Metal 3D Printing as a Suitable Alternative for Casting

KSK Precise Motion is a globally sought-after partner for machine and equipment manufacturers. KSK Precise Motion, originally an engineering company from Czechia, has been producing ball screws and other precision components for over 50 years. These parts are produced in a 120-person production process, distributed globally, and are used in a wide range of industrial areas, such as machine tools and injection molding machines, as well as in automation and energy. KSK Precise Motion requested 3D printed parts for a specific nut for a ball screw.

Small series printed by KSK on the XM200C by Xact Metal, the affordable metal 3d printer manufacturer.The company wanted to optimize its production speed. The search for a solution began by designing geometries that would be printable using the XM200C, a powder-bed fusion 3D printer by Xact Metal. After studying the designs, the decision to use this printer was practically unanimous because the transducer prints require a highly accurate path geometry, and the quality of the parts must be repeatable. These goals were attainable with metal 3d printing.

When choosing a suitable technology, it was important to be aware of the construction volume because the goal was to print large quantities at once, while still completing the order in a relatively short amount of time. The XM200C was able to accomplish both goals handily, and therefore was the perfect choice for this project.

3D metal printing allows you to print complicated or articulated shapes that are very difficult metal 3d printed part(or sometimes impossible) to machine. Therefore, 3D printing converters for non-standard or low-volume orders is a suitable alternative for KSK Precise Motion, compared to casting these parts. 3D printing also accommodates a wide range of materials. For this project, 316L stainless steel was used because it is typically used in construction settings and has a strong resistance to corrosion and mechanical stress.

Once printed, these parts go through an inspection compared to documentation and the parts are immediately handed over to the production line, where the ball screws are assembled without any further post-processing.

Cost Savings and Moving Forward

Thanks to the success of metal 3d printing in this project, KSK Precise Motion has expanded its portfolio of used ball converters. This expansion would not have been possible if it was not for the cost savings from metal 3d printing compared to traditional machining the company was previously doing.