Sauber Technologies, known for its 3D printing applications for formula 1 racing cars and other industries, has been collaborating with AM Solutions – 3D post processing technology since 2021.
Sauber Technologies AG has been using several S1 shot blast machines from AM Solutions for post processing of HiPAC components produced with the SLS printing technology. The machines enhanced the work in Sauber’s production environment. One of the advantages for the Sauber team was the fact that the blast media used in the S1 post processing system is made from polystyrol.
Vitor Sousa, team leader for additive manufacturing of plastic components at Sauber Technologies AG, explains: “In the past we used glass beads, which were less expensive. But because of their high wear-rate they had a considerable shorter life span. The polystyrol media offers a 15 times higher usable life resulting in significantly lower operating costs. An additional benefit is that compared to glass beads the polystyrol media creates more attractive and shiny surface finishes. In addition, we do not have to change the blast media for the process steps “cleaning” and “surface finishing.”
And the risk of media contamination by using two different media has been completely eliminated.” The high uptime of the blast media is ensured by a sophisticated media cleaning and recycling system integrated into the S1. The optimal tuning of the filter units, cyclone and media screen guarantees the reliable separation of residual powder from the blast media. The media cleaning and recycling system also reduces the amount of waste and makes the entire process more sustainable. Finally, with its lower abrasivity the polystyrol media produces a higher uptime of critical equipment components and thus simplifies maintenance and reduces the operating costs.
Beyond the benefits, the collaboration between both companies has led AM Solutions to overcome other challenges Sauber Technologies encountered with their machines.
“Because in our production area space is very tight, the standard S1 system was too big to fit into our setup. Therefore, we needed a solution with a lower footprint”, explains Sousa. To meet this challenge AM Solutions – 3D post processing technology modified the S1 concept by creating a mobile dust collector.
The machine manufacturer developed another special space-saving version of the S1 for the treatment of white SLS material at Sauber Technologies. By processing the white SLS and the black HiPAC components in separate machines the risk of discoloration was completely eliminated.
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