Solukon brings its expertise in CERN’s Engineering department Additive Manufacturing Workshop

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY MARIETTE LE ROUX A photo taken on February 10, 2015 shows the Globe of Science and Innovation at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Meyrin, near Geneva. Excitement is mounting at the world's largest proton smasher, where scientists are close to launching a superpowered hunt for particles that may change our understanding of the Universe. Physicists and engineers are running the final checks on an upgrade that nearly doubled the muscle of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which in 2012 unlocked the putative Higgs boson and, with it, a Nobel Prize. The two-year power boost will take experiments into a previously-inaccessible realm that resembles science fiction. AFP PHOTO / RICHARD JUILLIART

Following the recently launched depowdering system for Metal AM, Solukon is already undertaking a new adventure and this time, the company brings its expertise in CERN’s engineering department additive manufacturing workshop (The Mechanical and Materials group ).

CERN is the European Organization for Nuclear Research which integrates the Mechanical and Materials group. The latter will be using Solukon’s automated depowdering units to clean laser melted metal parts made from reactive Titanium-alloys.

According to Romain Gérard, AM engineer at The Mechanical and Materials group, powder removal remains a big issue in an additive manufacturing process, especially when it comes to Ultra-High-Vacuum. “We observed that powder residues, that are subsequently sintered during heat treatment, act like sponges by trapping gases and releasing them at a very low rate.  The SFM-AT300 automated depowdering unit from Solukon ensures a high depowdering quality with a safe environment for titanium and niobium powder” explains Romain Gérard.

The high requirements for safety and cleaning results make CERN an exemplary customer for Solukon. The combination of the reactivity of the used titanium powder and the complex internal structures of the parts make it perfectly suitable for our systems” said Andreas Hartmann, CEO and technical director at Solukon. “Through programmable rotation of the part and the build plate around one or two axes, non-fused build material is removed from complex voids and support structures”, added Dominik Schmid CEO.

Image: courtesy of Solukon

As far as Solukon automated depowdering units are concerned, some advantages include a high degree of protection from hazardous dust build-up, a fast and economical powder removal with time saving up to 90%, an inert gas infusion to prevent explosive atmosphere as well as a sustained inert material handling to avoid contamination with oxygen.

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