The VJET X mass 3D printing system from German system OEM voxeljet is to be shown to the public for the first time next week. Presented at the GIFA international foundry trade fair in Düsseldorf from 25 – 29th June, the VJET X is designed to be integrated into conventional metal casting lines, focusing in particular on the automotive industry.
James Reeves, Managing Director at voxeljet UK, initially shared news of the forthcoming VJET X in August 2018. On an investor call in April this year, reporting FY 2018 results, Dr. Ingo Ederer, CEO of voxeljet, confirmed that the company had taken the first order for the system and it was currently being assembled. It has now been confirmed that an unnamed “premium German car manufacturer” is the first commercial partner.
Speaking at the time of FY 2018 results, Dr. Ederer stated, “Today I can say that, together with our partners, we believe we can become one of the world’s first companies to deliver a 3D printing solution for automotive serial-production,”
“The 3D printing industry is at an inflection point and this achievement marks a key milestone in our mission.”
3D printing at 120,000cm³ per hour
Using the bed of a voxeljet VX1000 machine (1,000 x 600 x 500 mm) the VJET X is capable of a layering speed less than 5 seconds, 10 times faster than the company’s previous models. This results in 180cm³ of printing volume every 5 seconds. At the core of the system is a new process unit combining multiple printing and re-coating units, enabling the high print speeds.
The VJET X also increases the turnaround of 3D printing by integrating fully automated handling systems for loading, unloading and post processing. The first applications of this technology will be to make complex water jacket cores for metal casting. Used for temperature management in internal combustion engines, electric motors and batteries, water jacket cores are essential to the work of the VJET X’s first customer.
“This technology development will achieve full volume automotive production for critical engine parts,” comments Reeves, “It’s super-fast (120,000cm³ per hour) with automated box changes, unpacking and depowdering.”
“It’s additive manufacturing like you’ve never seen it before.”
Driving additive manufacturing
Elsewhere in automotive, The BMW Group recently launched its Industrialization and Digitization of Additive Manufacturing for Automotive Series Processes (IDAM) project which is targeting production of 50,000 3D printed components per year of over 10,000 individual and spare parts. Automotive manufacturing company Continental AG also recently opened an 8,000m² facility dedicated to additive manufacturing, and RAPID + TCT put the sector front an center of its 2019 event.
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Featured image shows a diagram of the VJET X system. Image via Voxeljet