Unlocking Resin Post-Processing: An ROI Story

Resin 3D Printing has offered many industries like dental and medical an opportunity to create parts they never thought were possible with other 3D printed materials. Resin provides many advantages over other 3D print technologies, such as a better resolution, faster printing, and stronger printed products. However, with all these advantages, there are also problems when post-processing resin. Our patented solution offers resin printers the opportunity to get back the money they could waste in the last step of their resin workflow.

Traditional Resin Post-Processing

Traditional resin post-processing has many drawbacks. Workflows can require multiple steps, including soaking parts in multiple tanks, scrubbing or cleaning with brushes, and focused cleaning with squeeze bottles. With traditional methods, manual labor causes increased technician attendance time. These processes also typically use generic solvents not designed for additive manufacturing, such as isopropyl alcohol (IPA)

IPA can also create a hazardous work environment for employees because of its highly reactive nature and low flashpoint. These methods do not allow organizations to scale their additive operations because they are time-consuming and offer inconsistent results, not to mention the additional environmental concerns and requirements with using IPA. Using IPA for resin removal can cut into your bottom line and ruin your ROI.

PostProcess Resin Removal Solutions

We have designed post-processing solutions that help increase your throughput, efficiency, and ultimately your ROI for resin printing. How do we do this?

Increased Productivity

Our resin removal solutions offer quicker cycle times than the traditional methods detailed above. Our proprietary software promotes consistent and repeatable results, so you won’t have to worry about reprinting.

Detergents Designed for Additive

Our in-house detergents are formulated specifically for additive manufacturing and offer a higher resin capacity than IPA. With this increase in capacity, the chemistry needs fewer changeouts and has a lower disposal frequency. Your post-processing solution will provide you with higher throughput because of less machine downtime and reduced waste generation. Our PLM-403-SUB detergent, used for our resin removal solutions, complies with ISO 10993 for biocompatibility. This means if you are printing for dental, medical, or audio applications, your prints will be biocompatible after processing.

Improved Efficiency

Automating the post-processing step of your resin workflow will help you increase the efficiency of your additive workflow. On average, PostProcess resin removal solutions beat traditional processes in both processing time and technician time. After thousands of tests, our solutions take, on average, 10 minutes to clean a batch of resin-printed parts. Compare this to an average of 20 minutes with traditional post-printing methods. Technician time is significantly less, from 10 minutes to 2 minutes on average.

ROI Calculations: The Basics

Before we delve into real-world ROI calculations, let’s look at the considerations when calculating our ROIs. We ‌look at the client’s current operation, which includes total print costs, and what portion of these costs are for post-processing: labor costs, the time spent processing each part, and the percentage of parts that come out warped or damaged, to name a few. We then compared these numbers to what post-processing costs would look like with implementing a PostProcess solution. The result is an ROI unique to each specific operation.

ROI Calculations

A client wanted to improve their resin removal post-printing operation. Because of the size and scale of their process, our team suggested the DEMI 430 resin removal solution.

ROI chart breaking down cost savings from post-processing resin with the DEMI430

They originally used traditional post-processing methods, which required them to submerse parts in multiple IPA baths. Limited capacity and cycle time created a bottleneck in their workflow. Using IPA caused a significant burden for the customer because it required frequent changeouts. Once the PostProcess solution was implemented, our customer saw a decrease in both cycle time and chemistry changeouts, along with an increase in throughput.

How it Works: Automated Resin Post-Processing

Now that we’ve run through the real-life quantitative results that PostProcess solutions can achieve, let’s explore the technology behind these results and the benefits it offers.

At the heart of the DEMI family of resin removal solutions is our patent-pending Submersed Vortex Cavitation technology.

Key components in our resin removal technology include:

Proprietary Detergents

We specifically engineered PostProcess detergents for additive manufacturing. The detergents dissolve soluble support material or uncured resin without compromising the build material.

Vortex Pumping Scheme

Our solutions use a strategic pumping scheme that creates a proprietary rotating motion of the part while submerged in the detergent. Regardless of density or geometry, the technology will ensure that it uniformly exposes the part to the detergent and cavitation from the ultrasonics.

Variable Ultrasonics

Our solutions use ultrasonic-generated cavitation as another form of mechanical energy to optimize the chemistry. The ultrasonics emit sound waves at varying frequencies and amplitude, creating waves of compression and expansion in the detergent. This agitation of the liquid causes microscopic bubbles (referred to here as cavitation) to form on the surface of the part. The bubbles agitate support material as the chemistry weakens it, accelerating the processing time.

 

Our post-processing solutions help our customers overcome the bottlenecks and problems associated with traditional post-printing techniques. We do this with our patented hardware, proprietary software, and additive-specific detergents. Combined with our AUTOMAT3D™ software that helps users optimize the exact ‌time, temperature, and agitation. Our resin removal solutions deliver precise, hands-free post-printing for additive manufacturing workflows.

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.

What to Expect from PostProcess at AMUG Conference 2022

Catch the PostProcess crew at the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) Conference happening in Chicago, Illinois, from April 3rd – 7th, 2022. AMUG provides in-depth education, networking opportunities, and training sessions for AM industry professionals from all over the world. As Platinum sponsors, we’re thrilled to be there to share our experience and expertise in post-processing.

PostProcess will be on-site at Booth P25 in Salon D to share our software-led post-printing solutions. Our DEMI 910 solution will be with us, and we’ll also be showcasing our latest innovation, CONNECT3D® Additive Manufacturing Platform! Sign Up for a live demo of CONNECT3D during the expo.

Stop by our booth and be sure to check out one of our presentations happening throughout AMUG:

Monday, April 4, 3:00 PM Astoria (3rd Floor)
Solving the Post-Printing Challenges for Resin Removal Applications

One of the common challenges that additive manufacturers face revolves around resin removal. This presentation, hosted by Dean VonBank, VP of Technical Services & Customer Success, will cover practical implementations with use case examples from those who have integrated automated post-printing to scale their operations and optimize throughput and consistency.

Monday, April 4, Astoria 3:30 PM (3rd Floor)
Utilizing Software in Post-Printing to Scale Up from Prototyping to Production

Digitizing the effort of post-processing additive parts is an untapped opportunity for companies who are want to automate, drive efficiency, and increase productivity in their additive operations. Our latest innovation, the CONNECT3D Additive Manufacturing Platform, is the newest addition to our current full-stack solution of hardware, chemistry, and software and complements the current AUTOMAT3D® software application. VP of Products, Rich Caplow, will discuss how to overcome the issues around connectivity and barriers that arise for companies who want to ‌transition from prototyping to using AM for full-scale production.

Thursday, April 7, 1:30 to 2:30 PM, Salon C
Post-Process Workshop

Get “hands-on” experience with post-processing and learn first-hand how to execute the last step in the additive manufacturing workflow. Join PostProcess for this workshop that covers DLS, FDM, MJF, Polyjet, and SLA post-processing solutions and experience the transformative power of automated post-printing.

Our team is excited to connect with the AMUG community to showcase our latest post-printing innovations. Contact us (link to contact page) to set up a meeting at Booth P25 in Salon D. We hope to see you there!

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