3 Considerations to Improve Your Additive Manufacturing Operation in 2023

What’s on your to-do list for your additive operation in 2023? Additive manufacturing continues to grow in popularity and become a major part of a wide variety of industries. It’s important in today’s economic climate to evaluate your overall workflow and how you can improve upon your operation for the new year.

Back in December, we released our 4th Annual Post-Processing Survey. Within the survey, we asked respondents from all over the globe about their current additive operations, including post-processing, and how they planned to advance and alter their plans in the upcoming year. Let’s look at some of the common themes to see what to evaluate in your additive manufacturing operation for 2023.

Environmental Health & Safety Are Paramount to Effective Workflows.

Environmental, health, and safety (EH&S) considerations have always been important to anyone in additive manufacturing. The safety and well-being of their operations continue to be critical to maintaining an effective facility.

57% of respondents stated they want to improve their operation’s environmental, health, and safety in 2023, with the largest concentration in the EU. Those that use DED, Vat Photopolymerization, and Powder Bed Fusion print technologies reported the highest percentage of respondents looking to improve EH&S. When reviewing by industry, the medical industry is looking to improve EH&S most, with 71% prioritizing it for 2023.

As new print technologies emerge, so do new environmental, health, and safety risks. The standard ISO 17296-2 lists seven major groups under the heading “3D printing,” which shows that operating in an additive environment is not without danger. Many risks are linked to the technology itself, as well as the risks of the raw printing material. Powdered materials used in technologies like SLS, DMLS, and SLM are finely milled and increase the risk of anoxia. Liquids like resin used in technologies, such as DLP, SLA, and CLIP print technologies, can irritate and/or burn the user if they come in direct contact with the skin.

Finish 3D Printed Parts Faster.

Traditional post-processing methods are notoriously time-consuming. For the third year in a row, our respondent’s number one post-processing concern was the time it took for them to finish parts. While material extrusion remains the print technology that reported this pain point the most often, the time to finish parts is problematic across all technologies. Post-printing can be labor and time-intensive, leading to bottlenecks that can derail the entire additive workflow if you aren’t careful.

Why does it take so long to finish parts with traditional post-processing methods? One reason is that most of these post-processing methods are taken from traditional manufacturing. They weren’t designed to work specifically for additive manufacturing, so they aren’t efficient in removing support structures or excess resin in any sort of optimized way. This leads to greater bottlenecks, part warpage, and part breakage. Automated solutions that allow for reduced manual labor and increased efficiency can ease some of these common bottlenecks.

The Growing Importance of Sustainability in Additive Manufacturing.

Another buzzword heard around the additive field is the increased emphasis on sustainability. While often lumped into environmental, health, and safety, we can say based on our respondent’s input that sustainability is an important factor to consider for any additive operation. 38% of the people we spoke with are looking to increase sustainability in 2023.

Many printing companies emphasize sustainability, with companies like EOS taking a serious stance on integrating sustainability into their overall company mission. They’ve even offered powder for 3D printing that can be reused. Stratasys also maintains a commitment to what they call Mindful Manufacturing™ and have published a Sustainability Report

We here at PostProcess also feel that this dedication to sustainability should extend through to the post-printing step in the workflow. That’s why we also are committed to continuously improving our additive-tailored solutions’ efficiencies and cutting down on material usage and waste.

 

As the additive market continues to grow, post-processing methods can cost companies a lot of time, money, and resources and impact the overall efficiency of an operation. That’s why it’s important to evaluate your current processes and how you can improve them.

If you’d like to learn more about our insights from our 4th Annual Post-Processing Survey, download the full report here.

-> Want to connect? Contact Us

-> Return to Blog Homepage

Top Post-Processing Pain Points for Material Extrusion Technology Users

Post-processing has long been called the “dirty little secret” of additive manufacturing. But as additive manufacturing becomes more popular and additive users move into production with their additive solutions, the bottlenecks and problems become more and more apparent.

For our 4th Annual Post-Processing Survey, we asked respondents about their top post-processing challenges for each of the most popular print technologies. Here are the responses for the most popular technology used: Material Extrusion. Material extrusion includes FDM, FFF, and MEM print technologies.

The top pain points for this group remained consistent over the past three years of our survey, which indicates that while print technologies continue to advance, the traditional post-processing techniques still cause bottlenecks in the additive workflow.

Length of Time to Finish Parts

3D printed orange egg with lattice work on black table with grey background.
The first and most common pain point reported was the time to finish parts. Material extrusion allows for the 3D printing of complex geometries. However, these geometries then require support material to ensure the stability of the print. Often the traditional process of removing supports is cumbersome and requires a large amount of manual labor and/or soaking. Chemical baths are used to soak parts made with soluble supports. Lengthy post-processing time slows down production exponentially and can disrupt and even ruin an additive workflow if bottlenecks happen too often.

Consistency

Traditional support removal methods can lead to inconsistent results due to the manual labor required. With the need for skilled technicians to manually remove supports, parts cleaned by different technicians will be different, creating inconsistency in the final product.

Damaged Parts

Before and after black 3d printed chain.
Along with consistency, damaged parts are a common challenge with traditional material extrusion post-processing methods. We can look at well-known companies like Toro, who used to spend 2X as long to finish parts as they did to print parts.

Parts that are soaked to remove support material often need to be soaked for many hours at a time. With parts soaking in a caustic bath for ten or more hours, parts become saturated with chemicals or bloated, which makes them unusable.

These struggles with the length of time to finish parts, consistency, and damaged parts are common with traditional post-processing methods for not only material extrusion but all 3D print technologies. This is because traditional post-processing was pulled from other traditional manufacturing methods and wasn’t designed for additive manufacturing. With that in mind, solutions created specifically for additive manufactured parts can help ease these common post-processing concerns. Automated solutions built with additive in mind can help cut time, labor, and ultimately the cost associated with the post-printing step of additive manufacturing.

 

Want to learn more insights from the 2022 survey? Download the report here.

2022 Year in Review

2022 ushered in an exciting and motivating year for the 3D printing industry. Innovations in print materials and print technologies have continued to move additive manufacturing into a major asset in the shift to industry 4.0. Here at PostProcess, we were bustling with renewed energy and enthusiasm about new solutions, technologies, partnerships, and team members. As always, our team was hard at work to continue to create innovative new solutions for post-processing. Here’s a look at a few of the significant events that happened here at PostProcess in 2022.

New FDM Support Removal Solution Now Available: The VORSA 500

In February, we announced our latest FDM Support Removal Solution: The VORSA 500™. The new VORSA 500 leverages our proven Volumetric Velocity Dispersion (VVD) technology to remove consistent, hands-free support structure removal on 3D-printed FDM parts. Joining our other FDM support removal solutions, the VORSA 500 provides the fastest cycle times in the industry, reducing support removal processing times by over 50% compared to submersible tank systems.
VORSA 500 Machine Model
Enabled by our AUTOMAT3D® software platform, the VORSA 500 uses multi-dimensional spray coverage to ensure fast cycle times without damaging parts. It allows for quick dry times while maintaining part integrity because it does not saturate parts with detergent, thanks to the proprietary spray nozzle technology. With user-friendly software controls, operators have control over key process parameters and the ability to optimize cycles to produce consistent end parts.

“… the VORSA 500 demonstrates our continued market leadership in the additive manufacturing post-print space and provides the industry with the fastest FDM support removal solutions,” commented Rich Caplow, PostProcess Vice President, Product.

CONNECT3D® Additive Manufacturing Platform Launched

One of the major announcements at PostProcess this year was the commercial launch of our Additive Manufacturing Software Platform, CONNECT3D®. The CONNECT3D Additive Manufacturing Platform addresses long-standing gaps in the post-processing market, allowing the digital thread for smart additive manufacturing to move beyond design and print, all the way through to the final post-processing step. It generates parameters that can include time, temperature, and agitation to optimize processing time in your PostProcess solution(s). The platform also leverages Industrial IoT capabilities to optimize solution performance and maximize customer value.
VORSA 500 Machine Model
CONNECT3D offers:

  • integration with factory automation systems
  • open architecture that includes public APIs
  • intuitive presentation of alerts and alarms for real-time operations management and access to historical information
  • planning and scheduling features
  • remote monitoring
  • notification services over text or email
  • enterprise-grade features such as role-based user administration, efficient license management, and robust security

“Our CONNECT3D Additive Manufacturing Platform sets the stage for the industry’s next step-function advancement in additive manufacturing,” stated Rich Caplow, PostProcess VP of Product.

Automated Wax Support Removal Solution Announced

In May of this year, we announced our proprietary formulation: PLM-601-SUB. We developed this detergent to solve wax support removal concerns. Large batches of wax 3D-printed parts can be processed in our DEMI family of solutions with software-controlled parameters, making the process safe and easy for operators.

Thanks to its ability to make highly detailed patterns, 3D-printed wax casting is widely adopted across many industries and is especially useful for luxury and jewelry makers. While wax allows for highly detailed prints, it also creates incredibly fragile parts, making traditional post-processing methods difficult. Highly trained technicians are required, which forces overall low productivity.
3 purple wax rings
Traditional wax support removal also requires processing with IPA, which is typically time intensive with a multi-step process, inconsistent, and requires extensive manual labor with high technician attendance time. Safety concerns are associated with this form of support removal because of the necessity of heating the highly flammable IPA bath. The low longevity of IPA also hurts the environment due to the large amounts of waste generated.

“Effective wax support removal is a well-known obstacle for the industry. We are pleased to solve this post-processing challenge with a comprehensive solution that includes our newest industry-unique detergent,” stated Matthew Noble, Lead Chemist from PostProcess.

New Chief Marketing Officer Melissa Hanson Joins PostProcess Team

melissa hanson headshot Industry and marketing veteran Melissa Hanson joined the PostProcess team in August as our Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Hanson is a seasoned executive with deep expertise in spearheading disruptive innovation and leading high-performing teams to deliver exceptional value and transformational growth in the manufacturing and technology sectors. Hanson brings 17+ years of experience, which includes 8 years as a senior marketing leader in the additive manufacturing industry.

Said Hanson, “I am excited to join the talented and passionate team at PostProcess, and eager to lead the way in educating on its vision and mission because I believe it is one of tremendous impact.”

EOS Strategic Partnership Announced

October was an important month for us here at PostProcess. We announced our distribution partnership with EOS, a leading supplier of responsible manufacturing solutions via industrial 3D printing technology. Our VAD technology solution will allow us to provide a fully automated and sustainable depowdering solution for EOS customers.
melissa hanson headshot
Variable Acoustic Displacement™, also known as VAD technology for short, automates gross depowdering for 3D printed parts. Current powder removal methods are highly manual or semi-automated and may cause safety and sustainability issues. Our VAD solution is thermodynamically controlled with video and infrared monitoring while releasing, transferring, and recovering loose powder particles hands-free, to mitigate these concerns.

Our patent-pending VAD technology uses software intelligence to optimize mechanical energy and closed-loop thermal and displacement techniques for revolutionary bulk depowdering results, enabling full process chain automation. The powder removal and recovery achieved with VAD technology improve process performance and control, providing customers with enhanced sustainability and employee safety, repeatability and productivity, and lower operating costs. Customers can print highly detailed and complex parts without worrying about breakage in the post-processing step.

“We are proud to solidify this partnership with EOS, a global leader in industrial 3D printing, to help end users more easily adopt the complete workflow of additive manufacturing and scale their operations,” stated Jeff Mize, PostProcess CEO.

4th Annual Post-Processing Survey Results Released

The Fourth Annual Post-Processing Industry Trends Survey was released on December 7th. This survey explores the post-processing needs and solutions by market and provides an in-depth, segmented look at additive post-processing across a myriad of applications. Our goal in surveying the market and assembling this data is to help make clear the path toward a successful future for Additive Manufacturing (AM) by recognizing the downfalls, considerations, and opportunities for all aspects of post-processing.
post-processing survey icon on ipad
Within the report, learn more about 3D print technology trends, post-processing method trends, production vs. prototyping trends, post-processing expenditures, post-processing pain points, and post-processing investments.

This survey is the first and only of its kind to evaluate post-processing needs across the additive landscape, and is now available for download here: https://www.postprocess.com/trends-report/

 

2022 was a year of innovation and forward movement here at PostProcess. And while the year is wrapping up, we have so many exciting things coming up for 2023. We can’t wait to share all the exciting things we have in store for the new year, so stay tuned.

-> Want to connect? Contact Us

-> Return to Blog Homepage

What is Post-Processing in Additive Manufacturing?

Additive manufacturing is a revolutionary way to create 3D-printed end-user parts. It can offer benefits to almost any industry looking to ramp up prototyping and/or production. But when talking about the power of additive manufacturing, it’s also important to note one of the often overlooked steps: post-processing. Post-processing is often necessary and is one of the final steps required for a customer-ready part. Each print technology requires a different post-processing workflow.

But what is post-processing? Why is it needed? And what are some common post-processing techniques? Let’s take a deeper look at what post-processing is and common post-processing methods for popular 3D print technologies.

What is Post-Processing?

Post-processing refers to the third step in the additive manufacturing workflow. It can refer to the one or many processes that need to occur once a part is 3D printed to remove support structures or excess material on the build. This can include support removal and/or surface finishing. What steps need to be taken are largely dependent not only on the print technology used, but the print material used and the intended final use of the 3D printed part.

Why is Post-Processing in 3D Printing Needed?

Examples of 4 3d printed partsOnce a part is 3D printed, depending on the technology used, some steps need to be taken before we can use it for its final intended purpose. Many 3D prints require supports that are built into the design to maintain the integrity of the build structure. This is typical with technologies like Fused Deposition Modeling [FDM] and PolyJet, but can also appear in resin 3D printing in Stereolithography [SLA]. Some technologies that print metal parts, like Direct Metal Laser Sintering [DMLS], leave build lines on the part that may require surface finishing.

As we mentioned, each print technology requires different post-processing steps before a part is complete and customer ready. There are also many post-processing techniques to process these parts. Let’s examine some traditional post-processing techniques.

What are Some Traditional 3D Printing Post-Processing Techniques?

Print technologies that use liquid resin typically come out covered in excess resin. The additional resin needs to be removed before the final part. Traditional methods to remove excess resin include baths of toxic IPA or solvent that will remove the greasy excess resin. This can often take multiple baths and require manual hand scrubbing to remove the residue fully. Parts can then be cured in an oven and painted if needed.

Many metal 3D print technologies like Direct Metal Laser Sintering [DMLS] and Selective Laser Melting [SLM] leave layer lines on their 3D printed parts. It often leaves parts with a rough surface. To address this, traditional post-processing methods include vibratory machines and hand sanding to clean and smooth these parts for their intended use.

Fused Deposition Modeling typically requires support structures when the print has overhangs or suspended features. Support structures allow for the successful printing of complex shapes by propping up these otherwise unsupported areas and keeping them from collapsing while being printed, helping to maintain part geometry. FDM support material is made of a different material than the build material and is sometimes soluble in a solvent. For FDM support removal, traditional methods include soaking in IPA to remove the support material or manual removal with pliers or other hand tools.

Many risks and problems are associated with these traditional and outdated post-processing methods. While traditional methods can be effective in finishing parts, they create bottlenecks for additive manufacturers. For example, soaking in IPA baths can harm the build material and warp parts. Soaking for extended periods in IPA or caustic solvents can also waterlog parts and lead to long drying times before they are complete. Lastly, manual bulk removal has implications for both consistency and quality.

What is Automated Post-Processing in 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing?

Automated post-processing integrates hardware, software, and chemistry to alleviate some traditional post-processing struggles. A software-intelligent post-processing solution offers reliable, consistent, and repeatable results that aren’t found with traditional methods. It combines years of data from thousands upon thousands of benchmarked parts to optimize recipes to deliver precise finishing, helping any operation scale at a rapid pace.

By automating the post-processing step in additive manufacturing, you can eliminate time-consuming and expensive piece-by-piece manual cleaning, providing reliable resin and support removal and dependable surface finishing. An automated post-processing solution can ease the challenges with traditional methods and eliminate the bottleneck in additive workflows.

For more information on automated post-processing solutions, visit [HERE].

-> Want to connect? Contact Us

-> Return to Blog Homepage

IPA Health, Safety, and Sustainability Concerns – Is there a Better Option?

Sustainability, health, and safety are all important factors for most manufacturing operations. As we’ve mentioned previously, companies are making strides toward reducing their carbon footprint and improving their sustainability practices. With 65% of additive manufacturers looking to increase their health, safety, and sustainability in their post-processing operations this year, it’s important to evaluate every element of your post-processing workflow.

One major hurdle additive manufacturers face with the sustainability, health, and safety of their operations is the use of IPA in their post-processing workflow, especially with resin. What are some alternatives to IPA in the post-processing workflow, and what’s the best option for your operation? Read on to find out.

Why Not IPA?

Beaker with IPAIPA or isopropyl alcohol is the traditional solvent used for post-processing many resins. IPA also reaches saturation fast and requires frequent changeouts, which can affect the sustainability of your additive operation.

Once the parts are soaked in an IPA bath, often multiple times, they can become saturated and warped from the time spent in the tank(s) to get the resin removed. Even after multiple baths, parts may still need manual scrubbing or cleaning to remove any leftover residue or stickiness from the soaking process. This can cause musculoskeletal disorders in technicians who are required to repeat this scrubbing step repeatedly.

While your parts will get clean, IPA can be problematic from both a sustainability point of view and a health/safety point of view. The risk of dermal or respiratory damage is a major concern for operations that use IPA. Even more concerning is the low flashpoint of IPA (12℃ or 53.7℉), which makes this chemical combustible and can cause explosions.

Traditional IPA Alternatives

Alternatives to IPA are available that can be used for resin removal. However, most do not help in areas like sustainability, health, or safety. For example, dipropylene glycol methyl ether (DPM) or tripropylene glycol methyl ether (TPM) may be used instead of IPA. But these solvents still cause harmful fumes and require frequent chemical changeouts. They aren’t very effective in complex geometries and therefore pose the same warpage concerns as IPA. With all the extra post-processing steps required with these alternatives, you’ll also pay more per unit.

Is There a Better Option?

If sustainability, health, and safety are at the forefront of your considerations for a post-processing solution, PostProcess’s PLM-403-SUB could be the answer to your post-processing struggles. Our detergent offers a significantly lower flashpoint when compared to IPA and does not give off overpowering, unpleasant fumes like IPA or its alternatives. Because our detergent is less hazardous than IPA, it can be cheaper to dispose of and reaches saturation much slower than IPA, meaning less waste.

PLM-403-SUB was specifically developed to work with our patented Submersed Vortex Cavitation (SVC) technology, a transformative post-printing solution. When used in one of our DEMI family of solutions, our detergent unlocks revolutionary benefits and efficiencies for SLA/DLP/CLIP users.

 

-> Want to connect? Contact Us

-> Return to Blog Homepage

Additive Manufacturing vs. 3D Printing: Is there a Difference?

3D printing and additive manufacturing are two terms often used interchangeably. But are additive manufacturing and 3D printing really the same thing? We’re here to take a deep dive into 3D printing and additive manufacturing to help you better understand how these two terms relate to each other.

What is 3D Printing?

By definition, 3D printing refers to ‌the process of creating a three-dimensional object from a digital model (such as a CAD drawing). They put the drawing into the 3D printing machine, and it slices the object into thin layers. The machine then lays these thin layers of material down in succession to create an end object.

A variety of materials are used to create these models, including metal powders, thermoplastics, and resins. Common 3D print technologies include:

  • FDM (fused deposition modeling): A print technology that extrudes a thermoplastic filament to create the layer-by-layer model.
  • SLS (selective laser sintering): A polymer powder print technology. Pre-heated to its melting point, it is selectively melted with a CO2 laser, fusing the particles together to create a solid part.
  • SLA (stereolithography): A print technology where a photosensitive liquid resin is solidified under an ultraviolet laser.
  • PolyJet: A print technology that uses liquid photopolymers and builds parts by depositing the ultrafine droplets of these liquid photopolymers on a build platform through the print head(s).

3D printing is generally used for small-scale operations and wouldn’t be used to describe many of the larger-scale operations that use 3D printing in their manufacturing workflow.

What is Additive Manufacturing?

On the other hand, Additive Manufacturing features 3D printing as an element of its overall process. But it encompasses so much more than just 3D printing. Additive manufacturing requires 3D printers, but they are only one part of the term. Additive involves a much more complex and in-depth industrial manufacturing process, including the entire print workflow. It encompasses multiple processes, while 3D printing refers to only a small part of the process.

These operations involve more than creating 3D models, which can include:

  • Modeling (CAD drawings)
  • Material traceability
  • The workflow
  • Post-processing or finishing steps such as clear coating, painting, polishing, and heat treatments
  • Quality and inspection systems

So What’s the Difference?

3D printing uses an additive process to create an end product, but it is not always additive manufacturing. However, everything that is made in additive manufacturing is considered 3D printing.

We can conclude that 3D printing refers to smaller-scale, at-home printing operations, while additive manufacturing has been used to refer to large-scale or industrial manufacturing. This means context is important when you’re differentiating between the two terms.

So while they both refer to similar processes, they are (albeit subtly) different. To determine which term to use, consider the context of what you’re looking to describe. When referring to an operation that has a full workflow with multiple steps in a manufacturing or industrial setting, you should use the term additive manufacturing. For an operation that creates one-off models or is a hobbyist operation, you would use the term 3D printing.

 

-> Want to connect? Contact Us

-> Return to Blog Homepage

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.

Site Map | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | © 2023 PostProcess Technologies. All Rights Reserved | 2495 Main Street, Suite 615, Buffalo, NY 14214, USA | Phone: 1.866.430.5354 | info@postprocess.com

Twitter
YouTube
LinkedIn
Facebook