PostProcess Technologies designs and manufactures post processing equipment for additive manufacturing. We’re going to cover some frequently asked questions about the different machines and applications.
Can you talk a little bit about the difference between a caustic solution and a solvent?
When it comes to FDM and PolyJet, the classic solutions that we use are aqueous based. That means they’re mostly water, but as you mentioned, they are caustic. That helps with dissolving the support structures and making sure we don’t attack the build material. When it comes to resin, it’s a completely different animal. We’re using 100% organic chemistry, so it’s not aqueous based in the same way and it behaves completely differently. You wouldn’t be able to put an FDM or PolyJet part into an organic chemistry like we use for resin to get the same results. Now, the nice thing is you can swap out those chemistries fairly easily within our systems. We often have people who will adopt the DEMI for a certain print technology and then in a few years their lab changes a little bit and they adopt a different technology and they want to repurpose their DEMI. It’s pretty easy to do it. You can actually just empty it out and fill it up with the different detergent to do another application.
Would you recommend switching out detergents or should it be a single detergent system?
If you’re printing, let’s say, PolyJet and resin every single day, usually you don’t want to swap it out every single day. Only because it can be a 20 – 30 minute process. But certainly if 90% of what you do is PolyJet, and once a month you save all your resin parts to swap it out less frequently, you’re more than welcome to. Oftentimes people have dedicated systems for the print technology, but they know they have the flexibility of repurposing them in the future if their lab changes or their needs change.
Since you’re dealing with caustic solutions, can you talk a little bit about the design considerations?
In fact, that’s one of the biggest issues we see on the market when people try to use some of these traditional ways to clean. More often than not, they’re finding hardware from some other piece of traditional manufacturing. They’re finding a chemistry that’s made by someone else, and then they’re putting it all together, which can lead to issues. Because the hardware wasn’t designed for that chemistry. I see O-rings and seals breaking down and leaking, but not with PostProcess because everything was designed to work together. Our hardware engineers are working right next to our chemical engineers who are working right next to our software engineers. So, everything really was designed to work together.
Do you do significant software updates that require the machines to be connected to the internet?
So, we do push out software updates, especially on the resin side. Resins are just expanding, every week there are dozens of new resins, and we’re partnered with dozens of resin manufacturers. Those manufacturers often have our systems in development workflows for running with their specific resins. That’s super helpful on our side because we have a repository of workflows depending on the resin you’re working with and with a lot of our systems, because you can save and store recipes, we can send software updates that have those workflows already digitized in the software so that a user doesn’t have to spend time figuring out how to run parts. It’s already there.
Can you talk a little bit about the warranties and the service contracts on these different machines?
All of our solutions come with a one-year warranty. So, you know, parts, labor, anything goes wrong, of course we’ll fix it. But much like the printer side of things or other capital equipment, we do have extended service contracts as well. And then we can also set up preventative maintenance visits where someone will come out, drain the system, do a once over and make sure everything is good. Not that it’s needed, but a lot of companies really like the option, especially their health and safety departments, because we can time the detergent swap with when PostProcess comes in. Now it’s very easy to do a detergent swap. Anyone can do it. But again, health and safety teams, they prefer that their employees have less chance for a risk by being in front of the detergent. They have someone else do it, and that could be tied into those service visits.
What’s the best way for a customer to evaluate your technologies?
When it comes to evaluating our technology to see if it’s a good fit, first and foremost, I’d say contact your local TriMech representative. They work on enough applications where they can understand what you’re doing in your lab today, volume wise, to see if it makes sense.
We can go a step further in proving outright that there’s a big benefit compared to what you’re doing today versus doing it with PostProcess. We could do that in two ways. One is benchmarking. That’s one of the best ways to look at what you’re doing today and how we can do it with PostProcess. You can send parts into PostProcess and we will run them and then we provide a benchmark evaluation sheet at the end of it. We’ll tell you exactly how long it ran in our systems for, how much manual labor interaction there was and how many parts you could do at once. That’s usually a pretty good indicator for people seeing how much labor they could save or how much faster they can process parts. Another super helpful way to evaluate our technology is doing a virtual tour, but we can do it on a personal basis where we’ll actually invite clients in and we can zero in on the exact technology they want to see. We can run parts live with them and they can see exactly what it looks like to own and operate one of our solutions and where it might fit into their lab. So, a Benchmark combined with a virtual tour like that usually gives people the tools they need to see if there’s really a good fit with what they’re doing in their applications.
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