The Steel and Technology Group, a subsidiary of the largest Austrian steel producer Voestalpine, has launched Europe's most advanced 3D printer for heavy steel casting at its Traisen plant. New additive manufacturing technology for the production of complex castings using quartz sand shortens production times and is more environmentally friendly than the previous process.
Additive manufacturing has long been an established manufacturing method, especially in the aerospace, automotive, tooling, and medical technology industries.
“In recent years, voestalpine has continuously expanded its activities in the field of metallurgical 3D printing. The new 3D printer in Traisen represents a key technological breakthrough in steel casting and will significantly increase our competitiveness in this area, ”said Herbert Eibensteiner, Chairman of the Management Board of voestalpine AG.
During operation, the 3D printer uses CAD data to directly manufacture sand molds into which liquid steel is poured. Sand forms are created by multiple layers of chemically bonded silica sand 300 micrometers thick.
The innovative manufacturing process is mainly used for the production of castings for the energy, automotive and rail industries. By eliminating the need for wood models, integrated sand recycling and simplified logistics, 3D printing is also more sustainable and environmentally friendly than the process it replaces.