Jan 25, 2017 | By Julia

A manufacturing facility in Leetonia, Ohio has just unveiled the state’s first ever 3D sand printer. The 16 ton piece of equipment, unveiled last Tuesday at Humtown Products’ manufacturing facility, is worth just under $1 million USD. Officials say the industrial sand casting 3D printer will help transition Ohio from the “rust belt” to the “technology belt.”

“Metal casting has been around for thousands of years,” explained Brett Conner, Director of Advanced Manufacturing at Youngstown State University (YSU). The process essentially consists of pouring molten metal into a cavity made out of sand, he continued. By far the most widely used metal casting process in mass manufacturing, sand casting can be applied to almost all casting metals. Engine blocks, cylinder heads, valves, machine tool bases, and pump housings are but a few of the most commonly manufactured examples.

the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Humtown Products' manufacturing facility

The first of its kind in Ohio, the new Humtown Products 3D sand printer prints the sand cores and metal molds in a single step, allowing for a more efficient manufacturing process. The state-of-the-art technology will change the way metal casting has been done for centuries, and breathe new life into one of Ohio’s key industries. “This technology will allow us to have a higher performance, better fuel efficiency and we’ll be able to produce these castings in a relatively shorter lead time,” said Humtown Products Sales Manager Brandon Lamoncha.

Even better, the 3D sand printer is expected to bring jobs to northeast Ohio. Employment remains an urgent issue since the infamous steel mill shutdowns suffered by the state over the last several years. The Mahoning Valley has been particularly afflicted by the employment crisis, noted YSU President Jim Tressel at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

But with this impressive new addition to the manufacturing facility, more jobs will be opening up. The 3D sand printer will rely on a team engineers and technicians to operate it. “By having this new technology, it will help create new jobs in engineering and more jobs that are a little more technical,” Lamoncha confirmed.

industrial parts made by the new 3D printer

The machine will also serve as an unparalleled learning opportunity for YSU engineering students, as well as pupils from other universities and community colleges across the state. The goal is to leverage the technology, and to educate students on how 3D sand printing changes the process of metal casting, said Conner. Students have already been given the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the new facility.  Some YSU students have even begun designing parts to be cast using the printer.

It’s all part of the plan to train, educate, and assist the design work, research, and development for YSU – all while prototyping the next generation of castings, and a new future for manufacturing in Ohio.

The $1 million 3D printer was purchased thanks to America Makes, Humtown Products, and grants received by YSU.



Posted in 3D Printer



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