In part one of our docking and decanting blog series, we discussed the PowderLife ecosystem, barriers to serial production in additive manufacturing (AM), and we covered automated docking solutions. Part two will cover the auto-decanting systems.
Read part 1: Powder Handling for 21st Century - Hopper Docking.
In order to load many of today’s smaller platform AM machines there is a requirement for the user to fill OEM specific vessels with powder; doing this often requires the manual transfer from non-recyclable plastic containers, and inevitably results in significant non-value added time, as well as open container powder and operator exposure.
Carpenter Additive’s auto-decanting system follows the same closed-loop, modular architecture to the docking system offering the same ability to transfer powder safely and efficiently from the Hopper. The system is designed to feed any type of smaller container that then interfaces to load different medium sized LPBF machines (single- or double-laser machines).
The decanting system has been designed to service smaller machines that have removable powder vessels and will allow the user to automatically decant a given weight of powder accurately from the Hopper, which is controlled via the ergonomically positioned human machine interface (HMI). Decanting is digitally metered to keep accurate traceability and statistics on powder use. The solution enables the user to purchase large single batches or powder lots, and maintain just in time inventory, as opposed to purchasing different material lots over time in plastic containers, giving more consistency in terms of material input. The decanting system simultaneously eliminates plastic waste, and offers quick and easy powder loading whilst removing the risk of powder exposure, promoting operational efficiency gains.
Benefits of Auto-Decanting
- Bulk transfer of powder in a closed loop process
- Precision dosing of powder into containers for small-to-mid size machines
- Limit exposure of the operator to loose powder
- Flexibility and adaptability to a wide range of AM systems
- Digitally ready to incorporate into your connected factory or Industry 4.0 vision
The Powder Digital Thread
Carpenter Additive’s PowderLife suite of solutions solve today’s powder lifecycle management barriers, but as AM powder experts, Carpenter Additive fully believes the industry’s future needs are based around the automation and the intelligent use of data.
As the industry accelerates more and more toward widespread serial production opportunities, efficient and secure powder handling becomes more and more critical. Creating a closed loop powder management solution provides the foundation which enables an intelligent, data driven production process.
Today’s developed technology lays the foundations for the digital journey, and with Carpenter Additive’s continual development of innovative new technologies for further automation and deeper supply chain integration will be possible.
Partnering with Carpenter Additive will not only deliver solutions for today’s problems but drive your continual improvement and optimization through the Digital Thread collected by PowderLife solutions and analyzed by 130 years plus of innovation and materials expertise.
Our goal is not just to provide powder, but to provide confidence in powder lifecycle management operations.
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