Automated sieving technology streamlines metal powder handling for AM process

October 20, 2016

Automated sieving technology streamlines metal powder handling for AM process

Farleygreene, based in Hampshire, UK, is a designer and manufacturer of state of the art sieving equipment and technologies. The company has announced a new metal powder sieving system that it is targeting specifically at the Additive Manufacturing industry. The company’s Sievgen unit offers an ultrasonic screening system with inert atmosphere for classifying and recycling of metal powders pre and post build.

Sieving as a process has been around for many years, providing traditional industries with their screening needs. Taking the successes and lessons learned from previous projects, coupled with Farleygreene’s 40 years of expertise, Sievgen is said to bring powder handling in-line with the high end AM machines on the market today. “The irony of this high-tech industry is that it requires a great deal of ‘hands-on-hours’ throughout the process, especially in what’s seen as the ‘dirty’ practice of powder handling. Both production and powder costs are decreasing whilst skilled labour is of course expensive and, for many companies, this is the limiting factor,” stated David Buckley, Sievgen Product Manager at Farleygreene. “The way to combat this is to bring the mechanisation of this ‘dirty’ side of the process up to the advanced level of equipment that exists within AM machines themselves.”

With the high costs involved in using different media types this new system gives the user a quality assured powder for first time use, with the added benefit of reclaiming used powders where permitted. This unique product is capable of high-throughputs at very low operational cost due to its ease of use and automation of the process.

Sievgen offers combined sieving and conveying, the former under an inert atmosphere in order to keep the process safe. The working parts of the machine are enclosed within a mobile, stylish and streamlined shell. A touchscreen houses the Siev-Metric control software regulating the amount of powder processed, strength of sieve vibration, and controlling the ultrasonic generator and powder loading pneumatic transfer system. Siev-Metric also logs the amount of powder processed, allowing for batch control by material.

When in normal use the system provides for a completely sealed and dust tight process. The feed hopper is docked into place to feed the sieve unit with a self-sealing interface and the media is introduced through an internal metering device to ensure the optimum screen dwell time to recover as much useable material as possible. Oversize powder is continuously removed and ‘good’ product falls through the ultrasonically excited mesh.

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

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Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

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  • The next generation: Using metal AM to drive emissions reduction and educate the engineers of the future
  • Advances in the AM of refractory metals and hard materials at the 20th Plansee Seminar
  • Additive Manufacturing needs you: Why you and your company should get involved in standards development

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