It is no secret that the BMW Group is a major first adopter of multiple AM technologies. A few weeks ago the company revealed that it is using voxeljet’s VJET X technology, streamlining highly automated core and mold production. The collaboration between Loramendi S. Coop. and voxeljet AG has yielded a process and equipment enabling large-scale, automated production of sand cores for high-efficiency engine castings at the BMW Group Plant in Landshut. But BMW also uses competing technology from ExOne.
VoxelMatter’s recently released market report on the Traditional Ceramics and Sand AM market highlighted how the German automaker also leverages sand binder jet systems from Desktop Metal’s ExOne brand, utilizing an eco-friendly inorganic binder. This enables the 3D printing of sand cores crucial for the metal casting of water core jackets in automotive engines. This application of sand binder jetting serves as a model for the future path of metal binder jetting technology in production. Now BMW revealed the full extent of its internal sand binder jetting activities using 4 ExOne Exerial machines, with 2 more on the way.
Desktop Metal, ExOn’s mother company, released a video showcasing how the BMW Group uses ExOne binder Jetting technology to virtually eliminate emissions at its Landshut Light Metal Foundry
ExOne and the BMW Group have been working together for more than 20 years on project development. The automaker uses four ExOne Exerial binder jet 3D printing systems for the serial production of water jacket cores used for metal casting, with two more systems slated for delivery. When combined with a microwave, a desanding station, and a fully automated conveyor system, the complete Exerial system runs high-speed 24/7 production and delivers high-accuracy parts.
In binder jetting, an industrial printhead selectively deposits a binder into a bed of powder materials — such as sand, metal, or ceramic — creating a solid part one thin layer at a time. When used for sand casting, the sand part is removed and assembled into a mold package used for casting molten metal. Binder jet 3D printing technology is widely viewed as a desirable and sustainable production method, largely because of its high speed, low waste and cost, as well as material flexibility.