To be more flexible in the surface finishing of additively manufactured components for prototypes and small series, Oerlikon Balzers, a technology brand of the Oerlikon Group, has purchased two M1 Basic systems from AM Solutions for its laboratory in Liechtenstein. The all-around solution ensures high-quality surfaces before and after the coating process with a result that can be reproduced anytime.
Oerlikon Balzers is a global provider of highly wear-resistant coatings that significantly improve the performance and service life of precision components, cutting, and forming tools. The R&D department in Balzers, where thin-film coatings and future innovations are developed, has decided to equip its laboratory with a system for the surface treatment — before and after coating — of conventional and additively manufactured components. Balzers’ industrial PVD coatings are then applied to the components and tested for abrasion and wear in the laboratory. The choice fell on two M1 Basic systems from AM Solutions.
Especially in R&D, numerous tests are required to ensure process reliability and robustness. Plus, Oerlikon’s production sites often have special customer requests and needs. It was therefore decided that the R&D and Production Technologies department in Balzers also provides in-house surface finishing capabilities, such as the new M1 Basic systems, which help shorten project timelines.
A decisive advantage of the M1 Basic used in Oerlikon’s Lab is that it can be flexibly integrated into processes. It is extraordinarily compact and has an integrated process water circuit that allows it to be used independently of a fixed location.
“The M1 Basic is a system that offers a wide range of surface treatment options and is also absolutely flexible. For example, the work area can be divided into different segments so that different processes can run on the machine at the same time,” said Simon Kresser, project engineer for mechanical pre- & post-treatment at Oerlikon.
This allows different sample parts to be processed in one step. It is also possible to process components with different abrasives. For example, the surface can first be scrubbed and smoothed during a roughening step with aggressive media and is then finished to a high gloss with a fine polishing media.
The M1 Basic is also particularly user-friendly and suitable for individual parts and small batches. It has an intelligent controller and can be used as required, thanks to the integrated software solution. To limit noise disturbance in the laboratory, the M1 Basic works with a maximum of 78 decibels, only about as loud as a car.