Delivering an SFM-AT800-S for the depowdering of laser melted metal parts to the Swiss manufacturer of satellite components SWISSto12, Solukon reaches a milestone in its still young corporate history.
With the foundation of the company and the introduction of the SPR® (Smart Powder Recuperation) depowdering technology in 2015, Solukon has revolutionized the postprocessing of laser melted metal parts. The Solukon SFM-AT800 system introduced at that time was the world’s first industrial system for automated depowdering, where the component is moved around two axes in a protected atmosphere. In combination with rotation, the powder is removed by targeted frequency excitation and collected for reuse.
Pioneer of an entire industry
Since its foundation, Solukon has committed to the mission to point out the risks of manual depowdering and to establish automated depowdering in the international 3D printing market. With well-known customers and partnerships with leading OEMs, the company has significantly optimized postprocessing in terms of occupational safety and efficiency. Across the industry, this has in turn led to greater acceptance of industrial depowdering.
In just a few years, Solukon, as an owner-managed company, has established four different systems for powder removal from metal components on the market. The company now has installed depowdering systems in 28 countries, with even more to follow. In addition to the now 200 metal machines, Solukon has many other machines in the field, including postprocessing systems for polymer, and supplies OEMs with system solutions for their product portfolio. The company does not concentrate on the development of the depowdering systems alone. Solukon has also developed solutions for quality management and integration into fully automated processes, as well as intelligent software in cooperation with Siemens, the SPR-Pathfinder®.
Aerospace as the top industry for automated depowdering
The fact that SWISSto12, a company from the aerospace industry, is now receiving the Solukon’s 200th metal system reflects the trend. “Aerospace is the industry with the most Solukon systems in the field, because the requirements for repeatable and reliable post-processing are particularly high here,” says Andreas Hartmann, CEO and CTO of Solukon.
SWISSto12 also uses the Solukon system to clean complex parts fully automatically. Using additive manufacturing, the company, among other products, supplies Radio Frequency antenna components and complex waveguide structures which are needed for satellite telecommunications. “By using additive manufacturing methods, we achieve a significant reduction in weight and costs as well as excellent frequency performance for our antennas. With the Solukon SFM-AT800-S, we depowder the printed parts reliably and quickly. Due to the unlimited freedom of motion, even complex structures inside the parts become powder-free,” says Mathieu Billod, Head of Manufacturing Technology at SWISSto12, who received the 200th Solukon system.
For Solukon, the 200th delivery of a depowdering system is another milestone. “We are honored that so many well-known companies, institutes and OEMs trust in our technology. For us, this means another kick to always grow with the challenges of our customers,” Andreas Hartmann happily shares. The next highlight for Solukon is just around the corner. At Formnext 2022, the Augsburg-based machine manufacturer will publicly present the brand-new depowdering software SPR-Pathfinder® for the first time.