Case Studies on Integrating 3D Sand-Printing Technology into the Production Portfolio of a Sand-Casting Foundry


Metal casting foundries all across USA are increasingly adopting the recent development in additive manufacturing including 3D sand printing (3DSP) due to its unique ability to fabricate molds and cores without any tooling requirement such as patterns, cores, core boxes, flasks among others. This new method of rapid mold fabrication can accelerate process cycle times, reduce shrinkage defects, offer part consolidation, functional integration and customization that could facilitate the growth of foundry industries. This study demonstrates how the adoption of 3DSP technology has contributed to a conventional ferrous metal casting foundry that specializes in manufacturing impellers, turbine housings and other mining equipment. Four industrial case studies are presented to illustrate novel opportunities via 3DSP. These case studies validate that 3DSP has the ability to (1) reduce shrinkage by allowing casting in optimal orientation without hard-tooling requirements, (2) reduce lead time through rapid mold fabrication by easier facilitation of nesting multiple parts into a single mold, (3) allow hybrid molding by integrating 3DSP with conventional mold making and (4) fabricate tooling-less complex castings, respectively. Findings from this study would help foundries rethink their design process from traditional pattern-drawing to a new and radical freeform-based design process via 3DSP.

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The authors would like to thank Hazleton Casting Company for providing opportunity to conduct experiments at their center for additive manufacturing facility. Authors would like to thank Steve Anderson, Tim Visgaitis, John Frutchey and Frank Lee at HCC for providing support with experiments. Authors would like to thank Dr. Robert Voigt, Chris Anderson and Travis Richner—FAME Lab for providing foundry resources to conduct aluminum casting experiments.

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Correspondence to Guha Manogharan.

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See Figure 12.

Figure 12

(a) Details of redesigned gating and riser system for center bearing housing (b) Example of hybrid molding assembly: Protrusion on the physical pattern to ensure proper alignment of the 3D printed sprue.

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Sama, S.R., Badamo, T. & Manogharan, G. Case Studies on Integrating 3D Sand-Printing Technology into the Production Portfolio of a Sand-Casting Foundry. Inter Metalcast 14, 12–24 (2020).

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  • 3D sand printing
  • metal casting
  • additive manufacturing
  • shrinkage porosity
  • misrun
  • casting simulation