The End of »Meditative Shelling«

Text: Frank Rößler / Photos: Pulvermeister — 2019/27/05

The young company Pulvermeister has developed a machine for the automation of post-processing, thus being able to thrill numerous decision-makers at the Formnext Start-up Area. In 2019, Pulvermeister will be back in Frankfurt.

It all started with an idea for electric bicycles. In Germany, their electric support has to stop at 25 km/h, otherwise the bikes will be regarded as vehicles requiring registration and insurance — useful for road traffic, counterproductive for mountain bikes off-road. So, Luigi Monaco developed the BadassBox for his company Badass eBikes. This box ensures that the electric motor also pushes at higher speeds.

In the eyes of Monaco, 3D printing is far superior to injection moulding in terms of production consistency, flexibility, number of variants and reaction speed for by now eleven different Badass eBike cases. This is why Badass from Hösbach near Aschaffenburg works with Schreck GmbH & Co. KG, which among other things runs a Formiga EOS P110 machine. The 3D printing system is now working at 92 percent ca-pacity and produces 2,000 case parts per month.

The Formiga completes a production run within three quarters of an hour — the post-processing of a production batch takes at least four times as long by hand. For eight months, Monaco himself reworked the individual components. Today, he almost affectionately calls it »meditative shelling«: remove components from the powder cake, remove strongly adhering powder out of all corners with a screwdriver and rework surfaces. He doesn't want to ask this work of anyone: monotonous, dirty, exhausting — and not only in his eyes dangerous to health, because the dust is so small with particle sizes of 42 µm that it passes through anything, goes everywhere.

Necessity is, in this case, the father of invention

The search for a suitable machine for the automation of post-processing was unsuccessful. So, Monaco in cooperation with Schreck GmbH & Co. KG founded Pulvermeister GmbH in neighbouring Goldbach. Mechanism, sealing of the working areas against the 42 µ dust, reuse of excess material, air flow conditions, temperatures and more were conceived, considered and optimised, until the Type 1 could be presented in July 2018. 

Pulvermeister is not only the name of the company, but also of the new machine. It consists of a frame in which two rotatably mounted drums are suspended. The upper one completely de-powders the components. The powder is removed from the drum by an air stream and stored for recycling. Then the two drums join and the components are transferred to the lower drum, where their surfaces are shot-peened with glass beads.

Demand exists

Luigi Monaco and Pulvermeister GmbH presented the »Type 1« at the Start-up Area of Formnext 2018. The aim was »to be the first company to present this new type of machine and to link it to our brand name.« For Monaco, the appearance in the midst of the young and innovative companies has been worth it: »In our experience, the Start-up sector was approached directly by many decision-makers. We are exhibiting again at Formnext in 2019.«

Patent applications are currently underway, and the Type2 is already in development, which will contain the experience gained with the Type1 during the production of Badass eBikes. Compared to the Type1, which can process up to 55 kilograms of powder cake in one hour, the new machine will be able to handle three to four times this quantity in order to make a larger output ready for delivery. In addition, an adapter system is making it possible to use interchangeable frames for installation space surfaces of 350x420 mm. All operating parameters can then be stored and loaded via PLC.

Luigi Monaco envisages that with a Type 2 powder master the three-shift operation of up to 20 Formiga EOS P110 can be facilitated. First deliveries are scheduled for the second quarter of 2019.