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Te aluminum sand casting facility specializes in


complex, core-intensive parts, such as gearboxes or engine blocks, for more than 200 customers in different locations. About half of the parts produced by the Schüle facility


are prototypes. Te foundry employs 80 people and uses 500 tons of aluminum per year. As a mid-sized company, Schüle can react flexibly to the needs of the customers. Te company offers, depending on the customer require- ments, a fully automatic core package molding line down to a furan hand molding line with optimal results. It also provides pre- and post-processing steps, such as modeling and casting construction, in addition to comprehensive quality testing. Schüle’s customers have different requirements and it


is important for the company to supply feasible and short lead time solutions. Prototypes are required to have all the relevant characteristics of a production part. Especially in the early development stage, customers often needed samples, in quantities of one to five parts, to gain initial knowledge. “Our experience shows: If you need only one piece, you can save up to 80% of the costs compared to conventional methods—even though the time savings fac- tor remains the most important consideration,” said one Schüle employee. Te time advantage of the 3D printing process is a


difference of up to three weeks. Many large custom- ers, particularly automotive manufacturers, consider this aspect to be critical. Designers gain more time to optimize their products while still meeting their deadlines. Designers are completely free to develop an experi- mental design without any concerns related to casting production. In fact, the more complex the core design, the better it is to 3D print the part. The cooperation with ExOne started just three


years ago when the company was looking for a met- alcaster to cast samples with its sand cores. Now, Schüle orders 30 to 50 cores per month from ExOne. Most of them are special molds for complicated and core-intensive casting parts like engine blocks, gear- boxes, compressor housings and heat exchangers. They are mainly used in pilot tests in the automotive branch and during the initial prototype assemblies in machine and industrial plant installations. In this case, Schüle uses ExOne’s Production Service Center (PSC). ExOne has offered the production of parts since 2000 and maintains several PSCs worldwide. Te integration of 3D printing into Schüle’s estab-


lished casting processes was simple and without problems. “Te cores and/or mold packages which are delivered by ExOne are very similar to conventionally produced parts,” Spranger said. “Tis means the workflow is comparable and extensive changes were not necessary.” It is also valid for the materials used. Te unprinted sand, which contains an activator, can be recycled for further use. 


Schüle的铝合金砂型铸造厂,专业从事于复杂、芯 子用量很多的部件,如变速箱、发动机缸体,为不同地 区的200多家客户提供产品。


Schüle铸造厂生产的近半零部件都是原型件(样 件)。铸造厂拥有80名员工,每年消费500吨铝合金。 作为一个中等规模的企业,Schüle能够灵活地应对客户 需求。按客户需求,公司可用全自动组芯造型线生产, 也可以用呋喃树脂砂手工造型线生产,都有很好的效 果。还可提供预处理和后处理服务,如建模和铸件结构 的改进,此外,还有全面的质量检测。 客户的要求不同,Schüle公司很有必要为客户提供 可行的、研制周期短的解决方案。要求原型件具有产品 部件的所有相关的特性。尤其是在研发的初期,为了对 产品有初步的概念,客户一般需要1-5个样件。Schüle 的员工说:“根据我们的经验:尽管节约时间仍是客户 最重要的考虑因素,但如果客户只需要一个样件,与传 统生产方法相比,客户可节约80%的成本。” 3D打印技术的时间优势不尽相同,最长的可达3周之 多。很多大客户,尤其是汽车制造商,认为这是至关重 要的。设计人员在满足时间要求的条件下,要有较多时 间优化自己的产品。


设计人员可完全自由地进行实验设计,不必担忧铸件


生产方面的任何问题。事实上,砂芯的设计越复杂,3D 打印的效果就越好。


3年前,Schüle公司正在寻找用其砂芯铸造样件的铸 造厂,Schüle与ExOne开始了合作。现在,Schüle每月 自ExOne订购30-50个芯子。其中大部分是制造复杂、 多芯铸件(如发动机缸体、变速箱、压缩机壳体和热交 换器)用的特别砂型。它们主要用于汽车部门的初步试 验中,原型样件在机器中组装时,以及生产设备安装 时。在此情况下,Schüle使用了ExOne的生产服务中心 (PSC)。自2000年,ExOne公司已开始生产零部件, 并拥有数家全球生产服务中心。


3D打印技术与Schüle公司现有铸造工艺的整合是 简单的,没有任何困难。“ExOne所生产的组芯和/或 组型与用传统工艺生产的产品非常相似,”Spranger 说,“这意味着现在的生产流程是类似的,并不需要进 行很大的改变。”对所用的各种材料来说也是适用的。 含有活化剂的未经打印的砂子是可以回收利用的。 


80 | FOUNDRY-PLANET.COM | MODERN CASTING | CHINA FOUNDRY ASSOCIATION March 2015


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