With every step that surrounds the depowdering process, machine manufacturer Solukon is uniquely positioned to address the challenges of the main steps that precede or follow the depowdering phase. One of these challenges consists in making powder handling simple and safe for future operations – especially for large 3D printed parts.
As such, the company’s new product is not an automated depowdering machine but an automated powder collection unit for safe powder handling. Named Solukon Powder Collection Unit (SFM-PCU for short), the new machine is designed for metallic powder which is meant to be collected in the hopper at the bottom of the Solukon SFM-AT1000-S.
At the product development level, the manufacturer integrates a vacuum conveyor from the Swedish company Piab. Solukon is already familiar with the capabilities of Piab’s vaccum conveyors as it’s been several years now that they have been used in its automated unpacking and cleaning station SFP770.
“This makes it possible to meet the most stringent occupational health and safety requirements and achieve a new milestone on our path towards a dust-free factory,” said Benedikt Lutzenberger, an employee in the Product Care department and head of the SFM-PCU powder collection unit project.
The powder collection unit is designed for a particularly high volume of powder, which makes it the ideal peripheral for Solukon systems in both the large part segment (SFM-AT1000-S and depending on the application, SFM-AT800-S as well) and for automated serial production. Since the container at the unit has a substantial volume of over 100 liters, one peripheral unit can be coupled to up to three single-material Solukon systems, the company explains in a press release.
Key advantages of the SFM-PCU include:
- No direct contact with the powder material during depowdering: the powder remains in a closed system at all times
- The powder no longer has to be ejected manually, thus, larger quantities of powder can be transported away more quickly, making the depowdering process even more efficient
- Emptying and subsequently cleaning the Solukon depowdering system is also easier
The SFM-PCU powder collection unit will be on display at Formnext 2023 from November 7-10, in Booth 12.0, D42. Solukon will also have an enhanced version of the SFM-AT350 with extensive new features at the booth, as well as an SFM-AT800-S with robot integration at the neighboring booth of postprocessing automation experts Rivelin Robotics.
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