Page 10 - 3D Metal Printing Winter 2020
P. 10

Challenges Push
Technology developments demonstrate the all-in effort to ease this huge AM hurdle.
Those tasked with supplying com- pleted metal parts via additive manufacturing (AM) know the complexity, time and costs surrounding that word ‘completed.’ Post-processing demands much from the part provider. Advancements in design software, mate- rials and printing capabilities, along with knowledge gained by industry profession- als in designing for AM allow for part cre- ation that removes some post-processing challenges. And, fine-resolution printing, in increasingly thin layers with higher- quality powders, is an option for relieving post-processing work, but doing so adds time up front. On the other hand, exces- sive finishing needs add time and headaches on the back end. To sum up: It’s a balancing act.
The bottleneck is real—AM-part pro- ducers overwhelmingly indicate that the length of time to finish parts is a key chal- lenge in post-processing. So reads the Annual Additive Post-Printing Survey: Trends Report 2019, produced by Post- Process Technologies with support from
SME (download the report at Three-quarters of respondents agree on finishing time, with the survey revealing that finishing challenges increase with more printing technologies added to the workflow. That’s significant, as the survey reveals that more than 50 percent of respondents employ two to three AM technologies, with 33 per- cent employing more than four.
Visits to print houses and tradeshows, such as the recently held formnext, con- firm both the validity of finishing chal- lenges and the efforts of suppliers to meet those challenges. Here are just a few exam- ples of these efforts found by 3D Metal Printing, and you’ll see more in future issues and online at
Post-Processing Machines from Manual to Automatic with Robotic Handling
AM Solutions, a subsidiary of Rosler, displayed a host of post-processing equip- ment at formnext. The plug-and-play design of the compact S1 system allows for manual as well as semi-automatic pro- cessing of metal and plastic parts, and also is suitable for automatic removal of residual powder after the printing opera- tion. The constant rotation of workpieces during the cleaning process reportedly ensures repeatable and consistent shot blasting results without damaging the workpiece surface.
The S3 system combines a high pro-
ductivity with the flexibility of robotic handling. The fully automatic wet blasting machine features closely controlled process parameters and is ideal for the removal of support structures and residual powder as well as surface texturing of large, complex metal and plastic compo- nents. The integrated, robot-guided oper- ation allows for targeted, gentle process- ing. It provides automatic removal of residual powder and surface homogeniza- tion with a high degree of sustainability and repeatable results, according to com- pany officials. A large, L-shaped door per- mits access through the machine roof for loading and unloading of workpieces by crane.
The M3 system post-processes delicate metal and plastic AM components with complex geometrical shapes, and that require extremely gentle processing. Indi- vidual mounting of workpieces prevents nick or scratch damage as the workpieces never touch each other. Also, with parts totally immersed while being dragged through the finishing media, the process can treat complex internal passages. Fin- ish one component measuring to 650 mm, or simultaneously treat several smaller parts. The pneumatic media-handling sys- tem eliminates the need for manual removal or addition of media, thus improving overall cost efficiency.
AM Solutions:

   8   9   10   11   12