Tritone’s MoldJet technology reduces manufacturing costs and lead times for metal parts

Tritone is an Israeli 3D printer manufacturer that has developed a unique additive manufacturing technology called MoldJet®. This makes it possible to design metal parts from a stream of material and a metal paste. One of the key advantages of this method is the possibility of creating large series in a short time, as the system has several printing plates that work in parallel. In France, it is the company ERM Fab & Test which markets the technology and now supports manufacturers in their manufacturing projects. Moreover, among the first users of the Tritone solution, we can mention the company AMT Metal, a subsidiary of Runout Ltd., a service provider specializing in the aeronautics sector. By combining Tritone’s additive manufacturing solution with CNC machines, the company is able to produce high-performance metal parts faster while meeting the constraints of a demanding industry.

It is clear that in recent years there has been a growth in metal manufacturing, with increasingly varied processes. Historically, powder bed technologies using a laser have largely dominated the market, but for some time we have been witnessing the development of processes approaching metal injection molding techniques; one thinks, for example, of technologies for extruding metal-filled filaments. More recently, the Israeli manufacturer entered the 3D printing market with the aim of allowing the creation of metal parts in large series, all at relatively affordable prices and with a variety of compatible materials – stainless steels, copper, titanium and many more.

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Tritone’s Dominant machine (photo credits: Tritone)

Tritone’s MoldJet technology

It all starts with the use of a special carousel design with independent trays, which allows a parallel workflow in the multiple processing of parts ranging in size from a few mm to 40 cm, providing industrial manufacturing speed. The Tritone system is compatible with a variety of metals by simply replacing the paste dispenser with the desired metal. In the next station, a metal paste is applied to the mould. A precision blade moves over the filled mold and sweeps away excess batter, resulting in a flat molded layer. Next, the station switches to thermal phase to harden the new layer, which is now ready for real-time visual inspection. An AI camera analyzes the layer and ensures that it conforms to the final model. If not, the defective layer is removed, and the previous layer is repeated without affecting the whole process. This allows real-time quality control of parts during manufacturing.

This process repeats layer after layer at industrial speed. The parts are then removed from the tray and thanks to its hardening phase, it is possible to continue the process in complete safety. The parts are placed in the mold release solution which chemically dissolves all of the mold material. This soluble demolding method allows unlimited design freedom, resulting in a green, clean and robust part ready to be sintered.

The choice of Tritone technology by AMT Metal

AMT Metal is one of the first beta testers of the Tritone solution. Historically a user of CNC machines, she turned to additive manufacturing because she was faced with high labor costs, while having difficulty finding qualified experts. They needed a complementary solution to reduce costs and turnaround times. After 5 years of research and monitoring, it chose MoldJet® technology for its manufacturing volume: AMT Metal produces thousands of parts, of different shapes and geometries. It was necessary to find a technology that could meet these two challenges.

Arnon Langevitz, CEO, AMT Metal, told us: “ Tritone’s technology does not involve any handling of metal powder. Therefore, the printer can be installed next to our CNC machines without special requirements. It also makes it possible to manufacture parts with different geometries side by side, while meeting the constraints of our customers in the aerospace industry.. »

Combining CNC machining and MoldJet® technology

Runout manufactures, among other things, piston guides for hydraulic pumps. These parts include lots of details and features like different thread sizes and a small drain hole. They are time consuming and expensive to produce via CNC machines. The teams therefore wanted to explore another manufacturing method and see what could be done, while keeping the same characteristics and requirements.

AMT Metal therefore 3D printed this piston guide with 15-5PH steel and retouched it thanks to machining. Arnon Langevitz explains: We took the same T-shaped geometry, used the same material, and printed our piston guide. We then machined the threads and the holes. With additive manufacturing, and in particular the 6 trays of the Tritone machine, we went from a manufacturing time of 90 days to just 28 days. As for the cost per part, it went from 443 dollars to 149. »

The 3D printed part after the sintering step (photo credits: AMT Metal)

By combining additive manufacturing and subtractive manufacturing, the company has therefore reduced its costs by 67% and its lead times by 70%. This complementarity between the two technologies is obviously not new and manufacturers all agree that additive manufacturing is not intended to replace traditional methods, but rather to support them, or even relieve them. Arnon Langevitz concludes: Adding CNC machines is not the solution for us, we have to find more automated processes. Additive manufacturing is an answer because, even if it does not offer the same precision as machining, it comes close to it while reducing the quantity of materials required, time and costs. It is a complementary technology that will enable us to increase our production capacities. »

The final piston guide after the machining and post-processing phase (photo credits: AMT Metal)

If you want to know more about Tritone’s metal additive manufacturing process and the characteristics of its machines, visit the website of its official French distributor, ERM Fab & Test HERE.

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*Cover photo credits: Tritone

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