With the growth of industrial additive manufacturing, organizations globally are looking for new ways to streamline their 3D printing workflows. Russell Finex, a specialist in separation technology, is addressing this need with its ever-expanding portfolio of automated powder handling systems.
One of the company’s latest clients is the Manufacturing Technology Centre’s (MTC) National Centre for Additive Manufacturing (NCAM), a UK-based organization intent on accelerating the country’s adoption of 3D printing. Following a consultation with Russell Finex, the MTC recently tested one of the company’s Russell AMPro Sieve Stations at its NCAM facility.
According to the MTC, the automation of the metal powder handling workflow has slashed powder sieving and reclamation times significantly, supporting its goal of providing standardization and best practices for the manufacturing sector.
The AMPro Sieve Station
Backed by over 85 years of manufacturing experience, Russell Finex is now a leading provider of powder handling systems for the additive manufacturing sector. The company’s flagship machine is the AMPro Sieve Station, a fully automated powder recovery system designed for maximum sieving efficiency.
The modular system features an integrated high-capacity storage hopper and conveying mechanism to ensure reclaimed powder is ready to reuse at a moment’s notice. It can even be connected directly to a powder bed fusion 3D printer for an entirely closed-loop powder handling cycle. It is also versatile in that it can sieve different powder types.
The AMPro Sieve Station prides itself on its separation accuracy, guaranteeing the quality of both virgin and recycled powder particles. Boasting a one-click operation workflow, the machine ensures minimal operator exposure while also being fully programmable for integration into any production process.
Having utilized the system in conjunction with an EOS M400 metal 3D printer, the MTC says it has achieved time savings of 75% when sieving powders. The machine also improved safety at the facility, as operators no longer need to manually handle powders.
Vince Sparrow, Team Leader of Additive Operations at the MTC, said, “The Russell AMPro Sieve Station is incredibly intuitive to use, conveying and sieving into a compact unit. The reliability and repeatability offered by this machine made it the best solution for us, improving powder traceability and quality, and future-proofed long-term collaboration between Russell Finex and the MTC for years to come.”
What else does Russell Finex offer?
As comprehensive as the AMPro Sieve Station is, it isn’t the only product in the firm’s powder management line.
Aimed at lower capacity users, the Russell AMPro Lite is a lightweight, more portable powder sieving system for use with powder vessels and bottles. Compatible with a variety of bottle sizes, the machine can also be integrated with inert gas purging and an ultrasonic debinding system.
Similarly, the Russell AMPro Lab is a non-vibratory sieve unit best suited to recovering small batches of powder. It comes with three modes of adjustment (feeder, inclination, and control box) to ensure compatibility with any type of powder. Much like the AMPro Lite, the AMPro Lab is capable of connecting most bottle sizes, but can also be integrated directly with 3D printers.
Next up is the AMPro 400S EBM, which is specifically designed for use with the electron beam melting (EBM) 3D printing process. Users can integrate the on-demand sieve unit into dedicated depowdering stations to requalify recovered powders in a fully automated manner.
The final system in the Russell Finex additive manufacturing powder management portfolio is the Russell AMPro Bulk Storage Tank. Designed to evacuate and store large volumes of powder, the system comes complete with an integrated cyclone specifically intended for conveying 3D printable powders. It’s often used in tandem with the Russell AMPro Sieve Station.
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Featured image shows the Manufacturing Technology Centre. Photo via Russell Finex.