The age of individualization in manufacturing started with the advent of the 3D printer back in 1983. Still, it has not become a commercial product until the last several years. This technology is beginning to revolutionize our daily lives and will continue to do so into the future. The range of 3D printer styles will vary from polymeric, ceramic, and metal-based. This market is exploding at a growth rate of over 14 percent annually and will continue to grow as more households and companies adopt 3D printer technology in the upcoming years.
Plow mixer technologies have been used for generations in the polymer and ceramics markets, creating better mixes for raw materials. Plow mixers will aid companies in the 3D printing market by improving the properties of the filaments, and feedstocks used in these applications. Processall has expansive experience building plow mixer units to greatly reduce cycle times for the raw materials used in the manufacturing process.
Plow mixing technology has been used for ages in hot melt applications to add additional raw materials to thermoplastics, and other materials like rubber compounds. Some companies in the hot melt arena have seen times improve up to 500 percent over other blending technologies. Plow mixers have been used in the pigment dispersions market for years as an effective methodology for blending dried pigments into the final products. They have also been used in the ceramics industry to homogenize powder materials together while coating them with binding agents in the same vessel to help the materials adhere together.
Processall employees have a long history of working with companies to aid everything from initial testing, installation of the unit, and maintenance throughout the life cycle of the machinery.
Processall’s plow mixing technology gives manufacturers a leg up on the competition. Listed below are some of the benefits of moving toward plow mixing technologies for 3D printing applications.
· Creation of a mechanically fluidized bed which reduces the mixing time of the materials
o Dry powder blending applications have seen reductions of upwards of 500 percent in mixing times over other mixing applications
· High heat transfer rate within the vessel enabling faster melting of thermoplastics
· Vessel jacket allows different media (hot oil, steam, or tempered water) to be used depending upon the thermal sensitivity of the product
· Versatility because of its ability to mix powders, disperse pigment into liquid systems, and do hot melt blending all within one unit depending upon needs
· Mill breaks up clumps and can be used for defining particle size
· Thermal jackets to allow for optimal temperature controls
· High-speed mix which can handle materials as fine as dried oats without damaging the material
· Easy to scale up and predict mix times after lab testing
· Vessels can be further outfitted to increase versatility
o Mechanical seals – will allow the vessel to be pressurized as well as reach a low vacuum (28 Hg)
o Liquid lances – allows media to be sprayed onto the substrate
· Ability to perform multiple unit operations in one unit resulting in:
o Faster throughputs
o Reduced energy consumption
o Smaller footprint on the production floor
o Less Material handling and manpower
Potential filament and feedstock use for Processall’s plow mixing in 3D printing
· Fused deposition modeling (FDM)
· Stereolithography (SL)
· Ceramic 3D printing
Processall maintains a fully equipped testing facility in Cincinnati, Ohio designed to provide customers with the data they need to develop their process, evaluate equipment, scale up, and identify the necessary equipment to maintain desired production volumes. We extend an open invitation to all potential customers to bring their products to our test center and get a “hands-on” experience with our technology and capabilities.
We also maintain a rental fleet that customers can utilize to do further testing at their facility or employ to minimize their startup costs for a new process.
Please feel free to contact us with all your material processing questions and our experienced industry professionals will help you find the right mixing solutions for your application.