SOFTWARE TECH NEWS

PostProcess Develops New VAD Technology for Automated Polymer Powder Removal

VAD Technology
VAD Technology
Above: Automated Software Driven Post-Printing for MJF & SLS Technologies/Image Source: PostProcess Technologies

PostProcess Technologies Inc., the global provider of automated and intelligent post-printing solutions for industrial 3D printing, announced the development of Variable Acoustic Displacement™ (VAD) technology – a new automated polymer powder removal solution based on its full-stack approach that employs its AUTOMAT3D® software platform.

The VAD Technology is a patent-pending solution for the gross depowdering of Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) 3D printed parts and is focused on unlocking production volumes through automated, software-driven technology.

Automated polymer powder
Above: Post-processing of SLS 3D printed parts/Image Source: AMFG

Currently, the gross depowdering process for 3D printed polymer parts is encumbered with excessive labour and part breakage. Common processing methods are highly manual or semi-automated, using vacuums or blasting high-pressure air for removing powder. Such approaches are not well-suited to the unique and complex geometries for which additive is utilized, nor capable of enabling production volumes. The opportunity to scale with these traditional depowdering methods is limited as they are unable to support end-to-end digitalization by providing closed-loop feedback for the complete additive manufacturing workflow. Additionally, these methods can expose operators to loose powder, resulting in workplace safety hazards and airborne particle exposure.

VAD Technology for Automated Polymer Powder Removal

AUTOMAT3D® software
Above: VAD Technology employs AUTOMAT3D® software platform/Image Source: PostProcess Technologies

PostProcess’s newest technology family, Variable Acoustic Displacement™ (VAD), employs its AUTOMAT3D® software platform to optimize mechanical energy combined with intelligent closed-loop thermal and displacement techniques to reduce cycle times while increasing part fidelity.

The process is thermodynamically controlled with both video and infrared monitoring while releasing, transferring, and recovering loose powder particles in a hands-free manner. Software-tuned frequencies identify geometries while sound (pressure) waves function as a non-destructive mechanical energy source to de-cake powder. These functions are automatically monitored and adjusted in real-time in a closed-loop solution that repurposes powder for optimal sustainability.

The VAD solution is also enabled for production scale via integration with PostProcess’s CONNECT3D™ software. The CONNECT3D platform, currently in beta, allows users to operate and monitor their fleet of PostProcess solutions from anywhere, optimizing finishing per part design and enabling real-time planning and decision-making. VAD complements PostProcess’s existing portfolio of software-driven solutions for resin removal, support removal, and surface finishing across a range of 3D print technologies, both polymer, and metal.

Commenting at the announcement event, Daniel J. Hutchinson, inventor of the VAD patent-pending technology and Founder/CTO at PostProcess Technologies, said, “We have a strong team commitment to developing solutions that will enable the scalability of the market, and partnerships with early access customers will help ensure technology alignment to market needs. PostProcess is not only expanding its portfolio to better serve those using powder applications, but we are making material reuse easier and unleashing a more sustainable future for the additive manufacturing industry.”

After successful validation of the VAD technology was performed with selected customers, the company is expanding its initial availability before the solution reaches global commercial release.


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