Feb 15, 2017 | By Benedict

Additive Manufacturing Technologies Ltd (AMT), a 3D printing company based in Sheffield, UK, has been awarded £625,000 ($778,000) by Innovate UK to develop an automated post-processing machine for 3D printed polymer parts. The development project will last two years.

Post-processing specialist AMT has received £625,000 to develop its technology

When attempting to 3D print high-quality parts with a smooth and even surface finish, post-processing can be as important as the printing itself. Failure to take the proper care over post-processing can result in stranded bits of support material remaining on the surface of a print, as well as unwanted or uneven roughness.

But despite the importance of post-processing, this critical step remains something of an afterthought for many 3D printer users, a task that should be carried out for important items, but not as a matter of necessity. It’s not hard to see why: working a piece of sandpaper is much harder than pressing “print.”

British 3D printing company AMT has sought to seize upon the difficulty that many 3D printer users experience with post-processing, and has developed PostPro3D, a patent-pending technology that allows 3D printer users to quickly and easily apply stunning surface finishes to 3D printed parts for aesthetically demanding products, from sports shoes to dental implants. This seamless surface finishing process is based on the proprietary “PUSh” process exclusively licensed to AMT by the University of Sheffield.

AMT will use the University of Sheffield's PUSh Process

Although AMT already offers post-processing services for 3D printed parts, the company has just received a massive boost after being awarded a £625,000 grant by Innovate UK, Britain’s national innovation agency. The grant was co-funded by Innovate UK and consortium members that include UK inkjet manufacturer Xaar plc and technology company Atomjet Ltd.

The money being put into AMT will be used to develop a next-generation automated post-processing machine that will build upon the success of the existing technology while incorporating several exciting new features, such as intelligent algorithms and automated feedback that can produce a predictable and repeatable surface finish for 3D printed parts.

Advanced post-processing tech for 3D printing could reduce or eliminate the need for manual sanding

All parties involved believe that the new technology will allow 3D printing to position itself as a viable alternative to other manufacturing techniques such as injection molding, which are already capable of producing quality surface finishes with minimal post-processing.

“The Innovate UK funding award is a significant step in the development of the proven PostPro3D technology which provides the ‘missing piece’ in the digital manufacturing chain,” said Joseph Crabtree, CEO of AMT. “We are looking forward to working with OEM industrial partners to implement this technology into their 3D Printing digital factories.”

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Technology

 

 

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