Solukon, based in Augsburg, Germany, has announced the launch of the Solukon Powder Collection Unit (SFM-PCU), an automated powder collection unit for safe and efficient powder handling following the depowdering stage.
The SFM-PCU utilises an integrated vacuum conveyor system to effectively collect powder at a sensor-monitored transfer point. The powder is then transported through a hose and gently deposited into a large container. This container can be exchanged during the process and has the capability to hold contaminated material. The material can then be transferred through a neutral interface to a recycling station or similar facility for further manufacturing processes.
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To ensure efficiency, the filling level inside the container is monitored and can be visually checked through large inspection windows. Additionally, the Solukon depowdering system is digitally connected, providing users with a real-time overview of the process status.
When the SFM-PCU is integrated into the system, users no longer have direct contact with the powder material during depowdering. The powder remains in a closed system at all times. “This makes it possible to meet the most stringent occupational health and safety requirements and achieve a new milestone on our path towards a dust-free factory,” stated Benedikt Lutzenberger, an employee in the Product Care department and head of the SFM-PCU powder collection unit project.
The automated ejection of powder eliminates the need for manual intervention, allowing larger quantities of powder to be transported away more quickly. With a container volume of over 100 litres, each peripheral unit can be connected to up to three single-material Solukon systems.
Solukon relies on a vacuum conveyor from the Swedish company Piab in its new powder collection unit. Solukon has been using Piab conveyors in the SFP770, its automated unpacking and cleaning station, in the polymer sector for many years. “Piab has already proved itself to be a highly competent and reliable partner for powder conveyors in the SFP770 project,” Lutzenberger added.
Solukon is launching the SFM-PCU powder collection unit at Formnext 2023, which will take place from November 7-10, 2023. The new powder conveying unit will be connected to a Solukon SFM-AT1000-S. Additionally, Solukon will showcase an enhanced version of the SFM-AT350 with new extensive features at the booth. At the neighbouring booth of Rivelin Robotics, there will also be an SFM-AT800-S with robot integration.