Automated depowdering with Solukon’s SPR technology

Solukon is the depowdering partner of choice of a range of aerospace customers applying additive manufacturing. ArianeGroup, Dassault Aviation, Joby, Orbex, Launcher and RFA among others trust in the Solukon depowdering solutions.

The Solukon SPR depowdering technology addresses the powder removal challenges of the AM aerospace industry. These challenges include among others: cleaning of complex parts with intricate channels, e.g. heat exchangers; handling of large and complex components up to 1.000mm in height; process monitoring and transparency; processing of complex powders.

The Solukon depowdering systems for metal parts (LPBF)
The Solukon depowdering systems for metal parts (LPBF)

Cleaning of complex parts

Through automated (2-axis) rotation and targeted vibration, Solukon systems remove excess powder from internal geometries of the part fully automatically. Part motion can be programmed automatically, too, applying the new SPR-Pathfinder software. It uses the build job’s CAD file to calculate the ideal motion in the Solukon system. The individually calculated motion sequence is then read by the Solukon system, which in turn runs the programmed paths. Obviously, SPR-Pathfinder executes the same cleaning program for the same kind of parts: the door-opener for a true serial cleaning and therefore serial production.

Handling of large and complex parts

The Solukon SFM-AT1000-S is capable of processing components up to 1,000mm in height with a maximum weight of 800kg, making it the perfect machine for aerospace manufacturers producing high-volume parts.

Process monitoring and transparency

With the Digital-Factory-Tool, a sensor and interface kit, quality monitoring of the depowdering process becomes viable. The DFT records all relevant depowdering process data such as residual oxygen, humidity, chamber pressure, temperature and frequencies and summarises the values in a protocol file. Critical limits can be set for relevant data so that deviations can be directly displayed and assessed.

A massive heat exchanger in a Solukon SFM-AT1000-S
A massive heat exchanger in a Solukon SFM-AT1000-S

Processing of complex powders

Frequently used materials like aluminium and copper are tough to handle in depowdering because they show a very sticky behaviour and tend to clog in cavities. Solukon offers an additional impactor knocker that breaks up this powder bulks in combination with the well-established and proven rotation and vibration mechanisms.

Use case: Depowdering at Rocket Factory Augsburg

Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA), a German New Space company committed to producing satellite launch vehicles at low cost, relies on Solukon’s depowdering systems. Learn in the use case video at the top of the page to see why automated powder removal is a game changer in the postprocessing of additively manufactured rocket parts.

Upcoming trade shows to explore the Solukon technology live

  • Meet Solukon at Rapid + TCT in Chicago, IL: May 2-4
  • Meet Solukon/our UK distribution partner Turbex at TCT 3Sixty in Birmingham, UK: June 7-8

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