Innovation That Matters

Enable have created an infographic which explains the benefits of their new hybrid process | Photo source Enable

New manufacturing process lowers the price of complex metal parts


The new technology is estimated to lower production costs by up to 80 percent compared to 3D printing

There is a thorny issue at the heart of metal parts manufacturing: complex parts can’t be manufactured through traditional casting methods. Until now, theses pieces have been 3D printed. But this comes at a high price. Enable Manufacturing have announced the launch of a new manufacturing process that addresses this problem. It may be a game changer for the industry.

Enable’s Vacuum Additive Casting® technology will allow complex parts to be produced at a fraction of the price of direct 3D metal printing. According to Enable, this new process could be up to 80 percent less expensive. What is more, the parts produced are small and extremely lightweight, weighing only a few grams. 

Enable’s process combines old and new techniques. Traditional casting involves pouring molten metal into a mould in the shape required. The main benefit of this approach, is that it is scalable and offers a wide choice of metals. But—until now—it has not been possible to cast more complex components. Vacuum Additive Casting® creates moulds and patterns through 3D printing. A unique approach to vacuum casting can then be used to draw the metal into these fine structures.

In short, parts that previously could not be cast, now can be using Enable’s hybrid approach. As a result, the new process is scalable and offers a greater choice of metal for highly complex parts. Enable currently produce 130 different metals, in quantities from 100 grams to several tonnes.

In Enable’s own words, “It [the process] bridges the gap between traditional casting and state-of-the-art manufacturing, offering the volume benefits of casting while increasing possible complexity, cutting lead times and eliminating the need for expensive tooling.”

3D printing has been a hot topic for a number of years, and we have seen many 3D printing innovations. These include 3D-printed fabric and 3D-printable composite building materials.

Written By: Katrina Lane



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