Automated handling of 3D printed sand moulds and cores
|Coordinator||Swerea SWECAST AB|
|Funding from Vinnova||SEK 485 000|
|Project duration||September 2017 - March 2018|
|Venture||Strategic innovation programme for process industrial IT and automation – PiiA|
Purpose and goal
The project has investigated possibilities for automatisation and digitalisation of additive manufacturing of sand moulds and cores for Swedish foundries. The aim was to map and meet process needs within foundry industry in order to apply additive manufacturing as a fully integrated process step. This will increase the competitiveness of Swedish industry through new possibilities for cast components. The project has shown the potential in identifying solutions for automation and digitialisation used in other areas and apply these on value-creating process steps in core-making.
Expected results and effects
The use of additive manufacturing of sand moulds and cores is a paradigm shift for the foundry industry. In order to be able to fully use the technique in large-scale production, an increased level of automisation is neccessary. This would in turn result in a higher productivity and increased competitiveness for Swedish foundries. The result from this inventory was that automation by means of robots and digitalisation is a necessary prerequisite in order to fully utilise 3D printing as a production method.
Planned approach and implementation
The prestudy started with an inventory where all foundry partners were involved in order to evaluate the conditions for 3D printing in the production process. On the basis of a market research, eight discrete process steps were defined, out of which only the printing of cores itself is already automised. Removing loose sand and picking printed components were treated while subsequent process step remain unsolved. The development of the robotised handling has been on display in the showroom of Swerea SWECAST as well as on filmed documentation in different media throughout the project.