On demand manufacturing

Oryx Additive and ARBURG partner to offer automated support removal systems for 3D printing

Oryx Additive, a provider of automated post-processing systems for the 3D printing industry, has partnered with 3D printer manufacturer Arburg to offer support removal and part finishing systems to Arburg’s customers.

Designed for use with polymer 3D printed parts, Oryx Additive’s SCA product line is capable of removing solvent-based and water-soluble support structures. The result is an automated, hands-free post-processing stage, which is compatible with both strong industrial parts and finely-detailed smaller components.

Arburg, on the other hand, is the developer behind the Freeformer 3D printer and the Arburg Plastic Freeforming (APF) process. Owing to the company’s background in injection molding systems, the Freeformer 3D printer operates on production-grade injection molding granules, materials that mesh perfectly with the capabilities of Oryx’s SCA systems.

Keith Jeffcoat, CEO at Oryx Additive, states, “Our vision at Oryx is to achieve the full potential of additive manufacturing by building a trusting and collaborative partnership with end-use and OEM customers. We are thrilled to partner with one of the most highly acknowledged world leaders in the injection molding industry as they build and expand the Freeformer technology into the additive manufacturing space.”

ARBURG freeform 200-3X and 300-3X. Image via ARBURG
ARBURG Freeformer 200-3X and 300-3X. Photo via ARBURG

Automated post-processing with Oryx Additive

As advanced as 3D printing systems are, the post-processing stage of the additive manufacturing workflow is still a relatively manual one. Without automated support removal systems, manufacturers are required to finish their parts using human technicians, hand tools, and a lot of elbow grease – a combination that certainly isn’t known to be time-efficient. This bottleneck ultimately places a cap on the throughput potential of 3D printing, making it impossible to facilitate high-volume production with systems like the Freeformer.

Now, with access to Oryx Additive’s automated support removal technology, Arburg customers will be better equipped to streamline their production processes. 

Jeffcoat adds, “With Freeformer, Arburg has forged a new path towards industrial 3D printing by enabling the accessibility and use of advanced materials which were not attainable in the past. The combined use of the Freeformer technology and the tried-and-true SCA product family allows for reliable printing and finishing expected of industrial end-use parts.”

The Oryx Additive scaWaterJet support removal system. Photo via Oryx Additive.
The Oryx Additive scaWaterJet support removal system. Photo via Oryx Additive.

The Freeformer 3D printer

According to Arburg, the Freeformer is the first 3D printer to be developed by a plastic injection molding technology company. One of its key features is that it works with the same qualified inexpensive granulates used in injection molding. Inside the system is a plasticizing screw that drives the polymer feedstock to a high-frequency dispensing nozzle. By depositing tiny droplets of molten material into layers, users can build complex 3D parts with an ever-growing portfolio of amorphous and semi-crystalline thermoplastics.

As far as suitable applications go, the Freeformer can 3D print industrial end-use components using both single and multi-material configurations. This includes hard/soft and multi-color combinations for use cases in soft robotics and aesthetic consumer goods.

Gerry Berberian, National Sales Manager for Additive at Arburg, concludes, “The 3D printer answers the market demand for increased flexibility and low unit cost models, built from proven end-use material granulates. The highly effective, simple, and very reliable post-processing available on the Oryx products were an ideal fit for our approach to market.”

Multimaterial parts 3D printed on the Freeformer. Photo via Arburg.
Multimaterial parts 3D printed on the Freeformer. Photo via Arburg.

The post-processing sector has historically lagged behind the market for 3D printers, but this is gradually changing. Earlier this year, PostProcess Technologies, a provider of automated post-processing systems for 3D printed parts, joined the partner ecosystem of 3D printer OEM Carbon. The deal made PostProcess’ proprietary resin removal technology compatible with Carbon’s DLS 3D printing platform, giving Carbon customers access to a more streamlined, scalable, end-to-end workflow.

Elsewhere, DyeMansion, a manufacturer of cleaning and surface finishing systems, recently launched three new post-processing systems for 3D printed parts. The Powershot Performance series comprises the Powershot C Performance (cleaning), the Powershot S Performance (surfacing), and the Powershot DUAL Performance (cleaning and surfacing) – each of which is built to complement high-volume 3D printing on the shop floor.

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Featured image shows the Oryx Additive scaWaterJet support removal system. Photo via Oryx Additive.