BMW has recently established an automated production line in Landshut, Germany, dedicated to 3D printed sand casting for engine core production. This initiative, emerging from a collaboration between BMW, Loramendi, and Voxeljet, marks a significant shift in the sand casting domain, a technique with ancient roots now revitalized by modern 3D printing technology.
The new Industrialisation of Core Printing (ICP) line at BMW’s largest component plant is a pioneering venture in additive serial 3D production for sand cores. This line is designed to produce thousands of 3D printed cores weekly, a critical component in casting cylinder heads for high-efficiency engines. These engines are integral to a wide range of vehicles across the BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce, and BMW Motorrad brands.
This 3D printing approach allows for the creation of one-piece sand cores, streamlining the design of engine components. This innovation has led to enhancements in the BMW B48 engine, particularly in the production of water jacket outlet combi cores. The process reduces complexity and optimizes engine efficiency and fuel consumption.
Moreover, this custom production line minimizes foundry emissions, with only water steam being produced during the casting process. The line incorporates Voxeljet’s high-speed VJET-X 3D printers, integrated into a fully automated workflow that includes Loramendi’s industrial microwave curing units. The 3D printing process involves bonding layers of sand, followed by microwave curing and cleaning, leading to a seamless integration into BMW’s established casting process.
The speed and efficiency of this process are further enhanced by the Voxeljet VX1300-X printers, which offer a tenfold increase in printing rates compared to previous models. The toolless design of these sand cores facilitates rapid variant changes, eliminating the need for time-consuming tool changes and production downtimes. The system also ensures the recycling and reuse of unused materials, underscoring its sustainable approach.
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