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New Methods for Sieving SLS Plastics & Polymers

Elcan Industries

As the 3D printing / Additive Manufacturing industries continue to expand, the size requirements for the powder being used continues to get more precise. The Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) process sinters powdered plastic together to build structures from the bottom up in layers. There are various powders used in this process, but the most common are Polyamide 11/12 powders (PA11/PA12), Nylon 11/12 powders, and Thermoplastic Polyurethane Powders (TPUs)There are various producers of these powders, but the typical size range required by the industry is 200 microns – 50 microns.

Hi Sifter Polymer ScreeningSieving powders for the SLS printing process is a developing process that is being done at in two separate stages. The first stage is the powder preparation stage, whereby producers of these plastic/polymer powders, manufacture and then sieve the powders into the 200um over 50um size range. The second stage where the powder is sieved is during the recycle where any powder that is not sintered can be reused again after being screened. This is typically coarser screening done at around 200 microns to remove any powders that may have “splatter” from the laser.

Elcan Industries can help companies drastically limit downtime, by eliminating the need for any rescreening to be done. The Elcan Industries’ Hi-Sifter is the only screening machine capable of efficient fine separations down to 10 microns. Unlike traditional screeners that keep the powders sitting on the screen, the Hi-Sifter has a vertical energy that keep particles elevated on the screening surface. The result of this approach to screening is higher rates and efficiencies without the potential for blinding! Elcan has successfully separated these plastics and polymers at very small sizes. Unlike ultrasonic sieves, the Hi-Sifter never allows the particle the opportunity to blind the hole by keeping them elevated inside the screener.

For many companies producing powders for the SLS printing process, the construction of the equipment they are using is imperative.

The Hi-Sifter is constructed of solely polished stainless steel. There are no screen cleaning devices so there is no outside chance of contamination of product due to material degradation. The working screen inside of the system is tensionless, which means that is a screen tear were to occur, the operator can change the screen right on the plant floor. This means no more shipping of screens back and forth, and no more expensive charges for replacing ultrasonic screens. The machine is user friendly and can easily be cleaned and used for multiple products.

Elcan Industries offers any new customers a FREE day of testing to demonstrate their advanced capabilities. Call today to find out more (914-381-7500) or check out our website www.elcanindustries.com

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Elcan Industries Opens New Lab With Additive Manufacturing Recycling

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TUCKAHOE, NY, Elcan Industries is proud to announce the opening of our new lab and particle testing laboratory. The facility will feature advanced lab equipment that will be used for fine particle size determination and evaluations of different products. The lab will also include a station for recycling additive manufacturing powders on the Hi-Sifter sieving machine.

Elcan will offer sieving of additive manufacturing powders for companies who struggle with recycling these powders or for companies who have a back up of powder they need sieved. Lastly, the lab will have a new Elbow Jet Air Classifier for sub-10-micron particle separation.

Elcan Industries Opens New Lab With 3D Printing Recycling ProgramElcan’s Additive Manufacturing powder recycle program is part of their newly constructed lab. The program is designed to help companies with sieving powders and to help prevent powder from building up in the customer’s lab. Running on the Hi-Sifter unit, companies will be able to hit any powder spec they desire down to 10 microns. The Hi-Sifter has no non-metallic contact areas and the polished stainless-steel construction of the machine is perfect for aerospace and biomedical applications. Elcan can take in powders packaged in any format and offer a short turnaround to get the powder sieved and back out the door.

The new laboratory will feature various pieces of testing equipment that will give both Elcan and the customer instant feedback on their powder. Elcan has a Malvern Mastersizer 3000 in the lab which gives accurate PSD print outs and can immediately determine finished product particle size. Elcan also has Air Jet Sieves and Rotaps for particle size determination and has the ability to microscopically image pictures to show individual particles.

Lastly, the lab will feature the Elbow Jet Air Classifier for fine particle separation. The Elbow Jet Air Classifier is capable of making simultaneous, multiple classifications for particles under 10 microns. The machine relies on air flow and density to make separations – rather than relying on a traditional classifier wheel. The machine has no moving parts and has tungsten carbide contact areas virtually eliminating the risk of foreign contamination. Call today to find out more information! (914)-381-7500.