A custom designer and manufacturer of aluminum automotive components is the first commercial operation to adopt a metal printing technology. Becker CAD-CAM-Cast Inc., in Wixom, MI, will install the Vader Systems’ Mk1 3D printer, adding it to its range of capabilities for developing and producing prototypes and finished parts for motor sports programs, engine developers, foundries, custom or vintage automotive projects, and automotive manufacturers.
Vader Systems’ patented MagnetoJet technology melts aluminum wire and uses electromagnetic propulsion to produce droplets of molten metal, on demand and with precision. According to the developer, this process “allows parts to be formed at unprecedented rates and with reduced operational costs in comparison to powder bed processes.”
Becker, which has engineering and production capabilities in Steffenberg, Germany as well as in Michigan, already offers laser sintering production, sand printing for molds and cores, low-volume foundry sand casting, and selective laser melting (SLM) production. The new 3D printer will be in operation at the Wixom plant in Q1 2018, and a second system is planned for the German plant later next year.
Vader Systems, of Buffalo, NY, states that its metal 3D printing technology “will make additive manufacturing affordable for an expanded market.” It also claims safety and material-sourcing advantages.
More specifically, because the MagnetoJet technology uses standard aluminum wire, the developer projects that the Mk1 will achieve a 10X decrease in material costs. It will produce dense parts without the need for lengthy post-processing. The present capability involves printing parts with 4043 aluminum wire; 6061 and 7075 aluminum, copper, and bronze alloys are under development, it added.
"An important part of my vision in developing this technology was to impact the automotive industry,” stated Zachary Vader, chief innovation officer and co-founder. “I'm thrilled that a company of Becker's caliber has recognized this potential and is choosing to integrate the Mk1 into their manufacturing process."
According to Michael Becker, CEO, "Vader's printing technology is a game-changer for cost-effective, low-volume production of aluminum components. It aligns with our goal to deliver shorter lead times and higher performance for our customers."