Desktop Metal announced the launch of the ExOne S-Max Flex, a scalable, large-format binder jetting system that 3D prints sand tooling. Applications include sand casting complex metal designs for the aerospace, automotive, and energy industries.
ExOne was acquired by Desktop Metal in late 2021. The S-Max Flex combines ExOne’s sand printing expertise in process and materials with proprietary Desktop Metal SPJ technology.
The S-Max Flex will debut at CastExpo 2022, North America’s largest metalcasting trade show, from April 23-26 in Columbus, Ohio.
“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 range of applications,” said Ric Fulop, Co-Founder and CEO of Desktop Metal. “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.”
The S-Max Flex pairs an affordable industrial robot with an all-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 grows as the parts are built layer by layer. Additional build box sizes are available up to 4700 x 1000 x 1000 mm (185 x 39 x 39 in.), with taller versions available up to 1000 x 2500 x 2400 mm (39 x 98 x 94 in.).
Desktop Metal’s SPJ technology delivers a build rate up to 115 l/h.
The S-Max Flex prints standard silica sand with furan binders and delivers final parts with dimensional accuracy of +/- 0.5 mm. The system comes with several accessories and safety features that are configurable to fit a variety of spaces.
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% 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.
Industries beyond metal casting are also set to take advantage of the S-Max Flex’s large form factor and ability to binder jet a variety of powders. Infiltrated sand tooling for plastic thermoforming, composite layup, and sacrificial tooling applications are printed today on S-Max machines, along with infiltrated sand consumer products, such as those offered by Sandhelden and Deeptime. Desktop Metal’s Forust brand, which upcycles byproducts of the wood waste stream into consumer designs, will also leverage the new system to print large form factor wood parts at scale cost-effectively. Additional projects are underway printing reclaimed concrete and other materials.