Large parts that inevitably require automated depowdering are becoming the trend in powder-based 3D printing. As a result, increasingly large quantities of powder accrue during depowdering. Solukon is launching the solution: an automated powder collection unit for safe and fast powder handling after depowdering and using vacuum conveyors from Piab.
Solukon has taken on the challenge of further improving powder handling in Solukon systems after the depowdering process. After all, when it comes to larger depowdering systems and use in serial production, significant quantities of powder accrue. With the Solukon Powder Collection Unit (SFM-PCU for short), a fully automated powder collection solution for metal powder with the help of the piFLOW®i vacuum conveyor from Piab, Solukon makes powder handling immediately after depowdering simpler and safer.
How the powder collection unit works
During automated depowdering by Solukon SPR® technology, the powder collects in the hopper at the bottom of the depowdering system. With the help of the integrated vacuum conveyor piFLOW®i from Piab, the SFM-PCU vacuums up the powder at a sensor-monitored transfer point. It then goes through a hose and is gently transported into a large container. From there, the contaminated material can be transferred through a neutral interface to a recycling station or the like, where it is made available for further printing processes.
The benefits of the vacuum conveyor
Users no longer have direct contact with the powder material during depowdering; the powder remains in a closed system at all times. “This makes it possible to meet the most stringent occupational health and safety requirements and achieves 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. Since the powder no longer has to be ejected manually, 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.
Why Solukon relies on Piab
Inside its new powder conveying unit, Solukon relies on a vacuum conveyor from Piab. The conveyor used in the SFM-PCU is highly efficient, reliable, and easy to service. It meets all of Solukon’s requirements and expectations. In the polymer sector, Solukon has used Piab conveyors in the SFP770, its automated unpacking and cleaning station, for many years. “Piab has already proved itself to be a highly competent and reliable partner for powder conveyors in the SFP770 project,” said Benedikt Lutzenberger.
Jennifer Maedicke, Marketing Activation Specialist Vacuum Conveying Division, Piab
Marina Haugg, Marketing & PR Manager, Solukon
Solukon Maschinenbau GmbH is a German, high-quality supplier of powder removal and processing systems for metal and polymer additive manufacturing. Founded in 2015 by Andreas Hartmann and Dominik Schmid, the company, located in Augsburg, has extensive experience in developing AM systems and related peripheral equipment and offers a full range of industrial powder processing systems. Since 2022, Solukon has offered intelligent software for the automated depowdering of laser-melted metal parts as an exclusive licensee, the SPR-Pathfinder®. Solukon products meet the highest functionality and safety standards and are approved for the safe and reliable removal of tough-to-handle and reactive materials such as titanium and aluminum. Solukon is present on four continents. The systems are trusted by leading manufacturers of 3D-printing systems, like EOS, SLM Solutions, and AMCM, by institutions like NASA and Cern, as well as by companies like Siemens and Ariane Group.
Solukon Maschinenbau GmbH
Piab is evolving automation through progressive gripping, lifting, and moving solutions since 1951. Piab believes in an automated world where no resources are wasted and no humans are injured. Piab is a global organization with sales of c. 2.5 BSEK, more than 1200 employees and 4 divisions, serving customers in more than 100 countries from a network of subsidiaries and channel partners.