For cast pump components, and especially for the core and impeller, 3-D printing of the sand casting molds now eliminates the need for an entire post-processing step. The industry puts the post-processing time per impeller at an average of 10 to 15 minutes and this is exactly where clever companies from the pump industry and their foundries are pivoting and relying on the savings potential of industrial 3-D printing for their casting needs.
The time-consuming post-processing work on the blade fins and above all on the blade tips, resulting from the casts in the traditional manufacturing processes, is now completely eliminated with 3-D printing. The finished cast part can be transferred immediately from the foundry to quality assurance without an intermediate step.
In a traditionally shot core, complex geometries require cores to be constructed as individual parts or without undercutting. If this were not the case, trying to remove a core from the core box would tilt the core and result in a blockage. With 3-D printing, the printed part matches the design perfectly. Nothing has to be removed from a core box.
The ExOne Binder Jetting process builds the core of the impeller with such precision that the beauty of the elegant propeller is already visible in the printed negative mold and becomes reality, using layer-by-layer 3-D printing, with a layer height of 0.28 mm to 0.38 mm. The negative mold of the impeller is therefore exactly the same at the blade tips as it should look like with the final cast.
The cost benefits already begin in the prototype phase where any changes in the CAD data can be easily transferred to the 3-D printing process and immediately implemented at the touch of a button,
This not only maximizes productivity, but also saves on consumables, tool costs, personnel costs, storage costs, etc. and significantly speeds up the processing time. Pump castings are popular sales items in the spare parts business and in the post-production of industrial unique products.
3-D printing is already causing a strong pull and high pressure in the pump manufacturing market. Therefore, local barons of the foundry industry can neither escape the increasing competitive pressure, nor stick their heads in the sand in light of the expectations of the modern pump industry. 3-D printing simply pumps more profit into the company’s balance sheet – for everyone involved.