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Fully automated AM powder recovery for General Motors

Industry-leading manufacturer reduces printer turnover time by 8 hours

General Motors is a global company committed to delivering safer, better, and more sustainable ways for people to get around. Headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A., it sells vehicles around the world under the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Baojun, and Wuling brands.

In 2020, General Motors opened its 15,000-square-foot Additive Industrialization Center (AIC). The AIC aims to advance product development and tooling using 3D printing technology. It brings together OEM additive technologies to understand what to industrialize and hosts a range of 3D printers for creating polymer and metal solutions.

General Motors encountered challenges with the original powder handling solutions for the 3D printers. Powder recovery required a lot of manual effort from the operators. It could take a full day to recover the used metal powder, requalify it, and then refill the printer. This also meant downtime for the 3D printers as, while the powder was being processed, the printer was unable to start the next build.

The other issue for General Motors was safety. Metal powders are hazardous to health and have a risk of explosion, so operators have to wear advanced PPE. As a result, General Motors wanted to minimize the time that operators spent handling metal powder.

Leading engineering company commissions fully automated AM powder recovery system with the AMPro® Sieve Station

With the AMPro® Sieve Station in place, the recovery process was accelerated. Previously it took a whole shift for the operators to refill the 3D printer, now this can be done in less than one hour. This has reduced downtime as General Motors now saves between four and eight hours on every additive build.

Automation has drastically reduced manual input to the powder reclaim process. Operators now only need to be involved in the first step of the process when evacuating powder from the build chamber.

This has improved safety as operators spend less time handling the metal powder and less time wearing advanced PPE. The AMPro® Sieve Station manages the whole process and has allowed General Motors to both increase efficiency and maximize safety.

About Russell Finex

Founded in 1934, Russell Finex is a specialist global supplier of sieving and filtration equipment. With its head office in the U.K. and subsidiaries in Belgium, the U.S.A., India, and China the company supplies to over 140 countries.

To speak to an experienced sales engineer to improve your productivity, contact Russell Finex today.

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