3D printing casting call

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In the hot, industrial setting of one of Turkey’s leading foundries, 3D printing is getting its baptism of fire. Ünimetal, based in Istanbul, specialises in the manufacture of precision components for the demanding aviation, defence, medical, electronics and automotive industries.

Melek Karakaya and Hakan Batili with the new Voxeljet VX500

Established in 2000 to manufacture precision components by means of the long established wax casting process, the 4,000m2 foundry strives to offer design freedom, value and the latest technical advantages to its customers.

In an effort to stay one step ahead of its competition, the company has taken the relatively innovative step of implementing 3D printing into its production process.

Having invested in a VX500 3D printing system from the global 3D system provider Voxeljet, Ünimetal aims to further expand its production as well as its position in the growing Turkish manufacturing economy.

“This machine opens up entirely new opportunities for us,” explains Hakan Batili, CEO of Ünimetal. “Besides the higher quality and lower costs, we were also impressed with the freedom regarding the design of components as well as the significantly shorter production times, which were an important factor in our decision to purchase the VX500.”

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Tool-less technology

Even though Ünimetal will continue to expand its competence in conventional mould production, it nevertheless sees great potential in tool-less 3D print technology.

With respect to the building of prototypes and the manufacturing of small batch sizes, the company is now in an ideal position to meet the new demands being asked of its production facilities.

The VX500 enables manufacturers to quickly and economically produce plastic models for investment casting and functional components based on CAD data. The plastic parts are printed to an accurate life-size scale, before moulds are made to be cast in steel or other metals.

“We are convinced that the VX500 will allow us to open a new chapter in the production of prototypes and small series’,” adds Batili.

Moving from traditional tooling to 3D printing requires suitable quantities and geometries. And while Ünimetal is continuing to offer its expertise in traditional tooling, it wants to decrease the time that is needed to produce metal parts.

The company plans to produce wax patterns in small series, but in large volumes, taking advantage of the VX500’s build envelope of 500 x 400 x 300mm.

Easy removal of support material allows for a moderately simple post processing stage, while Ünimetal is also satisfied with the produced parts quality – especially the straight sidewalls of the big parts that need to be accurate.

The main reason behind the selection of the VX500 is that it’s an industrial quality system that has a non-stop capacity to work, suited to a large number of application scenarios that are demanded by Ünimetal customers.

With a specialisation aimed at the aviation industry, offering innovation in detailed casting, using the capabilities of 3D printing is heating up the prospects of the Ünimetal foundry.

Investment in 3D printing heats up the prospects for Turkish foundry
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