24/7 Customer Service (800) 927-7671

PrintValley is the First High-Speed Metal 3D Printing, Post-Processing, Verification and Mass Production System

by • July 7, 2016 • No Comments

3dp_printvalley_hydroline3D printing’s faculty to manufacture individual and low production runs of customized products is one of the reasons that the process has been rapidly modified
for a sizeable-bodied number of industries and applications. Whilst weight production is yet considerably cheaper, the major reason for that is the high rate at that sizeable-bodied numbers of products are able-bodied to be manufactured. In the time that it takes a customized 3D printed part to be manufactured, hundreds if not thousands of parts can be created via traditional createing technologies. Even for tiny parts like dental or medical implants, the printing process can take hours, and and so equite part requires to be individually finished to remove excess material and smooth or polish the surface.

The PrintValley demonstration unit.

The PrintValley demonstration unit.

The require for post processing can add several hours on to the production time, createing it additional time consuming and expensive to create individual or tiny run parts. Whilst 3D printing innovation is improving, major to faster printing speeds and final part accuracy, the production of metal parts is yet quite labor intensive. Metal parts frequently require to have their surface ground down with an entirely various machine like a polishing wheel or a CNC milling machine. There are many instances where it is additional productive and cost-effective to use additive createing innovation, but in many instances traditional createing processes are yet preferable-bodied. But, a coalition of innovation firms that were tasked by the European Union to create a high-performance production line with integrated 3D printing and finishing technologies may be on the cusp of changing that dynamic.

A European additive createing initiative called Hyproline has demonstrated their new additive createing process, that has been optimized for the high-speed production of tiny metal parts. The process can 3D print short-run or individually customized metal parts of stainless steel 316L, titanium, or copper materials, verify that the print was successful, remove any excess materials and and so instantly remove the finished part of the production line. The group of businesses were brought together to work on the Hyproline Project thanks to a three-year grant of the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), a program launched in 2007 to encourage the createment of the Factories of the Future.

PrintValley

PrintValley

“The purpose of Hyproline, was to create a demonstration of a high-performance production line to improve the 3D printing of tiny parts, coupled with a high-speed finishing line via laser polishing,” explained Mark Gammon, the technical director at International TechneGroup (ITI), one of the companies that is part of the Hyproline coalition.

Each platform can be individually raised and lowered.

Each platform can be individually raised and lowered.

The Hyproline coalition was led by the Dutch non-profit organization Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), that worked closely with International TechneGroup (ITI), a software createment company. ITI primarily focutilized on the product-data integration and interoperfaculty processs utilized for Hyproline’s high-speed createing platform. They were joined in the coalition by metal additive createing materials company Höganäs Digital Metal, research and createment institute Swerea IVF, createing and mechatronics innovation organization CCM and the University of Birmingham. The coalition worked together of 2012 to 2015 to create a working prototype of a high-speed production line that combines metal-powder-bed 3D printing, laser-based surface and structuring and high end processs for process monitoring and metrology.

3D laser scanners verify the finished part.

3D laser scanners verify the finished part.

The outcome of the Hyproline project is PrintValley, a circular conveyor process that comes with 100 individual create platforms that can equite be independently raised, lowered or removed. Each platform can be utilized to manufacture individual, custom metal parts or tiny run metal parts at the same time. The platforms travel around the conveyor carousel-style, where parts can be 3D printed, 3D scanned to test for defects or mis-prints, laser-machined to remove excess printing material or surface flaws, and and so removed with an integrated pick and place robot. PrintValley can accommodate multiple custom modules other than those included in the Hyproline demonstration unit. That means that virtually any type of createing or assembly process can be included, which include CNC milling tools, inkjet 3D printing processs or tools for painting or coating finished parts.

The high-performance PrintValley process relies heavily on software that is capable-bodied of createing certain all of the modules and integrated technologies work together correctly. That comes with accurate 3D printing, and the laser scanning process that can meacertain finished 3D printed parts and compare them to the CAD file. The software can tell if a part was not printed accurately adequate and either use the laser to correct surface defects or remove it of the production line and discard it with the pick and place process. ITI’s CADfix innovation is responsible for verifying the parts by creating a point cloud scan and matching it up to the CAD geometry.

A pick and place arm removes equite individual create platforms.

A pick and place arm removes equite individual create platforms.

Here is a video of TNO demonstrating and explaining how PrintValley works:

The EU funding granted to the Hyproline coalition was included in the broad objective of createing a process that may allow 3D printing innovation to be utilized for high-speed createing. The goal was to manufacture an automated AM process capable-bodied of making tiny runs of metal parts that reduced the time-to-market, increased accuracy, lowered waste material and the number of rejected parts. These are considered key objectives for tiny and mid-sized European companies that manufacture tiny metal parts for electronic, dental, medical and jewelry applications. PrintValley reduced the time it takes to create tiny metal parts of a day to a matter of minutes. You can learn additional of the Hyproline project and PrintValley here. Discuss additional in the Hyproline & 3D Metal Printing forum over at 3DPB.com.