Chinese metal AM service provider Tianqi Additive turned to the Russell Finex AMPro Lite powder recovery station as an efficient, innovative solution to the company’s previous powder handling problems. The unit was used for powder reclaim from the printer chamber, in conjunction with two other AM processing machines.
Having previously screened its titanium powder by hand using a manual sieve, Tianqi Additive was looking to improve its powder handling efficiency. It also wanted to improve the safety of its operators and increase screening efficiency by speeding up the reclaim process and minimizing product wastage.
Compared to the manual sieving solution previously used, the installation of the AMPro Lite increased sieving efficiency. This allowed Tianqi Additive to reduce operator involvement and allowed them to focus on other value-added tasks. The installation of the Russell AMPro Lite at Tianqi Additive’s factory allowed the powder to be screened at a faster rate, before moving on to the next part of the AM processing.
“The sieve capacity on the AMPro Lite was far higher than our manual sieve, which was very important for our powder recovery operation. It was incredibly easy to communicate with Russell Finex’s China team for technical support and after-sales help,” said ShanFang Zou, Technology Manager at Tianqi Additive.
As well as increasing sieve capacity, the Russell AMPro Lite system vastly reduced product waste. The Russell Compact Sieve style panwork with its minimal contact parts improved mesh separation quality, ensuring the particles were more uniform in size.
Its design also prevented contamination in the titanium powder and allowed for the easy strip down and cleaning of the unit. Using this unit enabled all of the good AM powder to be recovered, compared to its previously used manual sieve which limited the amount of powder collected due to the continual breakdown of the mesh.
The Russell AMPro Lite also allowed for improved operator handling and safety. Its optional cyclone loading hopper system meant that the operators did not need to manually load the material into the sieve, making the system easier to handle and quicker to load for the operators.
For Tianqi Additive, incorporating the convey module allowed it to reclaim powder directly from the printer to the sieve station in one fast and safe operation. The system was cleaner than the previous manual solution as no dust from the metal powders escaped into the air, further protecting the operators from hazardous powders.
“The convey module was a nice feature which simply connected to our existing vacuum cleaner meaning no additional vacuum systems were necessary,” said ShanFang Zou.
The Russell AMPro Lite unit serves as a lightweight, portable powder recovery station solution for entry-level users and for those looking to speed up the powder recovery process without compromising on safety. Ideal for supporting a variety of modular systems, such as inert gas purging systems, it is designed with operators in mind with its simple one-button control system.
“We are very pleased with our partnership with Russell Finex, and with the AMPro Lite, and look to improve the rest of our processing line and additive manufacturing processes with this solution to our sieving problems,” said ShanFang Zou.