Desktop Metal, a leader in mass production and turnkey additive manufacturing solutions, announced the launch of ExOne S-Max Flex, a scalable, large-format binder jetting system for sand 3D printing used by foundries to quickly cast complex metal designs for the aerospace, automotive, and energy industries, among others.
ExOne (now a part of Desktop Metal) is the leading provider of digital sand printing solutions for foundries. The new S-Max Flex combines ExOne’s sand printing expertise in process and materials with proprietary Desktop Metal SPJ technology in an affordable architecture to bring new value to foundries that have long desired an S-Max but have found the premium price out of reach.
All-New ExOne S-Max Flex
The S-Max Flex combines a low-cost industrial robot with an entirely new end effector printhead design that deposits binder into a 1900 x 1000 x 1000 mm (74 x 39 x 39 in) telescoping build box that expands as the parts are built layer by layer. Additional build box sizes range from 4700 x 1000 x 1000 mm (185 x 39 x 39 in) to 1000 x 2500 x 2400 mm (185 x 39 x 39 in) (39 x 98 x 94 in).
Desktop Metal’s high throughput SPJ technology provides a build rate of up to 115 l/h, allowing foundries to operate more efficiently in times of ongoing labour shortages, as well as a faster return on investment. The S-Max Flex complements the premium S-Max® and S-Max® Pro solutions used in foundries around the world.
The all-new S-Max Flex prints standard silica sand with furan binders and produces final parts with +/- 0.5 mm dimensional accuracy. The system includes a number of accessories and safety features that can be configured to fit a variety of spaces.
“To achieve our vision of Additive Manufacturing 2.0, we need to make production 3D printing practical in terms of speed, cost, and material availability for a broad range of applications. We designed the all-new S-Max Flex from the ground up leveraging SPJ technology with the idea of making premium sand 3D printing accessible to every foundry, so that more companies can take advantage of the benefits of AM 2.0, such as distributed, local production, and remain competitive for the long term.”– Ric Fulop, Co-Founder and CEO of Desktop Metal
Industries other than metal casting will benefit from the S-Max Flex’s large form factor and ability to binder jet a variety of powders. Today, S-Max machines print infiltrated sand tooling for plastic thermoforming, composite layup, and sacrificial tooling applications, as well as infiltrated sand consumer products from Sandhelden and Deeptime. Desktop Metal’s Forust brand, which upcycles wood waste byproducts into consumer designs, will also use the new system to print large form factor wood parts at scale at a low cost. Additional projects are in the works, including the printing of reclaimed concrete and other materials.
Boosting the Foundry Industry
The ExOne S-Max Flex will make its debut at CastExpo 2022, North America’s largest metalcasting trade show, which will be held in Columbus, Ohio, from April 23 to 26. Today, Alpha Foundry in Wright City, Mo., and D.W. Clark in Taunton, Mass., released a video highlighting the benefits of the S-Max Flex for early customers.
The S-Max Flex comes to market at a time of strong demand for castings, along with challenges finding labor. After years of contraction, the U.S. metal casting industry is experiencing growth as a result of supply chain changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent survey released by the American Foundry Society shows that 90 percent of responding North American foundries have a positive business outlook and anticipate making capital investments in the next 12 months, including of 3D printers.
Additional early buyers of the new S-Max Flex include Founders Service & Manufacturing Co. Inc. of Deerfield, Ohio, and HTCI Co. of New Carlisle, Ohio.