PowderCleanse - Automated powder recycling and quality assurance for enhanced additive manufacturing material reuse

Lead Participant: L.P.W. Technology Limited

Abstract

Metal additive manufacturing (AM) is often billed as the future of manufacturing, providing unlimited possibilities in terms of part design and complexity, minimal material wastage and the ability to manufacture parts anywhere in the world through the internet. An aspect of AM that receives relatively limited attention, yet underpins the foundation that AM relies upon, is powder management. Powder bed AM processes typically use up to 20 kg of powder for each 1 kg of manufactured part. This means that AM users must be able to effectively handle and recycle vast amounts of powder during the process. In the current generation of AM machines the powder handling equipment provide a potential risk to both powder traceability and powder quality. This is largely driven by exposure of the powder to the environment and the use of non-optimal equipment. The PowderCleanse project will develop and demonstrate an effective solution for powder management which utilises digital connectivity to both monitor and control every aspect of the process. Key innovations will be developed for; metal powder sieving, online process monitoring, foreign body contamination detection and fully enclosed powder handling environments. The PowderCleanse system will be directly driven by the needs of end user through the formation of an industrial advisory board (IAB). The IAB will act as both the voice of end-users and as a beta test group.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

L.P.W. Technology Limited, RUNCORN £345,475 £ 200,790
 

Participant

Malvern Instruments Limited, MALVERN £92,733 £ 46,367
Aegleteq Limited, Olney £81,406 £ 56,984
Manufacturing Technology Centre, COVENTRY £249,477 £ 249,477
Farleygreene Limited, BASINGSTOKE £181,853 £ 127,297

Publications

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