Picture: M. Heinrich, Managing Director of GF Casting Solutions Leipzig GmbH (3.f.r) and E. Bader, Managing Director of ExOne GmbH (3.f.l.), together with GF employees, launching the production with the 3D core and mold printer.
In the course of the strategy 2020, the site in Leipzig belonging to the GF Casting Solutions AG (Switzerland) could convince the Division Management with the conclusive concept to invest in a 3D serial printer in year 2016. With a new product segment (hydraulic system), first serial orders and the idea to become the innovation center and simultaneously the supplier of prototypes for the other foundries of the GF Division, the site located in the South-West of Leipzig got the approval for the extensive investment.
“The cold-hardening phenol 3D printer in Leipzig is the second one in Germany and nationally the first one to be applied in serial production,” explains Matthias Heinrich, Managing Director at GF in Leipzig.
With this investment, the innovative lead of the site in Leipzig is guaranteed on the long-run. Components of GF in Leipzig can be found in many industrial applications and vehicles: the castings in the weight category between 100 and 1,000kg are produced for commercial vehicles, construction equipment, agriculture and forest equipment, solar parks, wind turbines, rail, general machinery, and now also for hydraulic systems.
The advantages of the 3D printing technology for the customers of GF Casting Solutions include the time and cost reductions for prototypes and spare parts, the higher process reliability (no assembly of cores) and the almost infinite freedom of design for the design engineers.
In 2017, various highly modern production halls were built on around 1,500 m² in which three employees are able to print cores around the clock (24/7) in the cold printing process (cold phenolic resin process). 3D printing is a production process leveling multiple layers to form a three-dimensional and solid object from a digital model. The technology in Leipzig includes a S-Max printer made by ExOne GmbH located in Gersthofen, Germany near Augsburg with a twin job box with a build volume of 1,800 x 1,000 x 700 mm each.
GF Casting Solutions agreed on a long-term development partnership to benefit quickly from the future development of the technology and to bilaterally improve the production processes.