Additive Manufacturing / 3D-Printing

Volkmann has products & solutions for additive manufacturing for the safe handling and conveying of metal powders around the 3D printing process.

photo: DPS depowdering station, MPS metal powder buffer, PowTReX for powder recycling, and filling of a 3D printer with a vacuum conveyor incl. integrated drying of the powder by vacuum drying.

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:

  • Dried metal powders result in significantly better part quality in 3D printing. Component density is increased, and porosity is significantly reduced for aluminium and some other metals.
  • An inert gas, on the other hand, can be omitted from powder handling.
  • The drying (conditioning) of new and used or reconditioned metal powder can be realised very easily with a vacuum drying system.

Volkmann has solutions for the automatic unpacking and complete de-powdering of construction jobs from a construction frame or construction cylinder.

The video presents VOLKMANN's wide range of systems and solutions for safe and reliable powder handling, build job depowdering and reprocessing of used metal powders:

PowTReX aspiration, screening and recovery of metal powder for AM.

Drucker + PowTReX
Drucker + PowTReX
3D-Drucker mit angeschlossenem PowTReX und optionalem Rücktransport von gesiebtem Metallpulver zurück zum 3D-Drucker.

3D printer with connected PowTReX and optional return-to-use transport of sieved metal powder back to the 3D printer.

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.

PowTReX overview:
PowTReX animation:

DPS Metal 1 - automatic unpacking and depowdering of the build job

Unpack the build job from the build frame and completely de-powder both - the DPS Metal 1 makes it possible. Fully automatically and in a single work step, without an operator having to perform any intermediate manual steps. The cleaning result is so good that downstream cleaning activities are usually unnecessary. At the same time, the metal powder is collected in a container for subsequent reprocessing.

photo: Section through the DPS station with view into the cleaning chamber

The closed system protects the personnel from the dusts of the metal powder. And the metal powder is equally protected from contaminants from the environment.

The left video presents the IDAM research project with the two demonstrator lines at GKN Additive and BMW AG. The right video is a detailed presentation of the DPS depowdering station in the IDAM project:

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