Solukon’s SFM-PCU is a solution for metal 3D printing that simplifies powder cleanup.


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Solukon has just introduced an exciting new solution to the messy process of powder handling with LPBF metal 3D printers. Their latest innovation, the SFM-PCU, aims to revolutionize the way powder is dealt with in the printing process. For those who are unfamiliar with LPBF, it involves using a laser to selectively fuse powder layers to create a solid object. However, once the printing is complete, the metal object is left buried in the build chamber, along with all the unfused powder from each layer. This leftover powder needs to be removed efficiently and safely.

While some metal 3D printers have systems in place to vacuum up and recycle the majority of the powder, there is still residual powder that remains in hard-to-reach crevices on the metal print. To address this issue, depowdering units are used to dislodge and capture the stray powder. This step is crucial, as certain metal production parts need to be completely free of loose powder. Imagine receiving a 3D printed replacement hip with loose powder still present – not an ideal situation! Many production facilities require this depowdering step to maintain their certifications.

Depowdering units employ various methods like spinning, tipping, shaking, and air blasting to effectively remove the powder. However, the question remains: where does the collected powder go? Unfortunately, metal powder is not the most desirable substance to have lying around. Metals can be toxic, and fine powder particles can easily become airborne and be inhaled. Furthermore, some metals can be explosive when combined with oxygen and a heat source. This is why LPBF 3D printers always purge the build chamber of oxygen before printing with hot lasers begins.

After the depowdering process, the collected powder is contaminated and cannot be reused. However, it still poses a significant risk. This is where the SFM-PCU comes into play. Designed as a solution to this problem, the SFM-PCU connects to depowdering units through a vacuum hose system. It effectively slurps up the contaminated powder and collects it for proper disposal. This feature makes it particularly ideal for production facilities that have multiple depowdering units, as they can all be emptied by the SFM-PCU.

The SFM-PCU offers a safe and efficient solution for handling contaminated powder. By connecting directly to depowdering stations, it ensures that the powder flows directly into the unit for easy and proper disposal. While not every 3D printing operation may need this type of equipment, larger metal print services would certainly benefit from incorporating the SFM-PCU into their workflow.

Solukon’s latest innovation is a testament to their commitment to addressing the challenges faced in the 3D printing industry. The SFM-PCU provides a much-needed solution to the handling and disposal of contaminated metal powder, ensuring a safer and more efficient printing process. This new offering is set to make a significant impact on the industry, offering peace of mind for those involved in metal 3D printing.

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