BMW Group enhances SLS 3D printed parts production with Solukon’s SFP770 post-processing system

Three years after the introduction of Solukon's SFP770 post-processing system, at Formnext 2020, German automotive manufacturer BMW Group has bought it to boost their SLS 3D printed parts production. Image Credits: Solukon

German automotive manufacturer BMW Group will improve its SLS 3D printed parts production facility with Solukon’s SFP770 post-processing system. With a combined unpacking and cleaning station, this machine can accommodate build boxes from other 3D printers. As a reminder, the station is compatible with the EOS P 770, FORMIGA P 110 and EOS P 500 (with adapters for the latter two) systems and encompasses the 3D printer’s entire build box.

The SFP770 system will help unpack and clean prototype 3D printed plastic parts made in polyamide for BMW Group. It features an automated unpacking and blasting unit for surface cleaning and finishing with ionized compressed air.

Solukon presented the SP770 post-processing system at Formnext, three years ago and now it is making headway in the AM industry with this delivery to the BMW Group along with a second purchase by its pilot customer. 

The SFP770 post-processing system does cleaning of the SLS 3D printed parts in the following steps:

  • At first, the build box of the  EOS P 770 system is loaded in the system by a lift truck
  • Then unpacking is done when a vibrating sieve cover is placed over the inserted build box which gently rotates overhead. The optional programmable process gradually unpacks the components. The loose powder is extracted from the sieve cover directly without any contamination and transferred into a recycling unit. 
  • Transferring starts once the unpacking process is completed and the build box rotates towards the basket while the sieve cover opens to carefully slide the SLS 3D printed parts into the basket. This automatic transfer in the SP770 post-processing system can be paused to do manual transfer of components that don’t require cleaning. 
  • The final cleaning step happens when the basket starts rotating in the direction of the blasting unit. The fully automated cleaning process removes any residual powder from the plastic parts with the help of glass bead blasts and ionized air by controlling parameters like basket rotation, blast intensity and rotation angle

Cross-section of SFP770 post-processing system. Image Credits: Solukon

Speaking about the SFP770 post processing system, the CEO of Solukon Andreas Hartmann said: “Because so many process parameters can be programmed, the SFP770 achieves the best cleaning results, regardless of the part material and without any manual intermediate steps. Our system offers another advantage: parts of different shapes and sizes can be cleaned at the same time”. 

The SP770 system is mostly helpful for AM companies with very high part output as it can completely unpack and clean a fully loaded build box with an assembly space of 150 liters in only 30 minutes, ultimately handling several jobs per day. 

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