The ExOne Company, a provider of sand and metal 3D printers using binder jetting technology, today said it has acquired the assets of Freshmade 3D, a Youngstown, Ohio-based startup with a patented method of creating durable AMClad tooling out of sand forms 3D printed on ExOne machines.
AMClad tooling, which is 3D-printed in low-cost sand on ExOne systems and then infiltrated and coated using Freshmade 3D’s patented method, often eliminates weeks or months of time spent waiting for conventional tooling. In addition, it typically offers a 30% to 50% cost savings, according to ExOne.
The process can be used for a wide range of tooling applications, including composite layup, vacuum forming, compression molds, urethane casting molds, trim fixtures, hydroforming, sheet metal stamping, and more. Customers in the aerospace, art, architecture, automotive, construction, and energy industries are using AMClad tooling today, said ExOne.
Freshmade 3D acquistion to accelerate adoption
North Huntingdon, Pa.-based ExOne has been developing tooling products for its large, industrial 3D printers since 2014, and it currently offers sacrificial tooling for composite layup that washes out with water.
However, ExOne said Freshmade 3D’s patented approach offers additional unique benefits and can help accelerate adoption of 3D printed sand tooling solutions. The company said the strategic move will position it as a major provider of large-format, 3D-printed tooling for industrial applications.
“We are delighted to add Freshmade 3D’s patented process for creating durable 3D-printed tooling to our portfolio,” stated John Hartner, ExOne CEO. “We plan to scale up this process for a global aerospace customer, who intends to use this tooling for composite layup of parts. This is an ideal solution for companies looking to shorten supply chains and produce tooling and final products locally.”
“We launched AMClad with the idea of using sand 3D printing technology to deliver hard tooling faster and with more design freedom, to enable U.S. manufacturers to produce more locally and faster,” added Rich Wetzel, co-founder of Freshmade 3D, who will now join ExOne’s applications team. “ExOne is the best company to accelerate this technology as we scale up for customers who’ve decided to leverage our solution to meet production goals faster. Companies are just beginning to discover how robust and affordable this technology is over conventional tooling.”
Other AMClad applications
In addition to tooling, the AMClad process is being used to produce artwork or restoration pieces, including replication statues for museum exhibits, exterior reproductions for architectural refurbishment, or custom chrome details on classic cars, said ExOne. The versatile surface finishes available with the AMClad process include metal, stone, or painted finishes that allow for a range of artistic applications to be realized in a cost-effective manner, said ExOne.
An AMClad replica of the Statue of Liberty’s Italian sister – the Liberty of Poetry – was featured at Ellis Island and now resides at Kent State University.
Wetzel, Christopher Tomko, and Dr. Brett Conner founded Freshmade 3D in 2016 and is a portfolio company of the Youngstown Business Incubator, which supports the development of innovative high-tech companies in the Northeast Ohio region.
Freshmade 3D has also received development support from America Makes, part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation established by the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2014.
“We’re so proud to be a part of Freshmade 3D’s success,” said Barb Ewing, CEO of the Youngstown Business Incubator. “Two of the three founders started their entrepreneurial career as part of our team. They are proof that Northeast Ohio is fast becoming the epicenter for additive manufacturing in North America.”
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