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3D Printing New Vacuum Additive Casting Process Developed

Editor: Nicole Kareta

Enable Manufacturing, a relative newcomer to the Additive Manufacturing sector, has announced the launch of its new Vacuum Additive Casting process that is expected to challenge established processes and players in the manufacturing world of metal parts.

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The new process is based on the hybrid approach of printing molds and patterns for casting parts in a foundry but uses a vacuum casting in a unique way to draw the metal into fine structures.
The new process is based on the hybrid approach of printing molds and patterns for casting parts in a foundry but uses a vacuum casting in a unique way to draw the metal into fine structures.
(Source: Enable Manufacturing)

Like the other processes offered by Enable under its Additive Casting technology, this process is based on the hybrid approach of printing molds and patterns for casting parts in a foundry but uses a vacuum casting in a unique way to draw the metal into fine structures. This allows for the manufacture of highly complex and small parts of just a few grams in weight, and thinner walls.

Lattice structure with 1.5mm wall thickness made with Vacuum Additive Casting.
Lattice structure with 1.5mm wall thickness made with Vacuum Additive Casting.
(Source: Enable Manufacturing)

Commercially, this new process is a game changer for the metal parts manufacturing industry. Complex parts like the lattice structure pictured above cannot be manufactured by traditional metal casting. They can however be produced by means of direct 3D metal printing. Using Vacuum Additive Casting for parts like this, however, opens up unique advantages for manufacturers:

Making Additive Metal Parts Cheaper

When comparing the pricing of Enable’s Vacuum Additive Casting process to direct 3D metal printing, it becomes clear that parts can be manufactured at a fraction of the price. Using the example of the lattice structure, part prices could be as much as 80 % lower than with the current direct metal printing set up.

Price comparison between Additive Casting and DMLS for a total of 5 pcs.
Price comparison between Additive Casting and DMLS for a total of 5 pcs.
(Source: Enable Manufacturing)

Uncastable Parts Have Just Become Castable

By casting parts, manufacturers benefit from a wide choice of metals and part production can securely be scaled, keeping part quality high. Scalability, material properties, quality and cost are well known obstacles to the market adoption of direct 3D metal printing, creating a natural market gap for hybrid manufacturing technologies like Additive Casting to flourish.

Phil Kilburn, Sales Director of Enable Manufacturing says: "With the addition of Vacuum Additive Casting to our portfolio of processes, we now have a complete offering for the manufacturing of metal parts available from just a few grams up to 60 tonnes. And with a cost reduction potential of 80 % or more compared to direct 3D metal printing, we are confident that many manufacturing businesses will benefit from using our new Vacuum Additive Casting process."

In 2019, Enable came to market with its new Additive Casting process, enabling the manufacture of complex parts in 130 different metals and from 100 grams to several tonnes, a unique process unrivalled in the metal manufacturing market.

In total, Enable now offers 3 distinct manufacturing processes as part of its Additive Casting offer:

  • Vacuum Additive Casting for ultra-fine detail (up to 190 x 160 x 160 mm)
  • Investment Additive Casting for fine detail (up to 250 x 250 x 250 mm)
  • Sand Additive Casting for large parts (up to 60 tonnes)

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