Principal investigator: Guha Manogharan, Paul Lynch

University: The Pennsylvania State University

Industry partners: Hazleton Casting Company

Metal casting is one of the most important sectors in the Pennsylvania manufacturing economy. The goal of this project, NextGen-3D4PA, is to establish a robust, collaborative 3D sand-printing (3DSP) program between PA foundries and the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) to:

  1. Develop novel design-fabrication-instrumented 3DSP molds for high-value castings
  2. Further the current-future workforce pipeline between PSU and PA foundries into the future of 3DSP technology
  3. Demonstrate technological viability and economic feasibility of university-developed 3DSP techniques into commercial products for the PA foundries
  4. Provide innovative design and manufacturing solutions to produce defect-free castings via 3DSP through validated novel mold design methodologies being developed at PSU

Over 70% of all metal castings annually are produced using a traditional sand casting process at a 35% scrap rate, where 87% of the scrap results from turbulent flow and feeding defects. Also, the traditional sand casting process is cost prohibitive due to the need for expensive hard-tooling. The increasing adoption of highly expensive “direct” metal additive manufacturing (AM) processes is attributed to advancements in design, computational modeling of AM processes, and real-time monitoring capabilities. Hence, (PA) foundries are often left out of this evolving, direct, digital supply chain due to the prohibitive costs of direct metal AM, limited alloys, limited build size, and metal AM’s suitability to their current products. This offers a unique opportunity for NextGen-3D4PA to advance the adoption of “indirect” metal AM in PA foundries, where the molds and cores for metal casting can now be produced using 3DSP. The status quo in applying traditional knowledge on casting hydrodynamics (i.e., 2D) by the existing workforce has been largely unchanged for several decades due to inherent limitations in conventional mold design. NextGen-3D4PA address these challenges by both developing readily implementable solutions for PA foundries via 3DSP and training students in this future of foundries with industry-led demonstration projects.