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POWERFUSE S: Fusing the gap between 3D-printing and Additive Manufacturing – the revolutionary manufacturing method for better products and a more sustainable future

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Powerfuse S 4 AM (POWERFUSE S: Fusing the gap between 3D-printing and Additive Manufacturing – the revolutionary manufacturing method for better products and a more sustainable future)

Reporting period: 2021-12-01 to 2023-05-31

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is one of the game-changers of the 21st century. In theory, 3D printing and AM allow producing complex, personalized parts On-Demand. What sets AM apart is that it is a scalable, automated, profitable manufacturing method for components, while 3D printing is only profitably on a laboratory scale and for single pieces. In fact, AM has not found its way to large volume production, yet. 3D printing is still stuck in the prototyping segment due to a lack of high-quality finishing options. Especially the powder bed technology, which is the most widely used 3D-printing method for polymer parts, suffers from its rough surface. The use of these parts is still limited, as most applications require a smooth surface for optical or functional reasons such as:
✓ Reducing turbulence and assure water- or airtightness for carrying fluids or gases
✓ Wipeable surfaces for food and medical applications
✓ Preparation for subsequent homogeneous coloring or spray coating
✓ Powder residue-free parts for cleanroom applications guaranteed
✓ Scratch resistance
✓ Increased mechanical properties, e.g. elongation at break

However, such surface quality cannot be achieved by the printing process. On the other hand, many advantages come with AM, which justifies the effort to industrialize AM:
✓ AM generates significantly less waste than traditional manufacturing methods, which is in
accordance with the EU strategy to reduce plastic waste and plastic pollution.
✓ AM saves on energy costs and GHG emissions in the production process.
✓ Decentralized manufacturing also reduces logistics and therefore the environmental impact.
✓ AM is a powerful tool to reduce complexity in the supply chain and make Europe less dependent on
suppliers. That this dependency can be problematic can be observed by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is currently facing.
✓ AM has the potential to bring back production to high wage countries with minimized manual labor and the need for high skilled workforces

AM has two major effects on energy demand which are in line with the sustainability goal of increasing the EU’s climate mitigation ambition and the EU green deal. The simplification of supply chain due to proximity of production near to end-users and the enablement of new products with less weight and energy demand.
The overall objective of the Project “Powerfuse S 4 AM” is to increase the market readiness and enable a series production of the innovative chemical smoothing solution for AM. With this product ready to be delivered into global markets the adoption and industrialization of AM are supported.
Through an initial internal and external pilot phase with a prototype (Stage II) the system has been improved based on insights from pilot operators and process quality. Over 750 runs were performed by five external pilot customers and over 11.0000 parts were processed internally to gather these insights for future developments. For further adoption of the technology in the market additional polymer (classes) were identified and are in the scope of the now to develop prototype III and the process development. As a result, the Powerfuse S PP (Prototype III) has been developed as a variant of the initial system. This system is leveraging a different solvent and is specifically designed for smoothing polypropylene parts. All other classes can be covered with the Powerfuse S (Prototype IV). To enable the integration into leading production facilitites a set of Industry 4.0 features were developed. Interfaced and Dashboards to gain insights in real-time, AR assisted maintenance, enablement of an as-a-Service-Businessmodel as well as advanced guidance in smoothing parts. Finally, series production and the worldwide supply chain are set up and the proven capability to maintain a system ready for series production is developed. With all needed documentation, secured supply chains and reviewed production processes enabling a product ready to be produced in higher volumes for serial production customers
The expected result is a series ready PowerFuse S to scale this solution to the additive manufacturing market and support the ongoing adoption of AM with all its advantages. Industrializing the process of chemical smoothing is opening various applications and increasing the adoption and exploitation of the advantages of AM.
Until the end of the project, DyeMansion developed two additional prototypes with extensive testing phases, one with an Industry 4.0 scope, another one with the scope to expand the field of applications. With both prototypes, the final series stage of the Powerfuse S with all necessary documentation and certifications are defined and the production with series scale is tested and a successful delivery ensured.

Although AM is a growth segment, the growth of the AM market strongly depends on post-processing, because post-processing is the key to turning rapid prototyping and 3D printing into large volume AM. With post-processing, AM challenges conventional manufacturing, e.g. injection moulding, as the achieved AM parts offer equivalent quality while offering true freedom of design. The Powerfuse S is in a market segment that is predicted to grow rapidly. Concurrently, the Powerfuse S influences the growth of the AM sector. The success of the Powerfuse S can become a self-fulfilling prophecy if DyeMansion acts quickly and prudently.
Many key customers demand trends that can only be served by post-processed AM. These demands are4:
✓ Increasing product variety
✓ Personalized products and services
✓ Faster response to needs
✓ Expectations of added-value services
✓ Societal and economic pressures to increase environmental and resource sustainability

On this basis, AM is identified as a key technology of advanced manufacturing. It is a key enabler that will lead European society towards higher industrial competitiveness, sustainable growth and job creation, and improved societal well-being.
PowerFuse S Rack and colored Parts
PowerFuse S Trade Fair
DyeMansion Post-Processing Workflow with Powerfuse S
DyeMansion PowerFuse S
PowerFuse S Premiere
PowerFuse S Rack
Developed Showcase Applications