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have to be machined. We can make raw castings that are usable without all the machining, and we can make shapes and contours that cannot be machined into a casting.” For metalcasters running automated lines that are cost-prohibitive for pro- totyping, rapid methods can be used to make molds that fit into the equipment. “I can have it simulate any molding

process,” Murray said. “If they want to run 10 samples, I can print something off that fits into a standard blank on that line. It’s how the foundry is going to be able to compete and add to the bottom line.” Rapid methods also are being used to make production pattern equipment for longer runs. While prototyping doesn’t always have stringent demands in early design stages, often the parts are made as close as possible to the ver- sions that will be cast in full production. “If they want to test a part that’s

going to be design intense, then we want to add the draft and the fillets, the gating, to make sure everything matches production intent,” Gustafson said. “Many of my customers, large OEMs, will scan the casting and then overlay it to the model. If we’ve made a suggestion that will make the part less expensive or easier to make, they’ll change the model

This diagram details the additive/rapid manufacturing approach for the investment casting process using plastic in place of a standard wax pattern.

Source: “Additive Manufacturing and Rapid Prototyping for MetalCasting,” by Thomas Prucha, vice presi- dent, technical services, American Foundry Society, presented during the 2014 AFS Supply Chain Summit.

to match, or we need to change the part to match the drawing. Because that’s what they’re running simulations from.” Prucha recommends an integrated

approach to rapid manufacturing using computer-based technology. “[It] not only reduces lead time but improves the design,” he said. “Tis should be man- aged via a disciplined program manage- ment system. Technologies that assist in creating samples quickly will help maximize the evaluation time and deci- sions made during this critical phase.” Rapid manufacturing enables

metalcasters to produce components for physical testing that match the castings to be created in full production using other methods. It’s a game changer in the automotive market’s ever increasing

competition to produce lightweight, high performance components. “Ford has three sand printing

machines, and a lot of their newer technology was proved out using this technology,” said Murray. Other auto manufacturers, such as Chrysler, also are making the most of addi- tive manufacturing. According to Harold Sears, technical expert, Rapid Manufacturing Technologies, Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich., 3D sand printing has enabled his team to take a 16-week part development lead time down to a couple days. Te following pages detail a variety

of castings firms have produced recently using some of the latest rapid manufac- turing methods.


America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, has awarded research funding to the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI), Youngstown, Ohio. The project, “Accelerated Adoption of AM Technology in the American Foundry Industry,” will be conducted in partnership with the American Foundry Society, ExOne, Humtown Prod- ucts, Janney Capital Markets and the University of Northern Iowa. Its intent is to support the transition of binder-jet additive manufacturing to the small business casting industry by allow- ing increased access to use of the equipment and the develop- ment of design guidelines and process specifications. The institute is a hub in President Obama’s new National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. Driven by the

National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), America Makes will provide $9 million in funding toward this and 14 other projects, with $10.3 million in matching cost share from the awarded project teams bringing the total funding to $19.3 million.

“[This] exemplifies how our incredibly innovative and active community comprising both members and non-members is working together, sometimes even with competitors, to advance our industry by exploring the limitless possibilities of 3D printing,” said Ralph Resnick, founding director of America Makes and president/executive director of NCDMM. The project is set to get underway during the first half

of 2014. April 2014 MODERN CASTING | 29

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