Fully automatic and safe support structure removal for work pieces with the finest detail drawing
Innovative printing technology and the most harmonizing composition of post processing equipment at an attractive price from a single source – Mimaki realized this user advantage for its full-color inkjet 3D printer, the Mimaki 3DUJ-2207. The compact post processing solution, developed in cooperation with AM Solutions – 3D post processing technology, enables the fully automatic removal of support structures without compromising the high level of detail and color nuance of the 3D parts. At the same time, post processing can be up to three times faster than with equipment previously available on the market.
With the 3DUJ-2207, Mimaki, a leading manufacturer of wide-format inkjet printers and high-precision cutting plotters, combines impressive color diversity with an imposing level of detail. The compact and affordable 3D printer with a build size of 203 x 203 x 76 mm offers more than 10 million colors and high resolution and, therefore, new application options in the field of professional 3D printing. This includes the manufacturing of prototypes, industrial design objects, and collectible figures as well as medical and architecture models. Usually, the solutions for the removal of support structures are treating the work piece with wet blasting or water bath. However, each of these processes involves the risk of damaging the often filigree 3D parts. In order to design safer, easier, and more efficient post processing solutions, Mimaki decided to cooperate with AM Solutions – 3D post processing technology, the division of the Rösler Group specialized on automatized and production-ready solutions for the post processing and surface finishing of additively manufactured parts. “With AM Solutions and Rösler, we have a partner with extensive know-how and experience in the fields of mechanical engineering, industrial surface finishing, and the development and production of consumables. At the same time, the company is among the leading suppliers of automatized post processing equipment in the AM sector, where it pursues constant development”, explains Arjen Evertse, General Manager Sales from Mimaki.
Efficient, fast, and safe post processing
Together, the two teams developed a post processing solution consisting of an Industry 4.0-ready plug-and-play system with the matching compound classified as not hazardous to water and with high flash point. The completely closed variant of the system already contains all the necessary safety features, making a regular 230 V electricity supply the only requirement for operation. Special caster wheels make the repositioning of the machine very easy. Furthermore, the system is equipped with a web interface enabling operation and monitoring via smartphone. For the fully automatic removal of the support structures, the 3D parts are placed in the immersion bath of the system followed up by selecting the fitting processing parameters. For this purpose, there are already different programs available in the equipment controls by default, covering a range from bigger parts with many support structures to very delicate printing objects. In addition to that, users can configure programs for their 3D parts themselves and save them in the equipment controls. The process then starts, in which chemical, mechanical, and thermal effects interact according to the parameters selected specifically for the program. This interaction ensures that the support material is completely removed in a way that is gentle on the component and at the same time effective and fast. Initial tests have shown that support removal is up to three times faster than other systems on the market. One crucial advantage of the significantly shorter processing time is that it prevents the work pieces from swelling in the bath. At the same time, the relatively low bath temperature also avoids damages. This is ensured by an integrated monitoring, which automatically shuts down the system if the temperature is too high.
After a defined processing time, the basket is removed from the immersion bath, with the dripping compound being collected and returned to the dip tank. Due to the classification as non-water hazardous, the parts can simply be rinsed under running water before the next step. Furthermore, you can place the container you used to fill in the compound under the drain valve of the dip tank what allows for an easy and quick compound change.
“With this innovative post processing solution, we can offer future-oriented printing technology including safe and simple post processing at an attractive price-performance ratio and from a single source. We are confident that this allows us to contribute to establishing 3D printing in new application areas”, explains Arjen Evertse. “The collaboration with Mimaki gives us the opportunity to further deepen our expertise and to perfectly adapt our product development to the requirements of every user”, comments Manuel Laux, Head of AM Solutions – 3D post processing technology.