Ceramic Additive ManufacturingMaterials

ExOne to optimize sand 3D printers for use with ITOCHU Ceratech Corporation’s Naigai Cerabeads

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ExOne, the global leader in industrial sand and metal 3D printers using binder jetting technology, will optimize its sand 3D printers for use with premium Naigai Cerabeads from ITOCHU Ceratech Corporation, a leading Japanese ceramic product manufacturer.

Cerabeads are a type of premium ceramic foundry sand used to create molds and cores for metal casting high-value products in the automotive, oil & gas, mining and construction industries. That includes cylinder blocks and hydraulic valves, as well as pumps, impellers and tools. Ceratec’s Nagai Cerabeads artificial sand are made of mullite crystals with extremely stable quality. They are produced by firing spherical granules, not by crushing them.

Cerabeads artificial sand is about half as light as zircon and chromite. Compared to these natural sand and other foundry media (the material is able to turn out about twice the number of molds per unit weight). Cerabeads can deliver mold and core packages with a range of benefits that include higher-strength sand casting packages, with high heat resistance, low thermal expansion, improved final part resolution and a smoother surface finish.  It can also be handled very easily, saving labor and transfer power costs. However, the manufacturer recommends paying attention to the amount of binder addition.

Naigai Cerabeads
ExOne’s S-Max and, above, different sizes of Naigai Cerabeads

Using Cerabeads also reduces waste and dust, with high reclamation value of the materials. In addition, Cerabeads are already in use at more than 100 foundries worldwide; they can be used in traditional mold-making processes to deliver high-quality results with a range of metals, including steels (low-alloy, carbon, and stainless), iron (gray, ductile), aluminum, and other metals where tight control and surface finish is desired.

As part of its agreement, ExOne will develop and optimize the process settings of its S-Print, S-Max, and S-Max Pro sand 3D printers for use with Naigai Cerabeads. ExOne will continue to offer ITOCHU’s Cerabeads with its 3D printing technology as an optimized package to its North American customers.


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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based 3dpbm. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore, as well as 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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