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Enable granted funding from Innovate UK to prove viability of Additive Casting

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Enable Manufacturing has been granted funding from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, for a project to prove the concept of its Additive Casting process.

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £191 million to fund single and collaborative research and development projects as part of the Sustainable Innovation Fund over the next two years. The aim of these competitions is to help all sectors of the UK rebuild after the effects of COVID-19.

‘In these difficult times we have seen the best of British business innovation. The pandemic is not just a health emergency but one that impacts society and the economy. Enable Manufacturing Ltd and the development of its Additive Casting technology, along with every initiative Innovate UK has supported through this fund, is an important step forward in driving sustainable economic development. Each one is also helping to realize the ambitions of hard-working people,” said Innovate UK Executive Chair Dr. Ian Campbell.

Under this initiative, Enable has launched a project that is scheduled to run until April 2021 and during which the company will be designing and producing parts, using all three processes currently available for Additive Casting:

  • Sandcasting for large parts (up to 60 tonnes).
  • Investment casting for fine detail (up to 250 x 250 x 250mm).
  • Investment casting for ultra-fine detail (up to 190 x 160 x 160mm)

The design of the parts will include designs that are optimized for the Additive Casting process as well as designs that cannot be manufactured using traditional manufacturing methods and that must utilize additive manufacturing technology.

Additive Casting – a hybrid process. This carves a clear market for Additive Casting and the production of metal parts that are: Too complex to be produced with traditional manufacturing / Too large in size for direct 3D metal printing / Designed for low to medium volume production, not economical for traditional manufacturing / Specified for a material not available for direct 3D metal printing / Designed for certain material properties not achievable by direct 3D metal printing.

Parts will be produced in four different materials including magnesium, which cannot be used in direct 3D metal printing processes due to its highly volatile nature. However, magnesium is a very desirable material in the motorsport industry, for instance, due to its lightweight.

The goal of this project is to prove the concept of Additive Casting and to obtain hard evidence that will prove that Additive Casting is currently the only manufacturing method on the market utilizing additive manufacturing technology, that can produce highly complex metal parts, in nearly any size or production volume, in more than 130 materials to existing quality standards applicable to the aerospace, automotive, marine and heavy industries sectors.

‘We strongly believe that Additive Casting is a game-changing technology that will help UK companies innovate quicker, make better quality products and re-shore production for a more sustainable manufacturing model. In this sense, Additive Casting could play an important role in the UK’s recovery post-COVID and our journey towards a zero-emission economy. But for us at Enable this grant also means that there are people and organizations who believe in our technology and are prepared to help bring it to market successfully. And for this we want to thank Innovate UK,” explained Jon Wright, Technical Manager at Enable.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites and, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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