As additive manufacturing technologies experience greater use for batch, serial and mass part production, post-processing becomes increasingly relevant. Our main focus at 3dpbm is on digital additive part production—a market for which we have coined the acronym DAMP—so the need to produce fully finished parts and the enabling technologies to achieve this via AM have always represented a key area of interest.

One of the biggest hurdles to greater adoption of AM in production was always a tendency to underestimate the impact of cost-effectively post-process large series of prints. On unique, ultra-high-value parts such as prototypes and tools, post-processing is a relatively minor concern. But when it comes to post-process tens, hundreds and even thousands of parts in a few days, the challenges grow exponentially.

Producing fully finished parts presents significant challenges in the polymer AM market and it presents even bigger challenges in metal AM and ceramics AM. So much so that even metal PBF technologies, where part sintering/fusion takes place during the printing process, resulted more time-consuming in terms of their post-processing phase than binder jetting technologies, where debinding, infiltrations and sintering are all carried out as additional post-processes.

The segment for AM post-processes differs for each major technology but can be generally intended as including these main areas: Powder Removal and Sieving systems, Debinding and Sintering systems, Material and Parts Handling systems, Measurement and Inspection systems, Support Removal systems, and Thermal Treatment/UV Curing systems.

Today there is a much greater awareness of the various post processes that are required in all AM technologies, both through operators such as AM Solutions, PostProcess Technologies, AMT, Solukon and D-Lyte (among others) that focus specifically on automating AM and several other companies specializing in automated post-process solutions for injection molding and other traditional technologies now looking more closely at the AM market.

In this month’s AM Focus we will highlight many of these companies and their capabilities. For a full list of companies specializing in the various phases of pre- and post-processing AM solutions, make sure to visit the 3dpbm Index’s dedicated section on Automation and Post Process companies here.

  • Conflux uses Synchrotron particle accelerator for NDT of AM parts

    Conflux Technology uses the Australian Synchrotron, which is operated by ANSTO, as part of its advanced development process for metal 3D printed heat exchangers. It’s certainly a unique tool for NDT in any R&D workflow. Over the years, the Australian company has shown that using additive manufacturing to build heat exchangers…

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  • AMLABS project to work on L-PBF laser beam optimization

    The AMLABS project, a joint venture between Italy’s PRES-X and France’s Cailabs has been launched to work on laser beam shape optimization in order to increase productivity and material processability of the L-PBF process, leveraging Multi-Plan Light Conversion – MPLC technology Part of the BEAMIT Group, PRES-X is an innovative company…

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  • New Stratasys ProBleacher gets PolyJet parts to full transparency

    The newly launched Stratasys ProBleacher, a desktop-size photobleacher system that allows users of clear PolyJet materials to achieve full transparency and no color residue in their models. With the introduction of the Stratasys ProBleacher, PolyJet customers have all the tools necessary for in-house PolyJet transparent prototyping – from designing to…

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  • SMART, automated post-processing of ceramic AM parts

    Nanoparticle jetting 3D printer OEM XJet is introducing the SMART station, a new system to automate the post-processing of XJet ceramic AM parts. The equipment provides the last link in the chain for automated end-to-end additive manufacturing using XJet’s technology. SMART, or ‘Support Material Automatic Removal Technology’, works seamlessly with…

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  • 3dpbm AM Post-Processing 2021 eBook

    In this eBook, we take the opportunity to focus on the last (but not least!) stage of the additive manufacturing process: post-processing: from cleaning and debinding to parts handling and materials recycling, to finishing and coloring. With an eye on the end-to-end AM workflow. Across all AM technologies—from polymer extrusion,…

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  • Automating automation systems with Schubert PartBox

    German firm Schubert has been making automation systems since the 60s. Today the core of its business is represented by the TLM systems, which are state-of-the-art packaging machines. In other words, they represent the ultimate and final step in mass production automation. Foods, drinks, consumer products: everything that can be…

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  • DAMP, a new acronym to convey the evolution of AM into mass production

    We have grown accustomed to using the acronym AM to indicate additive manufacturing. In the past companies like Airbus have also used ALM (additive layer manufacturing). As additive manufacturing evolves into a technology used in direct, digital production of large series of parts, rather than one-offs, short batches, prototypes and…

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  • Going with the AM-Flow

    Ever since 3D printers began the paradigmatic shift from stand-alone rapid prototyping machines to networked units within production workflows, it became clear that additive manufacturing—the most digital among manufacturing processes—was also the least automated and the hardest to integrate into full end-to-end production workflows. By comparison, injection molding—the least digital…

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  • A new media mix for more efficient surface finishing of 3D printed plastic

    With its latest development of a new media type for post-processing of thermoplastic components, AM Solutions is further expanding its product portfolio for 3D printing. The new media permits the safe, cost-efficient finishing of 3D printed components with different shapes and sizes in one single process step and with absolutely…

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  • Fusion Factory Fraunhoder IFAM

    Listemann to acquire new Xerion AM production line

    Berlin-based equipment manufacturer Xerion and Listemann Technology, a Liechtenstein-based provider of industrial services in the field of material optimization and processing, have agreed to cooperate in order to further develop bound metal, sinter-based additive manufacturing of metallic components. As per the agreement, Listemann is going to acquire a Xerion AM…

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