AddUp, Clermont-Ferrand, France, offers a range of Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) machines. These machines require metal powder supply systems, as well as systems for unused powder processing. AZO, a German-based company specialising in powder material handling solutions, offers conveying, dosing, weighing, screening, storage and recycling systems for food, chemical, pharmaceutical and plastic industries.
In 2018, the companies partnered on a project to develop and market a fully automated powder management module that meets the specific needs of metal AM. The goals were multiple, aiming to simplify the loading and unloading operations of powder on machines, avoid any risk of supply breakdown during production and guarantee maximum protection for operators.
Today, the duo are launching their solution in a system called ‘Autonomous Powder Module’. Originally presented at Formnext in 2019, it is said to be the first equipment compatible with all types of metal powders, be they reactive or cohesive, medium or small particle size. This flexibility enables the feeding of the machines without interrupting production, and offers continuous sieving and drying functions to ensure the evenness of powder properties during manufacturing.
As operations are carried out in an inert atmosphere, the system also offers a high degree of safety, especially for air-reactive powders such as certain titanium and aluminium alloys. The objective of this was a system allowing operators to avoid contact with powders, thus adhering to the recommendations of AddUp’s own HSE (Hygiene/Security/Environment) standards as well as AFNOR’s (France’s ISO member body, Association Française de Normalisation) XP E67-006. ‘The Autonomous Powder Module’ is already used by an industrial company based in France. AddUp is set to expand this offer to customers of its ‘FormUp’ machine range.