Volkmann USA showcases PowTReX metal powder conveying system at RAPID + TCT 2023

US-based 3D printing equipment manufacturer Volkmann USA has showcased the PowTReX metal powder conveying system at RAPID + TCT 2023.

The PowTReX system offers a gentle and automated solution for transferring metal powders from a container or supply hopper to a 3D printer. Its primary function is to safeguard the particle size and shape of delicate materials, consequently enhancing the overall quality of 3D prints. The system is designed to be compatible with a diverse range of metals and materials, such as tungsten, cobalt, silver powder, iron, G.62, and more. These materials exhibit bulk densities spanning from 93 to 341 lbs/ft3.

Enhancing safety and efficiency with Volkmann PowTReX systems

The Volkmann PowTReX systems have been specifically developed to enhance the safety and efficiency of AM processes, particularly when dealing with metal powders or toxic substances. These systems create a secure and controlled environment for the transfer, recovery, extraction, and reuse of materials with high bulk densities. This aids in promoting safety throughout the process. By implementing these systems, waste generation is minimized, the overall quality of the manufacturing process is improved and helps protect workers from potential exposure to hazardous materials.

In response to the demand for increased efficiencies within the AM setting, Volkmann has developed the PowTReX system, which effectively reduces unnecessary waste of expensive metal powders. With the ability to achieve throughputs exceeding 1100 lbs/hr for stainless steel and 660 lbs/hr for aluminum powder, PowTReX plays a crucial role in maintaining optimal operational efficiency in additive manufacturing, says Volkmann.

Key components of the PowTReX system for efficient metal powder handling

The PowTReX system by Volkmann utilizes its Pneumatic vacuum conveying technology along with the Multijector vacuum pump. It comprises several key components, including a Vacuum Receiver equipped with a HEPA filter. This receiver effectively separates and collects the metal powder while ensuring high-quality exhaust air. The collected powder is then transferred to the Powder Buffer, which acts as a storage unit, allowing independent unloading from the screening rate. To optimize the flow of metal powder, a Powder Feeder is integrated, regulating the precise amount being directed to the screener.

The PowTReX system incorporates an Ultrasonic Screen, featuring a base screen size of 63 μm. The screen utilizes ultrasonic agitation to prevent any binding, ensuring smooth sieving. It also includes outlets for the segregation of acceptable and rejected product particles. For effective collection and transfer of the metal powder, a Collecting Bin or Pick Up Hopper with a feeding element is provided. Additionally, the system offers options for buffer and screen sizes, ensuring adaptability to various application requirements.

PowTReX metal powder conveying system and its internal structure. Image via Volkmann.
PowTReX metal powder conveying system and its internal structure. Photo via Volkmann.

Technical specifications and pricing

Electrics(1) Screener: 230/460/3/60 hzor 110/1/60 hz (other Voltages on Request) (2) Control: 110/1/60 hz
Pneumatics6 bar (87 psi), 1500 NL/min (53 cfm) max
Materials304, 316L, (for parts w/powder contact)
Weight380 kg (840 lbs), (El.Pump +90 kg / +200 lbs)
Materials, throughput capacities
For AM Metal PowdersStainless Steel, Aluminum Alloys, Titanium, Chromium-Nickel, Copper, and others (*inert system, if applicable*)
Conveying + Screening Capacities reached (with 63-micron mesh):
Conveying Distance8 m (26 ft), total line length (longer distances possible on req.)
Stainless Steel Powdermore than 500 kg/h (1100 lbs/h)
Aluminum Powdermore than 300 kg/h (660 lbs/h)

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Featured image shows the PowTReX metal powder conveying system and its internal structure. Photo via Volkmann.