Aug 22, 2016 | By Tess

A team of engineerings from the Tokyo, Japan-based Technology Research Association for Future Additive Manufacturing are developing a 3D printer to be used specifically for making industrial molds. The project, done in association with Yokohama-based 3D printer manufacturer CMET (a subsidiary of Nabtesco), is seeking to one day make custom manufacturing of industrial parts or semiconductors through 3D printing as cheap and as viable as mass production.

Recently, the research team unveiled a prototype of the advanced 3D printer, which is capable of producing sand-based molds for industrial parts. By alternating sand and adhesive extrusions, the machine is reportedly capable of producing intricate and complexly structured parts, which could have massive applications in the automotive and aerospace industries, among others. The 3D printer will also offer a more cost efficient additive manufacturing system compared to other existing 3D printers used for industrial manufacturing.

The industrial 3D printer prototype offers a number of advantages over current metal 3D printers, not least of which is its print speed. According to the research team, their printer prototype can already build structures and molds at an impressive rate of 100,000 cubic centimeters per hour, making it more than 100 times as fast as metal 3D printers. In terms of scale, the printer is capable of making molds as large as 1.8 meters long by 1 meter wide by 0.75 meters deep. Additionally, the Japanese 3D printer can actually reuse excess sand from the print bed, making it materially efficient.

Multinational automanufacturer Nissan Motor, Japanese construction, mining, and military equipment manufacturer Komatsu Ltd., and turbocharger manufacturer IHI will help in the evaluation stage of the new 3D printer and will test parts that were cast using the 3D printed sand molds. According to the research association, completed molds could eventually be used in mass production, with the potential to produce 20,000 automotive turbochargers a month, for instance, or 3,000 engine cylinder heads at the same time.

The research association responsible for the development of the new industrial 3D printer has stated that its goal is to have a practical version of its innovative 3D printer ready for the 2017 fiscal year. As the printer is still in development, no cost or product name has been tied to it.

This project, undertaken by a Japanese research association, is another step in the ever advancing goal of making custom manufacturing more cost and time effective. With this and other similar innovations, it seems entirely likely that the 3D printing manufacturing revolution is continuing in full force.



via: Nikkei


Posted in 3D Printer



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