Piab offers automated powder handling for Additive Manufacturing

January 19, 2021

Piab’s piFLOW®p vacuum conveyor can be integrated into the Additive Manufacturing process line (Courtesy Piab AB)

Global industrial automation provider Piab AB, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, is offering a range of solutions for the handling of metal powders in the Additive Manufacturing industry. With increasing demands on safety, process reliability and quality, the company sees the need for automating metal powder handling to establish the technology as a standard process in the medical, aerospace and automotive sectors.

Metal powder handling requires special attention due to its hazardous potential for employees, explosiveness, and high monetary value.

Piab states that the solution to these three issues is a closed and automated metal powder handling process, based on vacuum conveying technology. A technology which has already proven to be an optimal solution in the pharma and chemical industries, which face similar material handling challenges.

The company’s vacuum conveyors are said to offer a small footprint with low building height, easy cleaning, low noise levels and ATEX certifications in the Additive Manufacturing industry. The contained and enclosed system minimises the spread of the dust during transportation of the material, minimising the exposure and making Piab’s vacuum technology ideally suited to transfer metal powders. Moreover, it keeps the material from contamination with impurities from other particles.

A high-performance vacuum pump ensures a continuous material flow, even at high bulk densities (Courtesy Piab AB)

Piab has configured specific set­ups of its premium piFLOW®p vacuum conveyor for different pure metal and alloy types, as well as different production settings, and can be used in filling the AM machine, sieve or hopper, or to reclaim metal powder from the AM machine.

In the filling stage, virgin or reclaimed metal powder is transported from a sieve/metal barrel or hopper to the AM machine. Piab’s vacuum conveyors can pick-up powder directly from the barrel and feed the AM machine, thereby increasing productivity as well as employee safety.

To identify the optimal conveying set-ups for the Additive Manufacturing industry, Piab has run numerous tests with various typical AM materials, including stainless steel and aluminium powders. For quantities between 200–500 kg, distances of up to 50 m where achievable, as were height differences of up to 8 m.

Additional accessories, such as feed nozzles and adapters, as well as a module to fit the receiver are available — as are customised solutions for inert gas applications and compact style conveyors.

www.piab.com

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Download PDF
 

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

  • Transforming access to medical implants with PrinterPrezz
  • Lessons from 2021’s Olympic bike crash
  • Xerox liquid metal AM
  • Additive Manufacturing for oil, gas and maritime
  • Multi-material metal parts by Powder Bed Fusion
  • Findings from Wohlers Report 2022
  • The challenge of grain size: X-ray powder diffraction analysis of parts made by metal AM

The world of metal AM to your inbox

Don't miss any new issue of Metal AM magazine, and get the latest industry news. Sign up to our twice weekly newsletter.

Sign up

News from the industry…

    News from the industry…

    Discover our magazine archive…

    The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:

    • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
    • Articles on technology and application trends
    • Information on materials developments
    • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
    • International industry news

    All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.

    Browse the archive

    qweqw

    Looking for AM machines, metal powders or part manufacturing services?

    Discover suppliers of these and more in our comprehensive advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of Metal AM magazine.

    • AM machines
    • Process monitoring & calibration
    • Heat treatment & sintering
    • HIP systems & services
    • Pre- & post-processing technology
    • Powders, powder production and analysis
    • Part manufacturers
    • Consulting, training & market data
    Download PDF
    Share via
    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap