PostProcess Technologies, based in Buffalo, NY, USA was formed in 2014 to develop proprietary software to remove the bottleneck in the third step of additive manufacturing – post-printing. While the 3D printing industry has, until recently, had to focus on the design, material selection, and build stages of the process, post-printing has been overlooked, according to the company. This is despite the fact that, according to PostProcess, in more than 95% of cases the printed parts have supports that need to be removed, and currently more than 60% need finishing. Moreover, traditional manual post-printing can often result in damaged and/or inconsistent parts.

‘We continue to hear from our customers that the post-processing of parts is becoming the bottleneck in their additive operation as prototype volumes grow into the thousands per year and production volumes grow into the thousands per day,’ said Jeff Mize, CEO of PostProcess.

In 2017 the company received a US$4 million investment, including a US$1 million investment from New York Ventures, the venture capital investment arm of Empire State Development, to develop proprietary software, hardware, and chemistry to meet market demand.

Later that year it moved into new headquarters, featuring a lab for research and development activities, customer benchmarking, training, and solution demonstrations. The company had thus grown from its first headquarters, which was only 120 ft2 to over 9000 ft2.

Robust device

Besides software, PostProcess supplies hardware for the finishing of metal parts. NITOR is the company’s largest product in its Surface Finish (SF) series, and is suitable for industries such as aerospace, automotive, consumer goods, defense and medical.

The NITOR is reportedly the only automated SF machine that has been specifically designed for additive parts. It integrates proprietary Agitation Algorithms into a system that is designed with a large chamber and is capable of finishing parts printed with any additive technology and all additive materials, and can be used for both higher volume production runs or for larger complex geometries. The machine has a divided chamber that allows for two parallel production processes to occur independently, with different consumables. It also features a color touchscreen display, scalable multicore processors that go up to 4-core Intel Atom and has been built using industrial-grade aluminum and steel for a more robust device housing.

This article appeared in the September–October 2018 issue of Metal Powder Report. Log in to your free Materials Today profile to access the article.

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