Taiwan’s First Industrial 3D Printer Provides Rapid Prototypes for Medium and Large-sized Casting Parts, Strengthening Product Development and Competitiveness
Organization: Industrial Development Bureau, MOEA Publish Date: 2016-08-10 15:52
In response to the global trend in advanced manufacturing technology, the Industrial Development Bureau of the Ministry of Economic Affairs has assisted domestic foundry industry in conducting upgrade transition in recent years. Through the integration of resources from various sectors, the Metal Industries Research and Development Centre (MIRDC) imported the Voxeljet VX2000 3D Printing System for sand molds from Germany and established the “3D Printing Casting Sand Mold Operation and Service Center” at the MOEA Innovation Center in Kaohsiung. MIRDC hopes to encourage foundry businesses to reintegrate Taiwan's experienced and sophisticated casting technology through innovative proposals of fast samplings of 3D printing, and thereby helping the industry in acquiring international orders.
Taiwan’s foundry industry has a history of over forty years, heralding in an age of prosperity for goods such as machine tools, kitchen and bath metal components, golf club heads, valve blocks, and other metal products. The domestic foundry industry boasts an output value of more than NT$90 billion each year, ranking 12th in the world. Among these, sand mold casting accounts for 51% of the total, with the majority being casting parts for large machine tools, ductile cast iron components, and auto parts.
3D printing (3DP) technology is a type of additive manufacturing (AM). All production processes include examples of developing casts for prototypes, models, and molds. Among these, the binder jetting process is probably most closely linked with the foundry industry and is currently the most widely-used technology among foundry industries abroad. For example, the American car company, Ford, implemented 3D sand mold casting technology for the fast sampling of parts such as cylinder heads and brake pads. Take for example the cylinder heads used in the EcoBoost engine: Compared with the traditional production method which takes four or five months, the production time has been reduced to three months, while cutting the production cost by 30%.
3D printing sand mold casting technology is considered a new manufacturing process application in Taiwan. In the future, in addition to providing businesses with a channel for conducting development and prototype of new products, the technology will also offer effective assistance to the academia for talent cultivation, enabling foundry businesses to develop and operate sustainably.