voxeljet prints casting cores to produce the all-electric Cadillac CELESTIQ

voxeljet, a manufacturer of large-format sand 3D printers, and Tooling & Equipment International (TEI), one of the company’s largest users of the company’s systems in the U.S., have expanded their partnership with TEI purchasing a third 3D printer, the VX4000. As a supplier to General Motors, TEI uses the world’s largest sandblasting 3D printer to produce cast cores for mass production of large-format, lightweight structural components for the Cadillac CELESTIQ.

By implementing 3D printing in the development and construction of components, manufacturers can realize completely new designs optimized for function. Suppliers benefit from the quick and flexible integration of 3D printed cores into existing production lines.

TEI, an expert in highly complex castings for the engineering and manufacturing industries, has been working with voxeljet since 2018 and is the only company in the US to own three VX4000 voxeljet 3D printers. They are the world’s largest sand 3D printers, with a working volume of 4 x 2 x 1 meters. With the third VX4000, TEI has increased its production capacity to 2.5 million liters per year. Thanks to this, the American company can implement further technically demanding projects, such as the serial production of lightweight elements of the chassis structure of the fully electric Cadillac CELESTIQ.

The innovative chassis design consists of six large, precision sand-cast aluminum parts. In order to realize complex structures as economically and as lightly as possible, TEI uses additive manufacturing in the production of all inner cores. This allows stiffening elements to be incorporated into the hollow sections, which is not economically feasible with conventional production. A total of 51 additive sand cores are used to produce each vehicle chassis.

TEI prints them using VX4000 printers, each of which prints hundreds of internal cores for several sets of vehicles in just one night. After printing, the cores are smoothed, fire retardant coated, placed in sand molds and finally cast in a low pressure potting process. Each of the six castings reduces the number of parts by 30 to 40 pieces compared to a typical stamped design. Because each structural part has fully machined interfaces, the six castings can be precisely assembled and very tight tolerances are maintained during assembly production.

Large format printing of molds and cores on the VX4000 3D printers makes production leaner and therefore faster and more economical compared to conventional production. Significantly fewer components need to be produced, which simplifies and speeds up assembly work. In addition, sand 3D printing allows you to create completely new designs and lightweight constructions. The result is geometrically optimized parts that are very important to the automotive and aerospace industries.


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