The Rise of Sustainability in Additive Manufacturing Post-Processing

Sustainability for businesses has been a hot-button topic in recent years. Around the globe, companies strive to reduce their carbon footprint and increase their sustainability practices. Which begs the question: What leads to this push for sustainability in business? And how can we, as additive manufacturing post-processing pioneers, help contribute to our customer’s sustainability goals?

Climate Change on A Global Scale

Scientists have shown greenhouse gas emissions contribute to many concerning events and changes in the global climate. This has caused a movement in the past ~10 years for corporate responsibility in business and sustainability in business practices. To understand exactly why there’s an increase in demand for sustainable business practices, we need to discuss what spurred this desire for sustainability.

Back in 2013, The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its Fifth Assessment Record about the ongoing global warming crisis. This data clarified just how heavily human activity affected climate change and inspired the 2016 Paris Agreement. The focus of the Paris Agreement was and still is to keep the temperature rise below a 2°C increase in the 21st century (preferably to 1.5°C). Actions to reach this goal involve significantly reducing carbon emissions and fossil fuel consumption. Climate change then became a hot-button topic and led to an increase in global initiatives to turn the tide on how humanity is managing its resources.

Following the Paris Agreement, sustainability became a major focus in the global business marketplace. Customers valued sustainability so much that over 90% of CEOs acknowledged it was fundamental for a successful business. As pioneers in the 3D post-processing industry, we were aware of our responsibility to build a sector that is eager to act upon sustainability initiatives.

Sustainability in Post-Processing

We feel it is our responsibility to keep this in mind when developing our post-printing solutions. It’s not only important to us, but to the entire additive manufacturing industry‌. Sustainability has always been a consideration for our customers, with 65% stating in our 3rd Annual Post-Printing Survey they would like to increase their health, safety, and sustainability factors in their post-printing operations.

So how do we do this? We keep sustainability in mind for every step of our patented three-step approach to post-processing. Our software-driven automated technology improves workflow efficiencies while reducing energy and chemical usage. Our detergents offer a significant advantage over traditional methods, with some solutions lasting 6X as long as traditional solutions. The recent launch of CONNECT3D® aligns with our sustainability goals, helping users with important tasks like recipe generation that will help them with optimum processing time and detergent usage.

To us, the most significant value in our solutions is a human-centric one—the reduced time spent on manual labor. Traditional post-printing requires tedious hands-on labor to complete support removal or surface finishing without our automated solutions. These inefficiencies can negatively affect a company’s overhead because of the energy that technicians and engineers are wasting on post-printing. Instead, these individuals should be able to use their full potential to work on more fruitful projects. It’s no surprise that excessive manual labor can negatively impact overall health and well-being.

People. Planet. Profits.

Our sustainability initiatives do not end with our products, though. Sustainability is at the heart of our company, and we are continually striving to incorporate more of it into our day-to-day operations. Much like we focus on an integrative 3D printing approach based on the three steps of design, print, and post-print, we root our commitment to sustainability in a three-pronged approach: People. Planet. Profits.

At PostProcess, we use the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals to help guide our sustainability approach. We strive to incorporate all 17 goals into the foundation of PostProcess Technologies, pulling out three to focus our initiatives around:

  • Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all.
  • Goal 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth: Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.
  • Goal 12: Responsible Consumption & Production: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Sustainability is crucial to the future of our planet. We feel it is our company’s responsibility to ensure that all of our post-processing solutions have the concept of sustainability at the heart of everything we do. If you’re interested in learning more about our sustainability efforts or our post-processing solutions, be sure to explore our post-processing solutions.

CONNECT3D Extends Digital Thread through to Post-Processing

Our CONNECT3D® software platform is an Industry 4.0 solution that allows the digital thread for additive manufacturing to move beyond design and print and extend through to the last step: post-processing.

The Broken Digital Thread

Additive manufacturing is a three-step process: part design, part build, and post-processing. The first two steps (design and build) have traditionally shared a common digital thread. CAD files from the design step inform the build step by telling the 3D printer how to create the part. But after this, we cut the digital thread with the post-processing step, which traditionally has required tedious manual labor with inconsistent and unreliable results. PostProcess’ solutions have helped automate this process. CONNECT3D now comes into play to help extend our solutions even further so the digital thread can run from start to finish.

Connecting the Digital Thread

With CONNECT3D, the digital files used in the design and build can now supply information to automate the part’s post-processing. We understand that data collection and connection are critical throughout the entire workflow for additive manufacturing. Our software platform is adaptable to our customer’s needs to help companies optimize their scalability, sustainability, traceability, and quality assurance.

  • Automation. The software offers control of process parameters. The system allows for the digitization of tribal knowledge.
  • Intelligence. Data-driven decisions use predictive models and machine learning to respond more efficiently. Allows for transparency via data collection for continuous improvement.
  • Comprehensive. Connectivity to the entire additive manufacturing workflow to allow for high-volume production.

CONNECT3D Features for an End-to-End Digital Workflow

CONNECT3D offers a variety of top-notch features to help you complete your digital workflow quickly and efficiently. It allows you to have remote control and visibility over your PostProcess solutions, check alarms and warnings and even run a cycle from a remote location away from the floor. You can also review recipe generation and get real-time machine information like runtime hours and maintenance alerts.

CONNECT3D also allows our PostProcess solutions to leverage native CAD files to define the requirements and algorithms for post-processing. This creates a smarter and more efficient calculation to help create optimal post-printing results. CONNECT3D imports most native CAD formats.

Our revolutionary software platform can help you connect the digital thread throughout your additive workflow and increase your throughput, decrease part failure, and remove bottlenecks in your post-printing process. If you’re ready to see the power of CONNECT3D, you can sign up for a free demo here: Learn more about CONNECT3D.

Automating Resin Removal for Dental Applications

3D printing has a myriad of benefits for industries like consumer products, automotive, and aerospace. But additive manufacturing’s (AM) ability to manufacture custom designs with optimal accuracy gives it a special leg up in medical and dental applications. In fact, estimates project the total 3D printing market size for dental to reach $26.1 Billion Dollars this year, due in part to the roughly 50% of dental patients who have not visited the dentist since the start of the pandemic. With such substantial projected growth, it’s imperative for those in the dental AM sector to eliminate bottlenecks from their additive workflows.

Why Additive Manufacturing in Dental?

Dental models are custom for each individual patient. Traditional methods did not allow for customization with high-volume batches. Additive manufacturing is a natural fit for the dental industry because of its ability to manufacture custom designs with optimal accuracy. It allows technicians to print in batches along with the ability to customize each dental appliance. Dentists can then create most of their custom dental models, including dentures, mouth guards, retainers, dentures, custom implants, and crowns.

Dental practitioners can capture a scan of their patient’s mouth and use MCAD software to create the scan data into a solid model. They can then use their technology to align the model and print it in a specialized resin that allows for 60-70 micron accuracy, outperforming the traditional methods. It also decreases the material used by 90%.

The Post-Processing Struggle for Dental Resin Removal

While additive allows dentists to create custom models quickly, bottlenecks can spring up when they use traditional post-printing methods. Traditional methods use isopropyl alcohol (IPA) bath(s) to clean the dental models of excess resin. This can be labor-intensive and time-consuming for technicians. IPA is also a hazardous chemical and can cause environmental concerns because of its low flashpoint. IPA saturates rapidly, meaning labs constantly have to swap it out frequently.

It’s obvious AM for dental/orthodontic appliance development can unlock significant time and cost savings. Traditional post-processing methods can create bottlenecks and obstruct efficiencies. Without an automated post-printing solution, technicians may waste a significant amount of time with dangerous compounds like IPA to remove excess resin, and can even slow down lead times.

One of our customers, Byrnes Dental Lab, demonstrates how PostProcess Technologies™ DEMI 430™ resin removal solution can mitigate the post-printing challenges that many dental 3d printers can face when streamlining their additive workflow. The DEMI 430 allowed them to reduce manual labor and part cycle times. The PLM-403-SUB detergent also lasts 7-10 times longer than IPA, which allows for more machine up-time and less time spent on chemistry changeouts.

Real-World Application: Byrnes Dental Laboratory

Byrnes Dental Lab is a cutting-edge, digital dental lab serving the United Kingdom and Europe. Byrnes Dental is revolutionizing the way the dental industry works with the latest technology for digital dentistry. This means they use the Carbon M2 Digital Light Synthesis™ (DLS™) printer for production.

Ashley Byrnes with DEMI 430
Ashley Byrnes pictured with the PostProcess DEMI 430 Resin Removal Solution

But Byrnes encountered a major bottleneck as their demand grew: the traditional resin removal method of IPA dunk tanks would not provide the consistency, repeatability, and predictability that they needed to increase their production volumes. They recently implemented the software intelligent PostProcess® DEMI 430™ to streamline their resin removal process.

The DEMI 430 employs our patented Submersed Vortex Cavitation (SVC) technology to remove excess resin from parts. PostProcess’s proprietary detergents, vortex pumping scheme, and variable ultrasonics combine to remove excess resin. Software intelligence ensures that 3D-printed parts are uniformly, consistently, and reliably exposed to detergent and cavitation as they undergo post-printing.

The results for Byrnes Dental Lab were nearly instantaneous. “The improvement to our production workflow was immediately evident after only three days of use,” said Ashley Byrnes, co-owner of Byrnes Dental Lab.

Additive Manufacturing is a natural fit for the dental industry and will continue to grow and evolve with the industry’s needs. By implementing a post-processing solution, dental application manufacturers can ensure that they’re ready for the growing demand in this flourishing industry.

Check out our case studies to see the real-world applications of our automated solutions for the dental industry.

Nexus Dental Lab | Great Lakes Dental Lab

-> Want to connect? Contact Us

-> Return to Blog Homepage

Site Map | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | © 2024 PostProcess Technologies. All Rights Reserved | 2495 Main Street, Suite 615, Buffalo, NY 14214, USA | Phone: 1.866.430.5354 |