Spengler's DCK 01 System Revolutionizes 3D Printing Post-Processing Through Automation

The 3D printing industry continually evolves, steadily focusing on mass production and the optimization of production and post-processing procedures. According to a recent report by PostProcess Technologies, post-processing trends of 2022 show increasing user interest in process automation and an emphasis on workplace safety. It’s commonplace to find post-processing tasks being handled manually and separately, leading to repetition, waste of time, and undesirable for both operators and companies. The latter would rather delegate human resources and talent to activities with greater value addition.

Considering these developments, a youthful company, Spengler, is gaining specialization in post-processing to meet certain needs within this market segment. Spengler originates from the combined experience of founders Stefano Rebecchi and Alessandro Facchini in the 3D printing space for over a decade. As a part of the Franco-Italian IntegrAM group, the company now provides a broad spectrum of services for additive manufacturing. These include designing customized SLS printing systems, consultation for materials development, automatic post-processing systems for polymer 3D printing, and surface finishing for metals. One of their standout solutions is the DCK 01 system.

The DCK 01 is a fully automated post-processing system suitable for PBF (Powder Bed Fusion) additive technologies. This system consolidates various individual modules provided by Spengler into a comprehensive all-in-one solution. Spengler claims the DCK 01 to be the only automated solution capable of offering decaking, cleaning, surface finishing, and depowdering. But what are the specifications of this post-processing solution, and how does it fulfill the current industry needs?

Spengler’s DCK 01 All-in-One System for Greater Efficiency and Safety

Observing the additive manufacturing market, it’s evident that companies who put an emphasis on automation and safety are leading. The modern digital, swift and efficient Industry 4.0 dictates increasingly high production standards, intelligent management of talent and enhanced workplace safety.

The DCK 01 system is designed to fulfil these burgeoning demands. It does this by providing post-processing automation, operational efficiency and bolstered safety. The creation of this system originates from the observed challenges that companies face while regularly using PBF technologies. “We began by developing SLS printers, so we understand the implications of working with powder every single day. This drove us to develop the DCK 01 system in collaboration with our associates in the Italian IntegrAM Group,” explains Stefano Rebecchi, co-founder of Spengler.

The powder cake is transferred into the machine post-printing, keeping the operator from contact with it.

One of the most commonly used powders in additive manufacturing is polyamide or nylon, especially PA11 and PA12. Even though nylon is not toxic to humans, it can cause skin and eye irritation in operators manually performing decaking or depowdering operations. Until now, there are not enough studies on the topic, but recent research like the one published in the Journal of Safety, Health and Ergonomics titled “Behavior and Impact of Polyamide Nylon to the Indoor Air Quality during SLS Powder Handling Process” is pointing out the need for improved health protection for technicians.

The DCK 01 system is designed to significantly reduce powder contact time and ensure higher productivity, due to faster processes and reassignment of staff to other tasks.

Features of the DCK 01 System

So far, we’ve discussed the advantages of the DCK 01 system, but who are the potential users? The IntegrAM DCK 01 system is engineered to handle parts made by medium-sized PBF printers in high-production settings. Hence, it is perfect for users of SLS or Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers with one or more systems to manage, aiming to optimize workflow in their production, such as printing departments or OEMs.

In technical terms, the DCK 01 has a footprint of 200 x 115 x 210 cm, and is capable of processing a complete cake with a volume of 30/40 liters in less than an hour. This makes it possible to handle several cakes a day, saving up to 3 hours per print compared with manual methods. The system’s flexibility also makes it possible to process larger powder cakes and adapt the product to specific customer requirements.

Its functions include: a “decaking” phase, during which the parts are gently extracted from the powder cake; self-regulated recovery of the powder used; a de-powdering phase and automatic cleaning of the parts by means of a patented vibratory sandblasting process; and an ecological, chemical-free surface finishing process. Added to this are customizable machining programs via a touch-screen interface and PLC, as well as an ATEX extraction solution. An integrated two-cycle mixing and screening system and a powder conveying system can also be added.

According to the manufacturer, the DCK 01 system, by optimizing time and resources, enables the investment to pay for itself in a short space of time (7 to 15 months, depending on production volume), and increases revenues in the short term. Finally, the solution is positioned on the market with an attractive price tag of less than €100,000.

Spengler also has other interesting news in store: the team is working on the development of a small-format, high-temperature SLS printer for PEEK. The machine is due to be unveiled by the end of the year. We look forward to hearing more! For more information on the DCK 01 post-processing system, click HERE.

What do you think of this automated post-processing solution from Spengler? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

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