The SKZ Plastics Center in Würzburg, a leading institute in the plastics industry, is intensifying its research and training in the field of 3D printing. Post processing plays a key role here, for which an S1 blasting system from AM Solutions – 3D post processing technology was recently implemented. The focus here is on the investigation of different blasting media and their effects on surface quality, efficiency and reproducibility of the 3D-printed objects.
The SKZ, known for its comprehensive research into various materials and manufacturing processes, sees 3D printing as a key technology for the future. In its own competence center, the Center for Additive Production in Würzburg, the institute is dedicated to research and the development of training courses to qualify companies for 3D printing, especially for series production. Post-processing is particularly emphasized as a key element for series production.
“Post-processing is a very important topic in our research work on new materials for powder bed-based additive manufacturing,” confirms Kevin Popp, Senior Scientist Research Additive Manufacturing at SKZ. “For example, we are currently investigating what influence which abrasive has on the surface quality of the materials used. We are using the S1 for this and are particularly impressed by how flexible we are when it comes to post-processing with this system, such as changing the blasting medium.”
The quality of the surfaces is checked using a CT scan, for example to avoid unwanted micro glass breakage in orthoses or prostheses. Other blasting media are more suitable here. Processing parameters and their influence on quality are also being investigated in order to make it easier for companies to integrate 3D printing into their production processes.
“When it comes to series production, reproducibility and time are of course also crucial parameters that we look at closely,” explains Popp. “When we were still largely blasting manually, the surface qualities were highly variable. The S1 is able to process even the most complex components, such as brain gears with their intricate gear geometries, in large quantities with consistent quality. Whereas we previously needed a whole day for blasting 300 pieces with fluctuating results, we can now do it in 15 minutes with the best surface quality.”
Cooperation with partners such as AM Solutions is of great importance to the SKZ. The expertise and proximity of the partner made it possible to comprehensively test the blasting system and the blasting media, thus contributing to a long-term partnership.
“We see ourselves as pioneers of additive manufacturing and want to introduce people to the technology in a targeted manner.”
With the implementation of the S1 blasting system and ongoing research, the SKZ is making an important contribution to the further development and efficient integration of 3D printing into industrial processes.
“With AM Solutions, we have a partner with decades of expertise in the field of post-processing at our side, with whom we can discuss things openly and in a solution-oriented manner. This gives us a great deal of insight and, thanks to the close proximity, we were also able to test the machine and the blasting media in advance in Untermerzbach,” says Popp happily.