Volkmann has products & solutions for additive manufacturing for the safe handling and conveying of metal powders around the 3D printing process.
Metal powders can be conveyed cleanly and safely with a vacuum conveyor. With leading manufacturers and other users of metal 3D printers utilising VOLKMANN vacuum conveyors of both the VS and PPC series to fill the 3D printers with metal powder. With the vacuum conveyor integrated in the PowTReX system, many companies also extract the loose powder from the build box.
Processing or recycling of used metal powders by screening and separating oversize particles, broken support structures and other foreign bodies can be done with the PowTReX or a stationary powder processing station.
As a project partner in the IDAM research project, Volkmann was able to advance its understanding of powder handling within the industry, with findings including:
Volkmann has solutions for the automatic unpacking and complete de-powdering of construction jobs from a construction frame or construction cylinder.
The aim of the PowTReX is to recover usable expensive metal powder after the printing process and to discharge material that is no longer usable for the printing procedure. The sieved powder is returned to the production cycle, increasing efficiency.
The system provides reliable and safe operation with all common metal powders for additive manufacturing, including stainless steel, aluminium, titanium and others.
The system has a high material throughput of up to 500 kg / h for stainless steel and up to 300 kg / h for aluminium powder in a very small footprint. Additionally, the sieved powder can be recovered automatically back into the 3D printing process by vacuum conveyor technology.
The explosion-proof system with its integrated HEPA filter ensures a safe and clean working atmosphere.
The system works with both normal atmospheric air and inert gas. If inert gas delivery is required or desired for product protection, the PowTReXi system will run in a “closed loop” mode. The inert gas is kept in the system cycle and will be reused, not consumed. Additional costs for large amounts of inert gas are thus avoided.
Suddenly falling or increasing pressures and volume changes in closed gas cycle systems often lead to problems, that is the reason why Volkmann GmbH has developed the V-Comp volume expansion tank.
The V-Comp is used for example in the filling process of AM machines, the emptying of unpacking stations or in closed-loop gas systems between PowTReXi and 3D printing machines for pressure compensation.
Pressure surges and fluctuating gas pressure changes during ongoing operation are actively compensated, the V-Comp thus ensures stable closed-loop gas management.
In particular, the suction process from glove boxes is reliable and trouble-free with the V-Comp, without the unpleasant pressure fluctuations negatively influencing work with the gloves or endangering device safety.
Fig.: Application examples for the V-Comp:
1. AM unpacking station (closed-loop)
3. Container emptying and filling
2. 3D printer (closed-loop)
4. PowTReXi in connection with 3D printer and unpacking station
docking valve docked and undocked state