UK-based post-processing specialist Additive Manufacturing Technologies (AMT) will be presenting two new products at the upcoming RAPID + TCT show in Detroit this May. The new systems, the PostPro3DColor and the PostPro3DMini, integrate AMT’s proprietary Boundary Layer Automated Smoothing Technology (BLAST) and add to the company’s existing post-processing equipment portfolio.
In September 2018, AMT launched its PostPro3D system, an automated post-processing solution capable of achieving injection molding-quality surfaces on 3D printed parts. The post-processing system is compatible with parts produced using laser sintering, HP Multi Jet Fusion, High Speed Sintering or fused deposition modeling technologies. The two new additions to the PostPro3D line expand upon AMT’s offering for a broad range of application areas.
The PostPro3DColor, to be unveiled at RAPID 2019, is reportedly the only commercially available post-processing system capable of smoothing and colouring 3D printed parts in a single step, without the need for water or disposable waste streams. The PostProMini, for its part, scales down the original PostPro3D system, making it suitable for smaller production runs, STEM programs and design studios.
All three of AMT’s systems are based on its BLAST technology, which consists of a physio-chemical process that smooths the surfaces of thermoplastic polymer parts. The non-line-of-sight process is also capable of smoothing the complex internal geometries of 3D printed parts. Moreover, users can control the BLAST process, ensuring repeatable and desirable results.
Notably, the process does not only impart a fine surface finish on 3D printed parts—comparable to injection molded parts—but the BLAST technique does not compromise mechanical properties. For instance, tests showed that parts that underwent the BLAST process did not lose Ultimate Tensile Strength (UTS) and actually saw an increase in Elongation at Break (EAB). This change is due to the reduction of crack initiation sites on the part surface due to the removal or surface porosity.
Our BLAST process seals the surface of the parts being processed removing porosity and thus sealing them against liquid or gas ingress,” said Joseph Crabtree, CEO at AMT. “Our PostPro3D systems make part surface finishing cost and speed competitive for high volume production and has been fully tested on products across a wide range of industry sectors including automotive, aerospace, sports and footwear. In addition, parts processed in the PostPro3D machines do not show a cytotoxic effect in accordance with ISO 10993-5, ISO 10993-1, and ISO 10993-12 which means they can be certified for medical use.”
AMT’s PostPro3D product line can enable manufacturers to reduce lead times (with processing times between 90-120 minutes) and cut costs by automating the often laborious post-processing stage. The systems can also be easily integrated into existing digital workflows, making it easy for companies to adopt. In terms of quality and repeatability, the company says parts processed using PostPro3D systems display no more than 0.4% dimensional change.
“We have been operating in semi-stealth mode in the U.S., but our system has been commercially available for the last 8 months,” Crabtree added. “We are scaling up production both domestically in the U.S. and globally and we are eager to share the progress we have made with our post-processing solutions. We invite anyone interested in solving their post-processing issues to come and see us at RAPID and we can arrange to post-process your samples free-of-charge.”