The focus on effective and efficient post-processing technologies for additively manufactured production parts has become a dominant focus in the additive manufacturing (AM) space. For many applications, the cost and time implications of post-processing are often prohibitive, usually requiring considerable human intervention which sees post-processing costs being higher than the cost of material and build.
The demand is for fully automated, safe, sustainable, and digitally connected post-processing solutions.
At booth 656 at the upcoming RAPID 2019 show, 20-23 May, Detroit, MI, USA, AMT will showcase its PostPro3D system, and introduce the PostPro3DColor and the PostPro3DMini. Like the original PostPro3D, these systems feature the proprietary Boundary Layer Automated Smoothing Technology (BLAST) for mass production applications ranging from aerospace to footwear.
BLAST is a physio-chemical performance- and aesthetics-enhancing process that can smooth a variety of thermoplastic polymers, and is a non-line-of-sight process that can smooth surfaces and complex internal cavities of polymer 3D printed parts. The process is controllable, allowing reproducible results with no degradation of the mechanical properties of parts. Extensive testing has demonstrated no loss in Ultimate Tensile Strength (UTS) of parts with an increase in Elongation at Break (EAB). The increase in EAB is due to the reduction of crack initiation sites on the polymer surface due to the removal of surface porosity.
The PostPro3D hardware system is an automated post-processing solution that can achieve a surface quality equal to or better than injection molding on parts printed using laser sintering, HP Multi Jet Fusion, high speed sintering, or fused deposition modeling technology. It achieves such surface quality through a series of pre-defined parameter sets and algorithms.
The PostPro3DColor can smooth and color 3D printed parts in a single step without using water and without disposable waste streams.
The PostPro3DMini offers all the advantages of the PostPro3D machine, but in a more compact unit for smaller production runs, STEM programs and design studios.
Parts processed in the PostPro3d machine exhibit no more than 0.4% dimensional change irrespective of desired surface finish, which ensures retention of fine details and the achievement of tight tolerance requirements. Typical process time for the PostPro3D is 90 – 120 minutes, and parts are ready to use when removed from the machine, requiring no further post-processing steps.
AMT is working in partnership with numerous OEMs, vendors and material suppliers to take the pain out of post-processing with an intelligent and collaborative approach.