Automation for 3D printing has taken another step with EnvisionTec getting in on the act with its Viridis3D robotic system for sand casting.
Using a patent-pending technology, a proprietary print head attached to an ABB robot arm uses binder jetting technology to print sand molds, mold cores and investment casting patterns for foundry applications.
A variety of build envelopes are offered, with the RAM 123 printing parts up to 1 x 2 x 3 ft, with the RAM 224 (2 x 2 x 4 ft), RAM 236 (2 x 3 x 6 ft), and RAM 336 (3 x 3 x 6 ft) now available, while EnvisionTec suggests that scaleable custom solutions are also available.
The system reportedly prints at a rate of 1 ½ – 2 ½ vertical inches per hour using little more than standard silica sand, a modified furan binder and a dry acid-based catalyst.
The system includes standalone Viriprint software that uses a CAD file to print a mold and core in ‘just a few hours’, meaning that instead of shipping castings around the world, raw materials are shipped and files are simply transmitted to 3D printers for local production.