Remarkable 3D Printed Modelled Component Wins 2015 Award

2015 - Best of British Casting

The flagship 'Component of the Year' Award in the UK Cast Metals Industry Awards saw two remarkable castings shortlisted and one, a highly advanced wheel upright component previously only manufacturable through the much more expensive direct metal laser sintering process, announced the winner.

Manufactured by the Precision Casting Centre based in Portsmouth for its remarkable wheel upright casting, a component which could only previously been produced by the much more expensive Direct Metal Laser Sintering. This development then opens up new possibilities for the casting process.

Manufactured by Precision Casting Centre, in conjunction with 3D printing specialist Voxeljet UK, the component shows how the combination of leading edge technology with proven casting techniques can create previously unattainable results benefitting the industry and the customer.

Starting with a 3D printed model in PMMA the model was invested and removed as part of the normal investment casting process and then cast in L169 aluminium alloy. The component needed to withstand considerable direct and fatigue loading and could be designed to be 4x stiffer than the original design because of the design freedom offered by the innovative development process, as well as being capable of mass production. By working closely the foundry and the technology supplier have taken the whole foundry industry forward.

Highly Commended in the category was Noel Village (Steel Founder) Ltd for their remarkable defect and weld free valve body manufactured in Inconel 625, a very difficult alloy to cast. Through a painstaking development process with suppliers and the foundry working together, innovative feeder design and many other technical achievements, Noel Village can now produce the component completely defect free, and the lessons learned have brought knock-on benefits to the foundry's whole approach to production of castings.