Atlas Copco takes another step in sustainable innovation with the implementation of 3D sand printing. The ExOne S-Max Pro 3D sand printer in Amberg, Germany, was officially inaugurated in the presence of the partners who helped make this innovation possible, namely foundry Luitpoldhütte GmbH and 3D printing machine manufacturer ExOne.
3D sand printing accelerates innovation
Innovation drives everything Atlas Copco does. Atlas Copco strongly believes in the link between innovation and manufacturing, and 3D sand printing has the potential to accelerate innovation.
The sandprint technology allows sand molds and sand cores to be printed which in turn are used to produce castings by Luitpoldhütte. In the process, the use of tooling is a thing of the past because with the 3D sand printer, a sand mold is now immediately built up layer by layer.
"With 3D sand printing, innovation not only goes much faster, but it also provides a very high degree of accuracy that allows us to produce more complex casting cores. In short, with 3D sand printing we have more possibilities, at a lower price and with a short lead time," clarifies Rob Hoogmartens, technology developer castings at Atlas Copco. "That opens the door for new design possibilities within the next generation of Atlas Copco products."
Sustainable innovation in the context of Science Based Targets
Building on an extensive knowledge base around additive manufacturing and casting technologies, the move to 3D sand printing allows Atlas Copco to take its innovative products to the next level in a sustainable way.
Within 3D sand printing, Atlas Copco is committed to integrated sand recycling. In sand printing, at least 30% of sand is reused each time. Therefore, 3D sand printing is also a more sustainable and environmentally friendly process. On top of that, the placement of the 3D sand printer also means there is much less transportation involved.
"Previously, our tooling was made at another location and then transported to our foundry in Germany. Now our 3D sand printer is literally next to the molding line where molding is done. So there are no more complex logistics involved and that is of course much more environmentally friendly," explains Karolien Kempen, team leader of new manufacturing technologies at Atlas Copco.
This makes 3D sand printing a more sustainable and environmentally friendly process. The innovation is therefore in line with the Atlas Copco Group's Science Based Targets for reducing CO2 emissions. With its climate plan, Atlas Copco aims to reduce emissions from its direct operations, such as production, vehicles and offices, and energy used by 46% by 2030 compared to 2019. In addition, Atlas Copco aims to reduce value chain emissions, mainly the carbon impact of its products in use, by 28% by 2030 compared to 2019.
ExOne S-Max Pro combined with oil-free compressor from Atlas Copco
The ExOne S-Max Pro machine was installed at Luitpoldhütte GmbH, a foundry in Amberg, Germany, with a strong knowledge of complex high-quality castings. To produce the highest quality 3D sand-printed parts, the ExOne S-Max Pro printer requires pressured oil-free air. Atlas Copco lives up to its reputation as a sustainable player by providing the 3D sand printer with oil-free air. Atlas Copco is the market leader in its segment, providing the highest quality and energy-efficient oil-free compressors.
With the strong cooperation between Atlas Copco, foundry Luitpoldhütte GmbH and 3D printing machine manufacturer ExOne, expertise, craftsmanship and technology reinforce each other.
"Luitpoldhütte GmbH is proud to be working with such a strong and highly focused partner as Atlas Copco," explains Frank Schild, managing director at Luitpoldhütte GmbH. "We are particularly impressed by Atlas Copco's openness to such new technologies and innovations. Atlas Copco's investment in the printer at Luitpoldhütte takes us to the next level. We look forward to many more projects, ideas and innovations in cooperation with Atlas Copco."
"We are very happy to have Atlas Copco, a world-leading provider of sustainable productivity solutions, as our customer. ExOne's binder jet sand 3D printing solution and BPA-free furan binder system enable the company to produce more innovative, high-quality industrial products much faster, cost-effectively, and in a more sustainable way," says Eric Bader Managing Director ExOne GmbH & VP of DM Sales EMEA.