Addihive Offers Powder Control System, Strives to Accelerate 3D Printing Uptake

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[Image: Addihive]

In County Limerick, Ireland, a young company is striving to accelerate the spread of additive manufacturing technology. Addihive is working to take metal additive manufacturing out of research and development settings and onto the manufacturing floor.

“Addihive enables serial additive manufacturing in highly-regulated aerospace and medical device industries through market leading innovative solutions,” said Patrick Byrnes, Addihive Research and Development Manager. “Additive manufacturing or 3D printing in metals is disrupting these global market segments at an accelerating pace where new approaches and engineering challenges are presented for part quality, system validation and process control.”

One of Addihive’s goals is to make the technology more efficient and save money by preventing material waste. The company has created a solution called Powder Loop, which sits on top of the 3D printer and monitors the printing process through all its stages. It collects metal particles for recycling and monitors the system’s levels of oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen to ensure chemical integrity.

Patrick Byrnes [Image: Conor McCabe]

“Our mission is to streamline, complement and scale the additive process with our customer base through the implementation of proprietary technology and market-leading solutions,” said Byrnes. “We have been in operation since January 2017 with a team of three engineers and, to date, we have developed a number of patent-pending innovations across pre- and post-processing platforms. We had seen a relatively strong push on the marketing and uptake in additive manufacturing equipment with multinational customers, but nobody seemed to cater for the pre- and post-process ecosystem and we created a number of innovations to exponentially improve environmental health and safety, overall equipment efficiency and process quality.”

One of the appeals of Powder Loop is that it is small and fits right onto additive manufacturing machines, so it doesn’t take up any extra floor space. Proper powder handling is extremely important, not just for money-saving reasons but for safety as well.

“When you are moving metallic particles around at high velocity in a confined space it is like a grain silo and particles can ignite,” said Byrnes.

Powder Loop offers a safe way to handle excess powder, and to recycle it so that nothing is wasted. It also offers automation in the powder handling process. Addihive has a lot more in the pipeline beyond Powder Loop, as well – the company is working on proprietary part and powder removal techniques and machines, as well as a large scale powder management system that is capable of powder quality control for multiple 3D printers. Automation is a big focus for Addihive, as well, and it is working to implement collaborative robotics and the Internet of Things for cost effective, 24/7 production.

Addihive’s team of material scientists, additive technology engineers, quality engineers and advanced manufacturing engineers bring to the table several years of experience in the medical and aerospace additive industries, two of the fastest-growing sectors of additive manufacturing. That experience will go a long way toward accomplishing Addihive’s goal of boosting industrial additive manufacturing.

“Our vision is to accelerate the uptake of additive manufacturing and disruptive technologies from SMEs right through to multinationals,” said Byrnes.

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[Source: Irish Times]

 

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