A3DM and GPA Innova collaborate to advance post-processing for metal additive manufacturing

Vermont-based metal additive manufacturing company A3DM Technologies, and Spanish advanced technology firm GPA Innova, have announced a partnership to advance the post-processing of metal parts produced by additive manufacturing.

The partnership between the two companies takes the form of a Collaborative Research and Development Agreement. As part of the agreement, A3DM technologies will develop optimized processing parameters for GPA Innova’s “DryLyte” dry electro-polishing process for metal alloys used in powder based Additive Manufacturing.

Patrick Sage, Business Manager at GPA Innova, stated “A3DM Technologies brings decades of expertise in the development of process improvements for Additive Manufacturing. We believe they will be instrumental in the advancement DLyte® Dry Electro-Polishing in this growing production application.”  

GPA Innova's DryLyte technology in action. Image via A3DM.
GPA Innova’s DryLyte technology in action. Image via GPA Innova.

GPA Innova’s DryLyte post-processing

Based in Barcelona, GPA Innova was founded in 2015 with the aim of providing solutions in the field of product design and development for industrial applications. The company specializes in the design and manufacturing of machinery for metal surface finishing

GPA Innova’s patented “Dry Electrolyte” process is a technology for grinding and polishing metals by ion transport using free solid bodies. This is different to traditional electro-polishing methods, as the DryLyte process does not use liquid as the electrolyte.

The unique electro-polishing method targets surface roughness in a uniform manner while maintaining dimensional accuracy and small feature detail. DryLyte’s technology helps to remove material from the peaks of roughness without affecting the shape, surface or tolerance of the part, leaving no micro scratches.

The DryLyte technology applied to metal. Image via GPA Innova.
The DryLyte technology applied to metal piece. Image via GPA Innova.

The process can operate on a range of metals, including steel, stainless-steel, cobalt chrome, titanium, aluminum, nickel, and precious metal alloys. The dry electropolishing technology can be used in a range of sectors, including dental, healthcare, aerospace and other industries.

A3DM Technologies focuses on research and development for additive manufacturing. The company identified GPA Innova’s DryLyte technology for the post-processing of metal additive manufacturing because of its environmental efficiency and high productivity.

Steven Adler, President of A3DM Technologies, said:

“A3DM Technologies recognizes Dlyte® as a truly disruptive technology for additively manufactured metal parts. The unique ion transport process has the potential for high productivity with a significant reduction in our environmental impact over traditional electrolytic processes” 

A diagram depicting the process of the DryLyte technology. Image via GPA Innova.
A diagram depicting the process of the DryLyte technology. Image via GPA Innova.

Post-processing in additive manufacturing

Recent initiatives to advance the post-processing methods of additive manufacturing have been initiated by other companies as well. In January 2019, America Makes awarded $800,000 in matching funds to Arizona State University (ASU) for a Directed Project Opportunity to advance post-processing methods for additive manufacturing.

DyeMansion is a Munich-based 3D printing company that specializes in post-processing technology for SLS 3D printed products. The firm raised $5 million in Series A funding for further research and development of its 3D printing post-processing technology in September 2018.

The UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), located in Coventry, unveiled the results of its FlexiFinish project in July 2018. The project sought to address the poor surface finish quality of metal parts produced through additive manufacturing, by providing its own automated additive manufacturing post-processing solution for metallic components.

Also in the UK, Additive Manufacturing Technologies offers an automated post-processing solution that can reportedly achieve injection molded levels of surface finish on a range of 3D prints, including those from HP’s MJF and SLS systems.

The FlexiFinish cell system. Image via the MTC.
The FlexiFinish cell system. Image via the MTC.

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Featured image shows GPA Innova’s DryLyte technology. Image via GPA Innova.