Solukon Maschinenbau GmbH, Stadtbergen, Germany, has added a new compact depowdering system to its line of systems for the automated removal and processing of unfused powder from parts built on metal Powder Bed Fusion Additive Manufacturing systems.
The SFM-AT200 small-footprint machine is designed for components or build plates of up to 300 x 300 x 230 mm (11.8 x 11.8 x 9.1 in), and automates the process of removing excess unmelted powder through the systematic rotation and controlled vibration of laser melted metal parts, releasing powder trapped in voids and internal channels around and inside the component.
The system will be launched at Rapid.Tech in Erfurt, Germany, June 5–7, 2018. “The SFM-AT200 incorporates the automatic features that Solukon has developed on its large frame systems into a compact platform, designed for use with small- to medium-sized metal Powder Bed Fusion systems,” explained Andreas Hartmann, Solukon Co-founder. “Customers already working with our large frame systems have validated what they require for high-quality parts cleaning and hazard management, and now we are able to meet those needs with an entry-level system incorporating state-of-art solutions for depowdering.”
Co–founder Dominik Schmid added, “In addition to a smaller footprint, the system also reduces inert gas consumption when used for processing reactive powders such as aluminium or titanium, which pose risks for explosion if not handled correctly. Thanks to our sealed cleaning process, with the safety-monitored infusion of inert protective gas, the systems are certified for the safe processing of these materials.”
During depowdering, printed parts including build plates are fixed onto the processing table of the SFM-AT200. The process table then rotates the parts in a pre-planned path to release unused powder. At the same time, a controlled variable-frequency vibration device enables the release of compacted powder from inside the parts. Unfused powder is then collected for further processing or reuse in a specially designed container, or connected to an external sieving device.