3d printing

GE, Voxeljet and Fraunhofer Institute to create World’s Largest 3D Printer

GE Green Energy is becoming a member of forces with research workers at Fraunhofer IGCV and computer printer company Voxeljet AG to produce the world’s most significant 3D computer printer.

The computer printer will be utilized for the development of molds for creating large amalgamated components for GE’s next era Haliade-X offshore wind turbines. Specifically, the engineers want to utilize this new process to produce the nacelles on the wind generators.

The printer, dubbed the Progress Casting Cell (ACC) is a modular system predicated on Voxeljet’s own binder jetting technology, which is with the capacity of printing molds for castings up to 9.5 meters in diameter and 60 metric tons (the same weight as the nacelles).

“The 3D published molds will bring benefits including improved casting quality through better surface surface finish, part reliability and persistence,” said Juan Pablo Cilia, Mature Additive Design Engineer at GE Green Energy.

“Furthermore, fine sand binder plane molds or additive molds provide cost benefits by lowering machining time and other materials costs anticipated to optimized design. This unprecedented production technology is a game changer for creation efficiency allowing localized processing in high cost countries, a key advantage for our customers seeking to maximize the neighborhood economic development advantages of offshore breeze.”

Layerwise deposition of the mold. Man for level (Image credit: Fraunhofer IGCV)

Traditionally this structure and mildew would dominate ten weeks to create. With the new large range 3D printer, they state that the development time will be reduced to just two weeks.

The printers will be installed locally to where in fact the turbines will eventually be installed. This will certainly reduce transport costs and may reduce the product’s carbon footprint by eliminating the necessity to transport the large parts from a central making location.

“We try to optimize the mold printing to avoid extremely costly misprints or even miscasts, to save lots of on binder and activator, and improve mechanised and thermal habit during casting,” said Prof. Dr. Wolfram Volk, Director from the Fraunhofer Institute for Casting, Composite and Handling Technology IGCV.

“By creating a process that conserves resources whenever you can, we want to help to increase the environmental and cost balance in the production of wind turbines.”

The institute is adding their understanding of casting and thermal management of casting processes to the cooperation.

The job has been funded partly by the German National Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The task is expected to start later in 2021, with original printer trials start early next year.