GE Research, voxeljet Look to 3D-Print Molds to Cast Nacelle Components


GE Research has selected voxeljet, GE Onshore Wind, GE Offshore Wind, GE Hydro, Clemson University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Hodge Foundry as partners on the Advanced Casting Cell (ACC) project: a DOE-funded initiative aimed at producing 3D-printed large-scale sand molds to cast components for the nacelle of the GE Haliade-X offshore wind turbine.

The Advanced Casting Cell project was established to strengthen the U.S. manufacturing industry and expertise to boost the cost-effective domestic production of large metallic near net shape (NNS) components. The ACC will be developed and deployed to produce sand molds to manufacture metallic NNS parts. With development of the ACC, the project includes the digital creation of mold designs via a digital foundry as well as the completion of a techno-economic analysis of cost and supply chain challenges.

The Haliade-X nacelle can weigh more than 60 metric tons. The goal is to reduce the time it takes to produce this pattern and mold from around 10 weeks to two weeks.

“We’re excited to be a part of this future-driven and innovative project,” says Dr. Ingo Ederer, CEO of voxeljet. “The development and cost-efficient manufacturing of clean power-generation technologies is in high-demand because it is key to meeting and overcoming global climate challenges. We are confident that additive manufacturing, and specifically our large-scale Binder Jetting technology, is the right choice to manufacture complex parts used in these next-generation wind turbines.”

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