ActOn Develops Mass Finishing Processes for Metal Additive Manufacturing Industry

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Posted on March 16, 2017 by

Metal Additive Manufacturing Finishing Process developed for MTC

We are proud to announce that ActOn can now assist companies from the metal additive manufacturing industry to surface finish additive manufactured (AM) parts through centrifugal high energy technology.

The development of this technology has significantly reduced the finishing time for metal additive manufacturing companies in comparison with traditional methods. Also it offers consistent and repeatable results. From reducing surface roughness, to deburring and polishing these are just a few of the applications that can be achieved via the high energy finishing process.

The Partnership with The MTC

This step has been made in partnership with The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) based in Coventry. MTC develops and improves innovative manufacturing processes and technologies in an agile, low risk environment, in partnership with industry, academia and other institutions. They focus on delivering bespoke manufacturing system solutions for their customers, using some of the most advanced manufacturing equipment in the world.

The MTC have acquired the ActOn “Centrifugal High Energy Polishing Machine” CPM-10 model and ActOn’s consumables to undertake in-house work. The partnership also allows the engineers both from the MTC and ActOn to work together by utilising ActOn’s subcontract finishing facility to develop and optimise finishing processes on additive manufactured components.

Ruaridh Mitchinson, Research Engineer at the MTC comments:

“The CPM-10 has provided invaluable insight into finishing both EBM and SLM AM parts. This has provided the MTC with a low cost means to efficiently and effectively conduct R&D into surface finishing of additive manufactured parts.”

The MTC has the capability to manufacture metal additive manufactured components through either: Laser Sintering or Electron Beam Melting. After the manufacturing process some surface finishing can be required.

ActOn’s Finishing Technology for Metal Additive Manufacturing Industry

High energy machines are used to reduce surface roughness, deburr and polish parts. The action of these machines relies on the high “g” force and velocity at which the media chips come in contact with the processed components. In most cases, the results achieved via high energy finishing cannot be achieved in a standard vibratory process. This particularly applies on applications that include achieving a high surface finish, a mirror finish and the rapid removal of manufacturing defects.

Our high energy technology is known to be significantly faster than traditional finishing methods and produces superior finishes. It is one of the most efficient batch finishing methods. When processing large or fragile additive manufactured components, individual compartments within the barrel ensure parts are processed without the concerns of any contact. This method ensures zero risk of impingement.

The process involves using the correct machinery, media and compound. As the geometry of the additive manufactured parts can usually be intricate, our engineers have developed finishing media in different shapes and sizes, thereby ensuring consistent finish. The media also comes in a variety of abrasive grades, starting from low abrasive to super finishing. Media hardness is also a critical aspect of the process parameter.

ActOn liquid compounds comprise of abrasives, brighteners, lubricating agents, cushioning materials and cleaning agents. Some of the applications include cleaning, inhibiting rust and corrosion of parts, brightening, descaling and degreasing. Our compounds reduce media costs and process time. The finishing compounds for the process are biodegradable and environmentally friendly.

The results

  • We achieved a Ra of sub 1µm in 5 hours, which is 80% faster than vibratory finishing.
  • We achieved a Ra between 2µm to 3µm in approximately 30 minutes.
  • The project provided further information regarding surface finish parameters, component weight loss, media weight loss, effectiveness of using media with different abrasive grades and hardness.

Benefits for Metal Additive Manufacturing Industry

  • For MTC the finishing solution resulted in 46% cost savings on the finishing process in comparison with outsourcing
  • The technology offers consistent and repeatable results

To learn more about ActOn’s finishing technology please visit For more information about The Manufacturing Technology Centre please visit .

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