Ask ProtoMan: How is Additive Manufacturing Changing Foundry Pattern Making?
Additive Manufacturing will have a strong influence on the future of foundry pattern making, say industry experts.
This is among the top insights in a recently-released industry report. The Metalcasting Industry Roadmap, a 2-year collaborative project by the American Metalcasting Consortium (AMC) points toward the major impact of AM on an industry needing to remain globally competitive.
Two distinctive ways Additive Manufacturing (AM) will help accelerate the growth of advanced manufacturing in the US are as follows:
Unlimited new design options
The additive layering process affords manufacturers a tremendous advantage of flexibility. Now they can convert nearly any digital model into a 3D shape or geometry. Parts and core mold assemblies traditionally were designed to accommodate traditional casting methods where internal geometry must be simplified to allow patterns to be pulled away safely.
Design engineers no longer need to concern themselves with the viability of their design being created. AM can produce patterns with complex and irregular shapes.
AM also can produce the highest level of tolerances no hand-made process can match. Fine tolerances lead to cost savings because of the drastic reduction in wasted material.
Industries using foundry pattern making are among the most energy-intensive in the US. AM can help reduce this issue by opening the door to newer materials such as aluminum, titanium, zinc and advanced alloys that form thinner, higher strength castings with minimized energy requirements.
Furthermore, because of its digital workflow AM requires fewer manual steps for operator setup and process execution. This reduces the opportunities for inconsistencies and makes production a faster, more reliable process.
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