Comprehensive system solutions for effectively handling plastic powders

Efficient powder handling for additive manufacturing with plastics

When supplying plastic powders as materials for additive manufacturing, we rely on a modular material management system. This way, we ensure a stable process thanks to the professional way the different plastic powders are handled. In addition, modularity gives our customers maximum freedom to convert, expand or combine existing systems. This creates the certainty that you will be very well prepared to deal with new plastic products.

Powder systems from IB Additive for your own production

Dust-tight emptying, conveying, screening and mixing are the essential processes for supplying 3D printers. Our systems are designed so flexibly that they can be combined with all established printing systems. This provides the freedom needed to design genuinely customised additive manufacturing systems without any limitations.

Plastic powders fresh from the factory:
emptying big bags and sacks ergonomically

The material flow supply of additive manufacturing processes begins with the emptying of factory-fresh plastic powders, which are usually delivered by the manufacturer in big bags or sacks. IB Additive’s emptying stations are designed for a maximum of ergonomics and occupational safety. Accordingly, the stand-alone system modules can be easily connected to existing suction extractors or equipped with filters.

Material flow: closed conveying process for clean additive manufacturing

Only in closed systems can plastic powders for the additive processes of 3D printing be conveyed safely, cleanly and stably. In particular, it is important to ensure that the different powder qualities and powder materials do not contaminate each other. Specifically, the powders concerned are new powders, as well as waste and overflow powders. The conveyor technology designed by IB Additive is used as a link between the individual stations, and it also connects existing silo stations or unpacking stations and 3D printers. The whole process is accompanied by software that ensures a high level of automation and thus reduces staff involvement in feeding the printers to a minimum.

Plastic powders: screening and mixing

The key to baking is to sieve the ingredients well; the same also holds good for additive manufacturing. Screening stations have the job of removing everything from the powder that is bigger than a defined particle size. This way, only graded material can enter the 3D printing process. Deviations from the standard particle size may, for example, be oversized particles in powders from re-use, as well as possible foreign particles in new material. In IB Additive’s screening stations, ultrasound is used to vibrate and clean the screen.

This procedure is extremely quiet and effective. The high screening capacity makes mechanical vibrating units with unbalance motors and large screening surfaces superfluous. During mixing, our solutions then have the perfect ratio of old and new powder. After all, it’s the mixture that makes the difference, which is then reflected in stable printing results.

Storage: this is where quality begins

The variety of transport and storage containers for plastic powder is huge. This variance is the result of different systems and powder manufacturers. To ensure that everything fits together perfectly, IB Additive, as a system supplier, provides custom-made containers, vessels and silos made of metal. These are suitable both for storage and for internal and external powder transport. Depending on the applications and the application-specific features, these vessels are equipped with valves for fluidisation and sensors to indicate the filling level. In highly automated plants, the storage containers are also equipped with load cells (weighing cells) to ensure that plastic powders are continuously available in 24/7 processes.