1. Preparation/setting up
The machine is prepared for the printing process. For this, the relevant personal protective equipment (PPE) has to be worn and, additionally, various hand tools are required.
2. Building process incl. unpacking
During the production process the components are built up in the machine in layers. Following this, the parts or the platform are unpacked and taken out of the machine; here again, PPE is of vital importance.
3. Separation / release from the build platform
To separate / release the components from the build platform various processing methods and tools are used. These range from hammer and chisel, to spatula or knife, up to automated processes like a band saw or parting-off milling cutters.
The proportion of post-processing can amount to 20-70% of the total process chain. Post-processing is subdivided into manual and mechanical post-processing.
4. Manual post-processing
The first step is to remove the supporting structure from the component in order to achieve the desired surface finish using the subsequent processing steps. These can involve various grinding tools and also polishing tools in order to achieve a high-gloss finish.
5. Mechanical post-processing
Machining comes into play in order to increase the degree of automation in post-processing. An allowance is included on the CAD model in order to finish free-form surfaces using innovative PPC milling. However, more conventional procedures like drilling, face milling, post-processing of bores etc. are also used.
6. Quality assurance
In order to ensure dimensional accuracy of the components, traditional measuring tools, like calipers and various gauges, are used. In additive manufacturing especially, a magnifier with scale is used, for example in order to check the layer thickness in the FDM process.
7. Maintenance / workstations & storage
Correct personal protective equipment is important during maintenance work on the machines, as highly flammable substances are being handled and as the focus is on protecting people. The Hoffmann Group can help you to fully meet this requirement with its "High End" range of PPE products.
Workstations and storage equipment are relevant in many process steps, for example for standardised and clean storage of the tools needed for post-processing and for setting up.