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PowderCleanse

Automated powder recycling for AM

Start Date: Qtr2 2017 – Qtr3 2020

Objective:

  1. Develop a self-optimising sieving and recycling process which is driven by online analytical measurement techniques and real time monitoring
  2. Identify techniques which could be applied to bulk powder screening for the detection and automated extraction of foreign particles
  3. Provide fully enclosed end-to-end powder handling with complete powder traceability

Key activities:

Simulation of the build process in an AM facility; integrating a sieving system with a particle size measurement device; testing of the initial prototype system and upgraded prototype system.

Benefits:

Economic

  • Reduction in powder used at risk, reducing the number of build failures and scrapped parts
  • Digital integration allows easy tacking of changes to batch properties allowing informed decisions on the limits of powder use.
  • Closed loop processing will reduce the amount of powder scrapped due to contamination

Environmental

  • Reduction in the amount of waste produced in the AM process
  • Real time monitoring will allow powder to be used the maximum amount of times before being scrapped decreasing the amount of fresh powder required.

Social

  • Closed loop processing will reduce health and safety risks associated with explosive or carcinogenic powders
  • Increased confidence and adoption of AM will feed down the associated supply chain, indirectly creating jobs

MTC role in project

The MTC were involved in the creation of the functional design specification at the beginning of the project. Next simulation of an AM factory was performed to find the process inefficiencies and the effect combining sieving and sizing into one step could have on the overall build process. The integration of the equipment into one system was performed at MTC after which the system was evaluated against equivalent offline PSD testing equipment. Doped oversize testing was performed to evaluate the system’s ability to detect differences in particle size. The remaining work for the MTC is receiving, installing and testing the upgraded prototype system and creating a promotional demo video.

Project partners:

Carpenter Additive (LPW), MTC, Malvern, Aegleteq, Farleygreene

Funding body:

IUK

Project budget:

£249k

Grant to MTC:

£249k

Contact Us:

NCAM@the-mtc.org