3D printing is capable of amazing things, and overall it’s considered a safer technology than many other manufacturing methods. It’s not without its risk factors, though – particularly metal 3D printing. Operators of metal 3D printers have to take special precautions when handling and interacting with metal powders, which can cause serious problems if inhaled or gotten into the eyes. It would be ideal if operators didn’t have to handle metal powders at all, but that’s difficult to get around, as powder has to be put into a machine before a new build, and excess powder needs to be removed after a build.
EOS has come up with a way to make the powder removal process safer. The company has introduced a new solution called ICPM M pro, designed specifically for its EOS M 290 3D printer, a DMLS machine with a special process chamber door. The door has coupling points that connect with the ICPM M pro and the material containers. Any excess material that is left over after a print job is complete can be removed from the printer and conveyed into the ICPM pro via a vacuum pump that suctions it away.
Once the powder is out of the printer and in the ICPM M pro, it is sieved inside the module under inert gas at a throughput of 120 kg of material in 30 minutes, 50 percent faster than previous solutions. This powder can then be reused for future prints. Most importantly, the whole process can be completed without opening the process chamber door, eliminating the need for the operator to come into contact with the powder.
The semi-automated, dust-free system is safer than other methods of powder management, allowing operators to wear more comfortable, less cumbersome safety equipment. It’s also faster; large amounts of powder can be conveyed and sieved more quickly while reducing manual labor. The ICPM M pro module is also mobile, so it can be used for multiple systems.
Put together with the M 290, the ICPM M pro module offers an easy, safe way for companies to implement additive manufacturing into their operations. The EOS M 290 is one of the most popular and successful metal 3D printers in the industry, with good, reproducible part quality, a wide range of validated materials and processes, and comprehensive software for data preparation and quality management.
“Industrial 3D printing has proven its worth as a manufacturing method across industries and is being increasingly used for serial production,” said Dr. Tobias Abeln, Chief Technical Officer at EOS. “Companies should therefore consider now how they could make best use of the technology to strengthen their business. The EOS portfolio gives companies one single source for all the elements they need to successfully set up and leverage Additive Manufacturing to meet the challenges of production with an established, future-proof technology.”
EOS will be showcasing both the ICPM M pro and the M 290 this week at EMO 2017, which is taking place in Hanover from September 18th to the 23rd. If you’re interested in learning more about these machines or the rest of EOS’ portfolio of technology, you can stop by and visit the company at Booth D52.
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