A new electrochemical plasma process that reduces the surface roughness of 3D printed metal parts is to be added to Fintek's subcontract services and machine sales in an exclusive agreement with Wallwork Heat Treatment.
Palms, which stands for Plasma Additive Layer Manufacture Smoothing has been developed by Wallwork's Cambridge research and development centre and the Manchester machine build division, who pioneer plasma coating equipment used by aerospace manufacturers, motorsport engineers and research and development departments in universities.
Wallwork director, Simeon Collins, explained: "Additive manufacturing offers great design freedom to produce optimised components with little material waste and that are impossible to make in any other way. Despite the progress made in AM, the surface roughness of the parts produced can constrict their use in industries such as aerospace and medical devices, where the surface finish of components is highly critical.
“3D printed metal components require post-processing to achieve a viable surface finish. Having worked closely with Fintek we know that they are the UK's foremost experts in meeting the real-world surface finishing needs of engineers. Palms gives them a new tool that is especially effective for metal parts made by 3D printing as well as machined parts."
Wallwork engineering director, Mike Jarvis added: "Applying our plasma coating machine build experience to the problem of surface finishing seemed logical and Palms is the result. A key benefit of this environmentally-friendly process is that no toxic waste is produced compared with some other traditional surface finishing methods. We look forward to continuing the development of Palms with input from the Fintek team."
Jonathan Dean, managing director of Fintek, concluded: "Fintek is delighted to be partnering with Wallwork Heat Treatment. Palms is an exciting new technology and continues our aim to provide UK manufacturers with a comprehensive problem-solving capability that can draw on the very best and newest surface finishing technologies for subcontract services or machine sales for inline production."