AMSURFIN - Additive Manufacturing SURface FINishing - An automated intelligent solution for polymer parts

Abstract

Our vision is to create an automated intelligent post processing machine, capable of finishing

additively manufactured thermoplastic polymer parts to an injection moulded level surface finish.

Current finishing methods are labour intensive, costly and time consuming. Accounting for between 5-

60% _\[Innovate UK funded FACTUM project\]_ of the cost depending on part complexity, size and

volume. This machine will address the pressing challenge in additive manufacturing of post process

surface finishing, particularly at high production volumes.

The project team's objectives are to:

1. Create a saleable automated post processing machine capable of generating a repeatable and

reproducible surface finish equivalent to that achieved in injection moulding for additively

manufactured parts.

2. Develop intelligent algorithms that control the amount of post processing for a given material and

geometric design.

3. Develop a machine that is integrated into the digital manufacturing chain.

The project is focused on:

Automated and predictable surface finishing for thermoplastic polymer parts.

Significant quality improvement of the finished part.

Reducing costs through the elimination of manual surface finishing.

Significantly improving part turnaround time.

Innovation lies at the heart of the machine through:

Use of proprietary process, discovered by the University of Sheffield, that smooths the surface of

parts using solvents.

Use of automated process feedback to control the level of finishing applied.

Use of algorithms to manage different materials and geometric designs thereby creating an intelligent

machine architecture.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Additive Manufacturing Technologies Ltd, Rotherham £414,157 £ 289,910
 

Participant

Atomjet Limited, CAMBRIDGE £7,996 £ 5,598
XaarJet Limited, Cambridge, United Kingdom £201,919 £ 100,960

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