IPP&T Magazine Online

Atmosphere management and filtration technology to boost metal additive manufacturing productivity

April 8, 2022   Don Horne


BOFA International has developed a world first innovation in atmosphere management and filtration technology to make the exchange of filters in metal additive manufacturing processes safer, faster and better for productivity.

The stand-alone AM 400 system has a unique filter exchange mechanism to ensure the filters that remove potentially harmful particulate from metal additive manufacturing can be exchanged on-site without risking a thermal event.

Laser powder bed fusion processes used in metal additive manufacturing needs to operate in an inert atmosphere because the materials worked risk inducing a thermal event should they come into contact with oxygen. As a consequence, when filters need to be exchanged in these systems, up until now, equipment has had to be shut down and moved to a safe area for the saturated filters to be replaced by operatives wearing full PPE.

With BOFA’s AM 400 atmosphere management and filtration system, filters are contained within a separate housing with a robust seal, enabling the exchange to be completed quickly and safely without isolating the equipment.

Katrina Clemens, General Manager, BOFA Americas, Inc commented: “This innovation in extraction system design will support the productivity goals of businesses involved in metal additive manufacturing. This production process is used across multiple industry sectors to create high value components and products, and by enabling easier filter exchange, end users could potentially benefit from reduced downtime, meaning improved productivity.”

The AM 400 extraction system has been developed specifically with and for the metal additive manufacturing market, offering high air flow potential up to a maximum flow of 190 cu ft/min and a maximum operating pressure of 250mBar, with low leakage at <30ml/min @ -10mBar.

In addition to enhancing filter exchange efficiency, AM 400 filtration system users will also benefit from patented innovations that optimize filter performance, enabling operators to monitor filter status and coordinate exchanges to match maintenance schedules.

Added Katrina Clemens: “The AM 400 marks a significant advancement in extraction technology for metal additive manufacturing and is an important part of a manufacturer’s overall environmental workplace strategy, while at the same time helping to safeguard product quality and potential value-adding productivity gains.”

The AM 400 will be featured in the BOFA Americas line-up at RAPID + TCT 2022, alongside a new high temperature 3D PrintPRO model (3D PrintPRO HT) and a redesigned 3D PrintPRO 4 system, in addition to its established 3D PrintPRO range and AD Oracle SA iQ.

www.bofainternational.com


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