Large parts that inevitably require automated depowdering are a growing trend in powder-based 3D printing. As a result, increasingly large quantities of powder accrue during depowdering. At the same time, more and more parts created using additive manufacturing are going into series production.
With the Solukon Powder Collection Unit (SFM-PCU), a fully automated powder collection solution for metal powder, Solukon makes powder handling immediately after depowdering simpler and safer.
During automated depowdering with Solukon SPR technology, the powder collects in the hopper at the bottom of the Solukon SFM-AT1000-S. With the help of the integrated vacuum conveyor system, the SFM-PCU vacuums up the powder at a sensor-monitored transfer point. It then goes through a hose and is gently transported into a large container. From there, the contaminated material can be transferred through a neutral interface to a recycling station or the like, where it is made available for further printing processes. The container is rollable and can be exchanged during the process. The filling level inside the container is scanned by a sensor and can also be checked through large inspection windows. With the direct digital connection to the Solukon depowdering system, users always have a real-time overview of the process status.
When the SFM-PCU is integrated into the system, users no longer have direct contact to the powder material during depowdering: the powder remains in a closed system at all times.
“This makes it possible to meet the most stringent occupational health and safety requirements and achieve a new milestone on our path towards a dust-free factory,” said Benedikt Lutzenberger, an employee in the Product Care department and head of the SFM-PCU powder collection unit project. Since the powder no longer has to be ejected manually, larger quantities of powder can be transported away more quickly, making the depowdering process even more efficient. Emptying and subsequently cleaning the Solukon depowdering system is also easier.
The powder collection unit is designed for a particularly high volume of powder, which makes it the ideal peripheral for Solukon systems in both the large part segment (SFM-AT1000-S and SFM-AT800-S) and for automated serial production. Since the container at the unit has a substantial volume of over 100 liters, one peripheral unit can be coupled to up to three single-material Solukon systems.
Solukon will launch the SFM-PCU powder collection unit at Formnext 2023 in Frankfurt, Germany from 7–10 November.