Post-processing to automate 3D printing at Formnext 2022 –


According to the new report “Post-Processing for Additive Manufacturing: Market Analysis and Forecast” from SmarTech Analysis, this niche segment of the 3D printing industry is expected to reach $1.8 billion by 2031. This explosive growth of just $320 million today is already taking shape at Formnext 2022, where many companies are introducing unique post-processing solutions that will automate what is typically a labor and cost-intensive aspect of workflow 3D printing work. These are just some of the announcements that were made ahead of the event.

Powder coating software for metal 3D printing

The post-processing segment is extremely small, with approximately 80% of vendors being 3D printer manufacturers themselves. Outside of these original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), there are only a handful of big names, Solukon being one of them. The company focuses on automatic depowdering, with customers including Siemens, Audi and Lockheed Martin. After releasing dusting machines, as well as a sensor and an interface kit, the Augsburg firm now markets unique software called SPR-Pathfinder.

Not to be confused with Strategic Oil Reserves, SPR-Pathfinder is a tool that makes a digital twin of a 3D printed part to generate the best footprint dusting operation. Solukon’s depowdering machines work by performing targeted rotation and vibration to remove loose powder from 3D printed parts. Using flow simulation and the digital twin of the room, SPR-Pathfinder performs the ideal motion sequence to clean complex items.

SPR-Pathfinder was developed by Siemens Technology in a joint project with Solukon, which resulted in the team receiving the TCT Postprocessing Award for 2019. The software was used only by development partners, but now that Solukon has acquired the exclusive rights to the software, it is now marketed for Solukon customers.

Depowdering for EOS polymer 3D printing

Already a user of Solukon’s metal depowdering, EOS is now partnering with PostProcess Technologies to distribute the latter’s Variable Acoustic Displacement™ (VAD) technology. VAD performs loose powder release, transfer and recovery in a thermodynamically controlled process with video and infrared monitoring. In addition to improving post-processing time and reducing overall operating costs, VAD improves safety, repeatability and employee productivity.

The VAD system from PostProcess Technologies.

Nikolai Zaepernick, Commercial Director at EOS, said: “This partnership with PostProcess provides a digital connection that enables traceability and connectivity. We have found the perfect combination with PostProcess to provide our customers with sustainable automated post-processing for their delicate and complex parts manufactured using the EOS P 500.”

VAD was introduced in 2020 and is still under an early access program allowing customers to use the technology. PostProcess suggests it “has worked successfully with large industrial customers, processing hundreds of SLS cakes and thousands of parts in production environments.” From now on, EOS will contribute to the dissemination of VAD to its own selective laser sintering customers.

Digital manufacturing factory of the future

Another leader in the field of post-processing, AMT, will present a stand of nearly 200 square meters over two floors at Formnext to convey a concept of the digital manufacturing factory of the future. The stand will showcase a PostPro DP Max cleaning system, plus an SF chemical vapor smoothing machine, an end-to-end digital manufacturing system (DMS) and a new “revolutionary material-specific surface finishing system” which will be announced at the event.

A rendering of AMT’s Factory of the Future concept booth. Image courtesy of AMT.

Overall, this will be organized to communicate a factory of the future, created with Steel Roots Design. Additionally, the company will host its second annual PostPro Fest Formnext networking event on the night of Wednesday, November 16, 2022 at Chinaski Frankfurt. Here you will find information about the event and how to register.


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