Early at the beginning of this month, on June 8th, expert in automated powder removal, Solukon held its first “AM User Day”, an event dedicated to learn how AM users and technologies’ providers approach key issues of the industry. About 70 attendees from 20 countries participated to the first edition of the event which focused on industrial serial production in AM as well as automation in AM.
Andreas Hartmann, CEO and CTO of Solukon kicked off the event with a keynote speech. Throughout the day, experts from Materials Solutions, EOS, Festo, as well as Swiss m4m delivered dedicated presentations based on their respective expertise.
A quick look at the speakers’ presentation
Chris Barefoot, Head of Sales at Materials Solutions and first speaker of that day gave an insight into data driven improvement of production lines. With the goal of demonstration how to decrease lead-time – the waiting time between the initial order and the delivery of the AM product-, Barefoot notes: “besides quality and cost, lead time is a key factor for decision making in the AM sector. Decreasing the lead-time is more difficult than expected. In the end, it is all about detailed data, which are often difficult to track in between the different steps of the production line.”
Through his presentation about EOS Connectivity, Rainer Salzberger, Digital Manufacturing Consultant at EOS, made attendees dive into automation. While the ability to provide smart machines which can be integrated into existing factories and corresponding IT systems is a major topic of this industry, companies explore several paths to reach this ultimate goal of automation.
Salzberger for instance, presented the EOSCONNECT product landscape for connectivity which is perfectly suitable to Solukon’s Digital Factory Tool for quality assurance and automation integration. For Salzberger, implementing connectivity projects in AM, requires to fulfil the requirements of the IT departments which is currently the biggest challenge organizations face. “Every new software or tool you bring into your AM facilities has to be screened for cyber security reasons and for compatibility with the existing infrastructure”, he added.
On the other hand, Felix Hantsch and Dr. Achim Fischer’s presentation revealed a joint research project that is being carried out with Solukon. Both experts work for German pneumatics specialist Festo, and together with the Solukon team, they have decided to explore how far they can push the level of automation for depowderingof 3D printed parts forward.
The last presentation of the day, the one of Nicolas Bouduban, CEO of the Swiss m4m Center in Switzerland was about AM technology transfer in the medical sector. “Additive Manufacturing is not only 3D printing. It’s basically the ability to link all parts of the process chain together”, explained Nicolas Bouduban. According to him, what makes the difference at the end is a global approach and understanding of quality assurance in every single step of the process.
MedTech AM experts should pay particular attention to Solukon’s field of depowdering according to Nicolas. “Depowdering is the entry door for proper postprocessing activities. Without a proper depowdering process, you risk having medical parts that are not cleanable or even not certifiable at all”.
What’s next for the Solukon team?
Each presentation was followed by a table talk, while the end of the day was marked by a live depowdering within the Solukon powder removal system SFM-AT800-S – performed by Alexander Bauer, Application Manager at Solukon – as well as a networking session.
“We are overwhelmed by the positive outcome of our event”, comments Andreas Hartmann, CEO and CTO of Solukon, his content about the first instalment of the AM User Day. The next volume is in the pipeline, yet. “In late autumn, we will arrange the event in particular for American AM experts”, he says. The Solukon team is already looking forward to the second edition of AM User Day and for sure will be burning the midnight oil for the American AM community.
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