Post-processing technology increases 3D printing efficiency
Source: press release
In order to streamline its post-processing operations, Prototec, a company specializing in 3D printing, purchased the new S1 system from AM Solutions. The general manager was impressed with the operational flexibility and excellent cleaning performance of this machine.
Prototec, located in Attendorn in the German province of North Rhine-Westphalia, is known as one of the first and oldest 3D printing companies in Germany. With different printing systems, the company provides high-end, tailor-made solutions for customers in many industrial sectors ranging from prototyping, concept, design and functional models to printing small and medium batches of components. in plastic and in metal. In particular, the production of larger product batches is rapidly gaining in importance. Managing Director Torsten Wolschendorf explains: “3D printing has established itself as a rapid prototyping technology. But now the trend is definitely towards volume production. To provide cost-effective solutions to our customers in this area, we are currently investing in several new 3D printing and post-processing systems. In particular, post-processing in the SLS area offers great potential and contributes significantly to better quality and cost-effectiveness of our products. With AM Solutions, we have found a partner capable of offering excellent technological and economic solutions.
A convincing two-in-one concept
For this reason, since July 2021, Prototec has been using an S1 system from AM Solutions for cleaning and surface finishing of products printed with the SLS method. “I carefully studied the offers of many suppliers. But I finally decided to buy the S1, because it offered the greatest operational flexibility”, comments Torsten Wolschendorf. In fact, the machine’s intelligent plug-and-play concept sets new standards in the field of post-processing components printed with powder-based polymer printing systems. What is particularly impressive is that depowdering, cleaning and surface finishing functions can all be handled in one machine. Depending on requirements, the blasting media can be replaced easily and quickly. This operation only takes a few minutes. The 2-in-1 concept not only saves the expense but also the space required for an additional machine. Whenever special individual components need to be processed, the integrated machine controls allow easy switching to manual operation. Tedious retooling, as is the case with other machines, is no longer necessary.
Machine controls with a color display panel provide intuitive menu navigation and call up to 30 processing programs.
Excellent cleaning performance
The S1 enables efficient and automated removal of residual powder from components after the printing operation. Torsten Wolschendorf continues: “In fact, the cleaning performance of the S1 is so good that we save a lot of time with the previous unpacking operation”. In this context, the efficient abrasive cleaning and recycling system is particularly advantageous. It separates usable blast media from decomposed media and loose powder removed from components. This not only ensures consistent blasting results, but also longer availability of the dust cartridges.
Components are processed in a tilting rotating basket. Rotation gently tilts the workpieces on top of each other. This guarantees consistently excellent blasting results. Torsten Wolschendorf is particularly pleased with the time savings: “The S1 has significantly reduced the time needed for post-processing. Previously, manual sandblasting of a full load of medium-sized components took approximately 5-8 hours. Today, we only need about an hour for the same process, including unpacking”.
Customer-specific design yields optimal results
In various details, the S1 design has been adapted to the specific technical requirements of Prototec. Torsten Wolschendorf concludes: “I am impressed by the open and cooperative atmosphere of AM Solutions. My comments and requests were openly received, their feasibility was examined and together we found an optimal solution”. With in-house engineering and manufacturing capabilities, such flexibility is easy for AM Solutions. In fact, it is specially promoted. Compared to other providers, this is an invaluable advantage. Ultimately, both parties benefit from the mutual exchange of information. This results in well-designed and practical solutions with significant added value for customers.