In additive manufacturing (AM), wet blasting has been overlooked as a clean, reliable, and repeatable process. It is ideal for parts created by direct metal laser melting (DMLS) or selective laser sintering (SLS). The process removes powder residue that adheres to AM workpieces even in hard-to-reach internal channels and on complex shapes. And since there are no dust explosion risks, wet blasting is not subject to ATEX regulations.
AM Solutions, part of the Rösler Group, has an array of post-processing machines, including the S1 Wet wet-blasting solution for cleaning and finishing surfaces. In its finishing area, the system delivers smooth surfaces in a precise and repeatable process.
“AM has its own unique set of requirements when it comes to post-processing. Many companies planning to use AM as a production technology are unaware that, in some instances, post-processing can account for up to half of the cost of a finished AM part or component. As such, the use of efficient, automated post-processing technologies is vital,” said Colin Spellacy, head of sales at AM Solutions UK.
Alongside the S1 Wet, the S1 machine is another post-processing solution for powder bed fusion (PBF) technologies. The S1 has a small footprint with automatic abrasive concentration control. It can process metal or plastic parts individually or in batches, recycles the process water, and can be run in manual, semi-automatic, and fully automatic modes.
The self-contained S1 unit is also suitable for surface finishing or de-powdered metal components made from non-reactive metals and is equipped with a blast media conditioning system for optimal and consistent quality of the blasting media. Moreover, it features a newly developed air management system, which means even fewer deposits in the interior.
AM Solutions has additional machines for post-processing plastics and metal parts, such as the C1 and M1 Basic technologies.
“The C1 is a sophisticated solution for automated and cost-effective post-processing of photopolymer parts. The machine processes precise functional components and designs objects with filigree structures and complex prototypes,” said Spellacy. “Our M1 Basic is being used extensively in AM production environments as our all-around post-processing solution for the surface smoothing and polishing of single parts and small batches and can handle both plastic and metal AM parts. It is a compact machine, which means it easily integrates into practically any manufacturing line, and multiple parts can be simultaneously treated in separate processing chambers through the installation of divider plates. For many components, mass finishing represents a cost-effective alternative to chemical smoothing. We really do have a solution for any AM process, and as we make all of our machines in-house, we can always customize solutions to specific applications where necessary.”
AM Solutions will be showcasing an array of options at TCT 3Sixty in Birmingham, U.K., June 7-8, 2023, at booth C39 in Hall 1. The company’s S2 continuous flow shot blast system — used for the automatic cleaning and surface finishing of plastic components printed with powder-bed-based printing technologies — has been voted as a finalist in the TCT Awards 2023.