The research project Gen-Cast founded by the German Central Innovation Program SME (Zentrales Innovationsprogramm Mittelstand – ZIM) came to a successful end in early 2014. Due to the close cooperation of the involved project partners – the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (Aachen), Härterei VTN (Witten), Marcam Engineering (Bremen), Gießerei Böhmfeld & Co. (Geseke), LBC LaserBearbeitungsCenter (Kornwestheim) and the Foundry Institute of the RWTH Aachen University – it was possible to successfully develop a combination of metal casting and selective laser melting (SLM) for the production of composite cast parts.
In particular, the material combinations cast iron/SLM-steel and copper/SLM-steel show great potential to reach the stage of industrial application. A good material bond was achieved for simple as well as complex shells, cooling channels and support structures. The logical next step will therefore be a series of tests in an industrial environment.
The Foundry Institute is already working on a continuation of the research program in the form of a consecutive project. Within the scope of this follow-up project next steps towards cooling systems applicable for conventional injection moulding and high pressure die casting processes shall be taken.