Solukon Maschinenbau GmbH, Augsburg, Germany, has added new features to its SFM-AT1000-S and SFM-AT800-S powder removal systems for additively manufactured parts. Both systems are based on Solukon’s SPR® (Smart Powder Recuperation) process, which removes residual powder from complex metal parts by unlimited and programmable part rotation and controlled vibration in a safety-controlled atmosphere.
The systems are reinforced to handle parts with larger dimensions, explains the company. The SFM-AT800-S, from now on, may handle parts with a size up to 600 x 600 x 600 mm (XYZ) and a weight of 300 kg. The SFM-AT1000-S, an advancement of the 800-S-system and a version particularly designed for large parts, now caters for parts with a size up to 600 x 600 x 1000 mm (XYZ) and with a weight up to 800 kg.
Martin Bullemer, Managing Director of AMCM GmbH, has explained that he is more than satisfied with the performance of Solukon’s SFM-AT1000-S. Bullemer stated, “I am excited about the quick turnaround on the need for larger depowdering volumes. The Solukon offering makes an end-to-end solution for large components possible in the first place”.
AMCM’s M4K AM machine was reportedly one of the first equipped for significantly large parts, such as rocket engines. Solukon directly replied to AMCM’s requirements for a compatible depowdering unit for such part dimensions by developing the SFM-AT1000-S.
In addition, the company notes that a main customers’ need was not only to implement larger parts but also to improve and individualise controlling. Therefore, both systems are now equipped with remote gimbal control in the form of a joystick. By using this device, the part can easily be moved along any imaginal path with variable speed. The moving path and speed can be recorded simultaneously and can later be used as an automatic program for serial cleaning.
Like in the already established versions, the systems are also able to save single positions. As provided before each position can later be manually optimised in the software and assigned by intelligent functions like waiting time, vibrating, knocking and custom-made options, like programmable blowing nozzles.
In order to handle powders like copper and aluminium, which tend to clog cavities, Solukon added a third new feature: it adapted an additional impactor system for breaking up clogged powder bulks. So far, Solukon’s SPR technology provides high frequent vibration to ensure fluidisation of the powder. Fluidisation in this context means to make the powder flowable so that it can flow out of the finest channels and crevices.
The impactor treats the part with finely tunable knocks to loosen the clogging. The combination of Solukon’s vibration system and the new impactor is said to ensure the best depowdering results even with tough-to-handle materials. The impactor is available as an additional option for all Solukon systems.
Andreas Hartmann, co-founder of Solukon and in charge of system development, commented, “Taking a closer look at the market, we clearly see a development to larger parts with highly complicated internal geometries as well as a trend for tough-to-handle materials. Especially rocket engineering is a leading force here brilliantly designing with copper. With our latest adjustments, we want to give our customers even more opportunities to achieve their goals efficiently and comfortably.”
Hartmann added, “Listening to our customers and continuous improvement of our systems have always been our guiding principle. During this year we are planning to come up with new retrofittable add-ons for our customers.”