for assembly fabrication.

Lean production with easy assembly

The large-format mold and core printing of the 3D printers makes production leaner, thus faster and more economical, compared to conventional manufacturing. Significantly fewer components are needed, which simplifies and speeds up assembly.
By eliminating tools and taking advantage of the large build volume of the VX4000 printers, we can significantly reduce delivery times and produce lightweight components with optimized topologies. This would not be possible in the conventional way.
Oliver Johnson, President of Tooling & Equipment International
3D sand printing enables lightweight structures or geometrically optimized parts that are important for the automotive and aerospace industries. The printed cores can also be integrated into an already existing production.
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