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Expert Insight

Automated pre-/post-processing of powder bed-based additive manufacturing of polymeric components

The powder-bed based additive manufacturing of components with different materials has undergone rapid development in recent years. A wide range of components are now being produced for industrial use using these methods. The process chains are often not yet (fully) automated. Currently, automation exists from design through data preparation to the building process, but nesting (preparation of specific construction orders for a machine) with individual configurations is still performed manually.

In the automation of the entire process chain, both the analysis of components prior to printing with regard to sensitive design elements and the unpacking and depowdering of components, considering individual building processes, are often still characterized by manual elements. This article describes possibilities and procedures for the automated analysis of components, cleaning (depowdering), as well as the examination of completeness and quality of components after the printing process. Special attention is given to complex and intricate components. The process steps demonstrate the requirements and design of suitable tools, methods, and procedures that are necessary for a seamless digital process chain. The article also addresses the design, structure, and specific requirements of an overall system. From the findings, features are derived that complicate or make automated handling impossible. This then leads to rules for adapted design of the components.

The speaker is:
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Paul Helmut Nebeling, Professor, Hochschule Reutlingen


  • Automation and Handling