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Online Platform to Ensure Metal Powder Quality Through Digital Traceability

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Carpenter Technology Corporation is sponsoring the Medical/Dental 3D Printing vertical for 3DPrint.com’s upcoming AMS online industry summit (Feb 9-10, 2021). Additionally, Ben Ferrar, Vice President and General Manager, and Guarav Lalwani, Global Applications Engineering Lead, will be speaking at AMS 2021. Register here.

Barriers to additive manufacturing industrialization include powder quality and reusability, material handling, and inventory management. Today, these challenges around metal powder are managed through a plurality of systems for tracking inventory with individually populated spreadsheets and paper certificates. These various manual steps increase inefficiencies and offer neither a digital connection for automated traceability throughout the complete process chain nor output data for future predictive analytics. For medical devices, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits the reuse of powders in additive manufacturing with a technical guidance document outlining the reuse of powders and recommending documentation throughout the reuse process. The guidance also recommends monitoring chemical composition, oxygen, and moisture levels in the powder to be reused, although no specific methodology for monitoring these powder characteristics is detailed; Documented evidence or a strong rationale is also required to establish that reused powders will not have any adverse impact on the printed implants. Therefore, it is pertinent to show the powders’ traceability and reuse to produce additively manufactured components.

PowderLife Online from Carpenter Additive aims to address these challenges through a simple to use, secure cloud-based digital platform that accommodates materials and machines from all vendors. Serving as the foundation to a production AM process, it acts as a single system to manage inventory and capture vital process data for traceability throughout the entire lifecycle of the powder.

Governing the entire AM process, the PowderLife Online software platform is designed to create the digital thread and fulfill the FDA guidance to provide documentation for powder reuse, offering a single point of truth for traceability and inventory management.

PowerLife Online allows users to access the full range of standard features at no cost, including inventory management and traceability with the functionality to add a number of third-party powder products and machines. The ‘pro’ version of the software is also available, which offers additional capability including genealogy, digital test certificates, multiple users, and features controlled privileges, with the ability to add unlimited third-party products and more AM machines. Furthermore, there are additional benefits for users who purchase Carpenter Additive’s PowderRange materials, including automated digital test certificates, automated inventory input and access to our full product catalogue.

Governing the entire AM process, the PowderLife Online software platform is designed to capture the digital thread and fulfill the FDA guidance to provide documentation for powder reuse, offering a single point of truth for traceability and inventory management.

The PowderLife Online platform acts as the building block for the digitization journey to integrate other digitally-enabled products and software modules such as IoT sensors, RFID, and automation to add further value, drive intelligent decision making, and improve economics by taking away the ‘best guess’ for powder reuse limits. By unlocking the potential for further data-driven continuous improvement activities, manufacturers have the assurance of the performance and quality of their additive parts together with the confidence of traceability to meet FDA guidance.

Learn more on Wednesday, February 10th at 8:55 am in a presentation during the Additive Manufacturing Strategies Online Summit and sign up for your no-cost version of PowderLife Online today.

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