Looking back – a glimpse at the present – the future

For AM Solutions – 3D post processing technology the year 2020 was no doubt very challenging but also quite successful. During this period our main focus was on expanding our position as a major player in the field of post processing. In this respect a major milestone was the launch of the HP 3D Automatic Unpacking Station that was jointly developed with HP and represents a big step towards post processing on an industrial level. Another development was the new S1 system for the automatic de-powdering and cleaning of 3D printed plastic components. For example, OECHSLER, a globally active company in the field of 3D printed plastic components, is using the S1 for the automated post processing of relatively high volumes of components. In 2020 we also opened our new technology center that is not only equipped with a broad range of machinery but is also unique with regard to its technical orientation.

There was an equally exciting development at AM Solutions - Manufacturing service partner located in Italy. The operation was moved into ultra-modern facilities equipped with state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies. With our new General Manager, Ubaldo Concilio, a strategic reorientation is being implemented that includes a greatly expanded service package. This now comprises the entire design and engineering process as well as the actual production including traditional machining operations. But the services also extend to post processing, various surface refinement processes, including plating, and quality control. You can learn more about the extended service package of AM Solutions – Manufacturing service partner and Mr. Concilio’s business philosophy from his extensive interview with 3dpbm. A major step forward was also the hiring of Daniele da Prato as a seasoned sales manager with many years of experience in the field of additive manufacturing.

For the year 2021 we have also set very ambitious targets. AM Solutions - 3D post processing technology intends to further expand and consolidate its leading position as supplier of innovative, automated post processing solutions. For example, we are currently working on the development of a new continuous flow blast cleaning system that will significantly increase the shot blasting productivity, whenever large volumes of work pieces must be processed. We will also focus on extra-intensive cleaning processes, which play a significant role in medical engineering and other industries. Such cleaning processes deal primarily with the removal of residual powder still present after a shot blast operation. We are also working on unpacking solutions for 3D printed plastic components made with powder bed based printing methods. Another subject is the surface refinement of elastomers such as TPU parts.

For AM Solutions – Manufacturing service partner our goals are equally ambitious. Our General Manager Ubaldo Concilio will provide you a deep dive in the editorial of our next newsletter.

Now, I hope you will enjoy reading this edition!

With best regards

Manuel Laux
Head of AM Solutions – 3D post processing technology

OECHSLER invests in S1 from AM Solutions – 3D post processing technology

As one of the first customers, OECHSLER, globally probably the largest volume manufacturers of 3D printed plastic components, has purchased the post processing system S1 from AM Solutions – 3D post processing technology. It will assist the company to fulfill the stringent requirements for quality, repeatability of processing results, traceability and cost efficiency that must be met in the automotive industry.

OECHSLER corporation, located in Ansbach, Germany, is a global leader in the production of plastic components. The company has been working with additive manufacturing since 2017, and in the meantime has become one of the world’s largest manufacturers in of 3D printed plastic components. In close cooperation with leading manufacturers of 3D printers and suitable material suppliers OECHSLER has been actively pursuing the volume production of 3D printed components for industries like automotive, household and commercial products and sporting goods. Matthias Weißkopf, Senior Vice President Global Product & Technology Development at OECHSLER, explains: “Post processing poses a huge challenge in the field of additive manufacturing. For a long time this aspect of the process chain has been somewhat neglected. But post processing is a key factor for the cost efficiency and quality of products produced with additive manufacturing. In this respect an important task is the development and precise definition of automatic post processing procedures.” “OECHLSER's experience in series production and the associated post processing requirements again helped us fine-tune the machine development," adds Manuel Laux, Head of AM Solutions - 3D post processing technology.

Repeatability – a critical yardstick
The company was facing exactly this challenge with an innovative product for a leading German automobile manufacturer. This product, with a so-called lattice (crisscross) structure is printed from a newly developed material. To produce the product in volume, the company had to find an automated post processing solution that among other requirements meets the demands of the automobile industry for high-quality, consistent processing results. Matthias Weißkopf continues: „Our company had already a long-term relationship with Rösler. When our cooperation partner HP referred us to AM Solutions – 3D post processing technology, we took the opportunity to not only take a look at this new Rösler division, but also study its S1 post processing solution in great detail. After intensive discussions and many test trials with equipment suppliers offering post processing solutions for 3D printed components, we chose AM Solutions as our partner.” The “plug and play” S1 shot blast machine was specifically designed for post processing of 3D printed plastic components. This machine allows the automatic processing of entire work piece batches in a rotary basket.

Flexibility and process safety – important post processing aspects
OECHSLER decided to purchase the S1, because it offers a high degree of flexibility for the shot blasting process and allows treating all kinds of different materials like PA, PP and TPU. The machine can be easily switched from automatic to manual operation without the need for time consuming re-tooling as required with other post processing shot blast systems. In addition, the S1 offers other valuable technical features like the anti-static polyurethane lining of the inside of the blast chamber and the rotary basket and the ATEX compliant motors and valves. Another major factor was the ergonomic loading and unloading of the work piece batches. During this operation the rotary basket remains completely within the blast chamber so that no contaminants like loose powder can spill to the floor. Other significant technical properties were the automatic control and storage of the process parameters and the integrated blast media classification. Matthias Weißkopf continues: “These standard features are essential to meet the requirements of the automobile industry and other industrial sectors for process safety, cost-efficiency and repeatability of the processing results. They are indispensable for transforming additive manufacturing into a technology for volume production.”

Quick results through constructive and open cooperation
The project teams of the two companies jointly developed custom-engineered solutions for the specific OECHSLER process requirements. The open and constructive atmosphere between the two companies was a big factor for achieving the desired positive results within a surprisingly short time span. It allowed commissioning the S1 machine at OECHSLER by the end of August 2020. Matthias Weißkopf finally remarks: “With AM Solutions – 3D post processing technology we found a partner, who jointly with us developed an optimal solution that meets our special requirements 100 %. We feel that this partnership offers a big potential for future developments in the field of additive manufacturing.”

AMcubator – "Breeding ground" for groundbreaking 3D print applications

AMcubator was initiated by the founders of the Dutch companies Additive Center, Mr. Maarten van Dijk, and Marketiger, Mr. Maikel de Wit. On an area of 1,100 square meters on the Brainport Industries Campus in Eindhoven the AMcubator center is a meeting ground for leading companies in the field of AM. The member companies can locate their experts in an application center and place their technologies in a pilot plant.

As a founding member AM Solutions – 3D post processing technology has been part of this undertaking right from the beginning. Gerard Nijhof from AM Solutions explains – 3Dpost processing technology in the Netherlands: "We present our latest developments for the post processing of 3D printed components. In order to establish additive manufacturing as a viable production technology, we will, jointly with the other founding partners, optimize the various processes and bring scalable solutions to the market".

Maarten van Dijk explains the objectives: "Only the cooperation of partners from the various fields around additive manufacturing will make groundbreaking applications for the 3D print technology possible." AMcubator is intended to be an intermediary between the members. As such, it is a meeting point for all industries, who want to establish 3D printing as a production technology. "We are very pleased that leading 3D companies from the fields hardware, software, materials, post processing, validation, and automation are part of the AMcubator family", comments Maikel de Wit and concludes: "This allows us to assist and accompany the companies with the formulation of first objectives, conducting pilot production runs and developing actual market applications."

AM Solutions - Manufacturing service partner - from start to finishing

At a time when everyone is talking about additive manufacturing and where we can read different interpretations of processes and services, we at AM Solutions present ourselves on the market with the initials of “Additive Manufacturing” directly in our name.

Our company draws on the experience of the Rösler Group, a leader in the surface treatments and finishing sector, and proposes a portfolio of services to offer an end-to-end support across the entire additive manufacturing process chain. Very focused on the business value delivered to our customers, AM Solutions - Manufacturing service partner is the perfect reference for all those companies that want to start “thinking additive” and do not know how to do it or for those who are already in the additive world, but would like to engage a contract manufacturer along the supply chain.

This is a typical situation where AM Solutions – Manufacturing service partner can come in and provide business value. All this is combined with our corporate culture: our goal is to lead the customer throughout the business chain thanks to a long-term relationship that makes our company an industrial partner engaged in creating value for our clients' business processes.

Read more on our approach in the interview Mr. Ubaldo Concilio, General Manager at AM Solutions – Manufacturing service partner granted to 3dpbm (3D Printing Media Network).

Read the complete interview

New sales manager at AM Solutions – Manufacturing service partner

Graduated in mechanical engineering, with a specialization in robotics, Mr. Daniele Da Prato spent 12 years in mechanical design, before working for different industrial companies where he developed an important experience, working with both plastics and metals. Thanks to his ability to range over two fields apparently so different, Mr. Da Prato acquired skills in product and process development. His work experience, from design to sales, allowed him to approach all phases of the business process, drawing from each phase important ideas for continuous improvements, to be developed in the company organization.

Prior to joining AM Solutions, Mr. Da Prato worked in the design and development of very different sectors, such as for example mail sorting systems, printers for cash registers made entirely of plastic, packaging machines. Then he approached the medical sector and the additive manufacturing industry.

"I'm happy to give my contribution of experience and sales in the mechanical sector - says Mr. Da Prato - because today there is high attention for innovation for materials and additive manufacturing: the perfect challenge for AM Solutions – Manufacturing service partner!”
Daniele lives in Recco (Genoa), is married and has three daughters.