We are your partners

Additive manufacturing is a fairly young technology within the industrial value-added chain. It requires the consideration of numerous different production aspects. This has resulted in entirely new challenges. Partnerships and interdisciplinary cooperation are the drivers for meeting these challenges, particularly, to develop new solutions and establish additive manufacturing for volume production. For this reason, AM Solutions is engaged in many research projects, networks and strategic alliances.

Our primary goals with these engagements are to familiarize ourselves more thoroughly with the customer requirements and to better understand the complete additive manufacturing process as a whole with all its different aspects. Understanding the customer needs and the 3D printing process in its entirety is a pre-condition for developing demand-based, efficient customer-specific post processing solutions for 3D printed metal and plastic components. Moreover, we consider it as essential to implement new applications, processes and methods in close, trust-based partnerships and cooperation with research organizations. This approach will allow us to assist in fashioning the future of additive manufacturing.

Sharing knowledge and to provide a broad spectrum of support are at the center of our cooperation with our trading partners.

Please stay healthy!

With best regards

Manuel Laux
Head of AM Solutions

P. S.: Come and join our new AM Solutions LinkedIn channel!

VDMA Study Group Additive Manufacturing: AM Solutions is a member!

Since spring 2020 AM Solutions is a member of the VDMA (The Mechanical Engineering Industry Association) study group Additive Manufacturing. This allows us extensive networking and information exchange and helps us to be part of the development in this field with other major players in the AM industry. 

The study group Automation consists of numerous experts familiar with the AM development and manufacturing chain. Being a member allows us to communicate with them on an engineering level across many industries. Major topics are the current technological state of additive manufacturing as well as the development of binding standards and industry norms, which will result in simplified processes. In addition, the agenda includes subjects like establishing the potential and solutions for the industrial use of interconnected additive manufacturing systems. 

The study group Additive Manufacturing in the VDMA consists of around 150 members. These represent equipment manufacturers and suppliers but also industrial users, sub-contract manufacturing, research institutes and scientists from different universities.
The Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) itself represents around 3,300 member companies in the SME-dominated mechanical and systems
engineering industry in Germany and Europe.

Expansion of the worldwide sales network: new partner in Sweden

In addition to the 15 international Rösler branches, a new partner in Sweden is on board:KMC Ytbehandling AB. The company distributes the 3D post processing solutions of AM Solutions exclusively in the Scandinavian country. This also applies to the distribution of AM Solutions partner products from PostProcess Technologies and GPA Innova.

KMC is a subsidiary of the publicly traded Addtech group. The company, located in Järfälla, has been active in the field of surface treatment for over 30 years and brings a wealth of experience in equipment sales and process development to the table. To date the company has been marketing the solutions of technological and market leaders in the field of mass finishing, shot blasting, balancing and industrial part cleaning

Manuel Laux, Head of AM Solutions, comments: “KMC is a competent and innovative partner with a lot of experience and know-how in the Swedish market. The company is known for its comprehensive expertise in customer support including service. This will allow us to jointly assist the customers with their additive manufacturing needs”.  

Daniel Adlers, Managing Director of the KMC Ytbehandling AB adds: „The partnership with AM Solutions allows us to successfully enter a new, rapidly growing market segment and to expand our product range for the future. With this cooperation we can now offer innovative, cutting edge solutions to our customers for the efficient post processing of 3D printed components”.

Besides the new partner in Sweden the international sales branches of the Rösler group are part of the global sales network. Therefore, AM Solutions has a presence in Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Great Britain, India, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Rumania, Russia, Switzerland, Serbia, Spain and the United States.  This global representation allows local as well as globally active companies to quickly implement 3D post processing solutions, tailormade to their needs and with a consistently high quality level. 

Efficient and fully automatic finishing of internal passages

Additive Manufacturing allows the integration of precisely placed internal cooling channels into components. With the focus on automated post processing (removal of residual powder, surface smoothing) the mechanical and chemical engineering departments of the Politecnico Milano (Italy) together with Rösler Italiana S.r.l. conducted a study with the surface treatment methods mass finishing, shot blasting and chemically supported mass finishing. The results clearly demonstrated that with all three methods a significant improvement of the overall surface quality could be achieved.  The study involved the treatment of parts with different shapes and internal passages with different diameters (3, 5, 7.5 and 10 mm)

All three surface treatment processes produced surprisingly similar results. Conventional mass finishing and shot blasting consistently removed the roughness peaks and produced similar surface roughness profiles. However, the best results were achieved with chemically supported mass finishing: The work pieces had the smoothest surface, as shown in comparatively lower surface roughness readings, and displayed the typical chemically accelerated finish. With Ra values of 0.7 µm the chemically supported mass finishing method produced not only the lowest surface roughness values, but it also required the shortest cycle time. The results also showed that the final roughness values were more or less identical in the vertical and horizontal internal passages.

The study also proved that mass finishing can create the required smoothing effect on the internal surface channel areas without affecting the channel geometry. The treated surface areas were free of powder “splatters” and loose powder remnants. All three treatment methods improved the surface roughness readings on the internal channel areas. However, as already pointed out, chemically supported mass finishing produced the best results in the shortest cycle time.

The tests were conducted on a further development of a M3 machine from AM Solutions, which will not only allow the effective and targeted treatment of internal passages in the future, but it will also be a fully automated system for consistent finishing of 3D printed components without any manual work requirements. Of course, the loading and unloading of the work pieces can also be automated with a robot. The precise dosing of grinding media and compound with a special replenishment, respectively, dosing system and the equipment “Start” function are also fully automated. Depending on the surface finish requirements several grinding and polishing processes can be run in sequence. After the automatic discharge of the media from the work bowl the treated work pieces are removed from the clamping fixture. If required, a separate cleaning and drying stage can be added, of course, also fully automated. The same is true for the work piece handling including the transfer to subsequent manufacturing stages. The system controls allow the storage and call-up of multiple, work piece specific processing programs. The process parameters for the various work pieces can be selected by simply pushing a button or with a work piece recognition system.

AM Solutions 3D printing services delivers best part quality

The development of additive manufacturing has significantly changed the landscape of industrial manufacturing. 3D printing allows the creation of complex component geometries, which are impossible to achieve with traditional manufacturing methods. Among the various AM systems SLM printing has become one of the most popular printing technologies. However, while SLM offers the advantage of printing components with highly complex geometries, unfortunately, this printing system also comes with some significant weaknesses.

For example, the initial surface roughness of SLM printed parts is rather high, which can be a critical shortcoming for certain applications. At present it is extremely difficult to print components with initial surface roughness readings of Ra < 10 µm.  In this respect traditional machining offers the advantage of creating much smoother surfaces. But it does not provide the same geometrical freedom that can be achieved with the SLM process.  

At AM Solutions – 3D printing services we are working on overcoming these SLM shortcomings by developing different post print operations with the goal of reducing the surface roughness of SLM printed parts. Below you will find two examples showing the results we could achieve:  

We started out with a work piece showing the initial surface roughness created by the SLM printing process (picture 1). The post processing operation, carried out in an AM Solutions M3 system, incorporating  our comprehensive knowhow in surface finishing, produced the final result as shown in picture 2. This shows a surface where the 3D printing pattern can no longer be recognized with the naked eye. Actually, the finish was so good that a surface reading did not show any trace of the typical profile created by 3D printing.

The same process was utilized for a component with even worse surface conditions. Picture 3 shows the area, from where, after printing, the supports were removed. Although the initial roughness was substantial, the post processing produced a surprisingly smooth finish. The SLM printing pattern is only visible at a magnification of 35. And a surface roughness reading indicates that some valleys are still present. But the final result convincingly demonstrates the remarkable potential of our finishing technology.

Such results are not easy to achieve and require numerous trials to develop the final process parameters.  All aspects of the post print machine are calibrated towards the component at hand and the 3D printing technology with which it was created. Starting out with geometrical shape and initial surface roughness of the SLM printed part we selected the suitable media and compounds. The primary focus of the selection process was on the required surface finish and to keep the process as simple as possible. Finally, the cycle times in conjunction with the  best suited media were determined. Throughout the process intermediate surface roughness readings were undertaken to determine the actual processing time needed to meet the required finishing target.

Join our AM Solutions webinar powered by our Rösler Academy!

 Title3D Post Processing  – Herausforderungen und Lösungen in Abhängigkeit des eingesetzten 3D-Druckverfahrens
 DateJune 10, 2020
 Time2 PM (CET)

>>> Free Registration