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DLA Contracts Demonstration of 3D Printed Sand-Cast Moulds

Concurrent Technology and Desktop Metal Collaborate in Digital Casting

The US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) has awarded Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) a prime contract to demonstrate the practicality of producing obsolete critical castings through 3D printed sand-casting mould technology. The project will further develop the science and technology of 3D printed sand-casting moulds. CTC will work with subcontractor ExOne, a subsidiary of Desktop Metal, as well as the University of Northern Iowa, DLA, and metal casting foundries on the project.

Several years ago, CTC recognized the need for a process to inexpensively and quickly produce obsolete critical castings needed by the Department of Defense. The castings had been difficult to source because the original manufacturing designs, patterns, and/or producers are no longer available,” explained Mike Tims, CTC advisor engineer and the programme manager and principal investigator.

The base year of the contract is worth $4.6 million; four one-year options, if all exercised, would bring total value to $15 million. The project will demonstrate 3D printed moulds and cores for sand castings to the DLA supply chain and to foundries, which could then produce castings the industry is not currently positioned to make, because traditional tooling is no longer available.

Digital casting is enabled by binder jet 3D printing technology. Replacement parts can be cast in tooling printed layer by layer in sand direct from a digital file without making physical patterns. “Supply chain agility is a core advantage of 3D printing technologies like binder jetting and digital casting [which allow] low or high volumes to be produced efficiently and economically,” stated Ric Fulop, CEO of Desktop Metal.

This project builds on the expertise CTC developed through 30+ years of advanced engineering and manufacturing, particularly through two Office of Naval Research projects that developed, used, and implemented printed sand-casting molds. Together with our project partners, we will provide the government a robust solution to their challenge to re-create castings that are hard to obtain,” added Edward J Sheehan, Jr., CTC President and CEO.


The project aims to demonstrate the feasibility of casting parts for which tooling no longer exists. (CTC)

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