Industrial finishing equipment manufacturer Guyson International has focused its engineering expertise in solving a crucial problem during additive manufactured orthopaedic implant manufacture. The new Guyson ‘Powder Flush’ has been designed to specifically flush residual additive manufacturing (AM) powders from medical implant trabecular structures, which aid the interlocking human bone growth into the implant.
Increasingly the world’s orthopaedic manufacturers are turning to additive manufacturing to drive the long term change in the increased complexity of medical implant design and demand for tailor made patient-specific solutions (rather than one-size-fits-all) with the change in manufacturing from subtractive to additive techniques, with all the benefits that can bring.
These new additive manufactured orthopaedic implants are typically made by SLS, SLM or EBM processes (Selective Laser Sintering, Selective Laser Melting or Electron Beam Melting) from Titanium powders in the size range of 5 to 45 micron for the SLS and SLM processes; and utilising 45 to 90 micron for EBM. After manufacture, the implants then have the bulk of the residue powder removed from the build block with brushes and vacuum’s, sometimes followed with an air-wash or blast process to remove any semi-adhered powder particles, but because of the nature of the porous trabecular structures, small residues of powder are often still trapped inside the component and this must be removed. This is where the Guyson Powder Flush process excels.
The Guyson ‘Powder Flush’ is based on the company’s Orbit 600 rotary basket spray wash unit, built in full stainless steel 304 construction, fitted with a 100 litre insulated tank and hot spray flushing facilitated through a high flow rate and pressure pump fitted with viton seals. The machine offers directed jets for powerful component flushing followed by compressed air-wash. A PLC/HMI control panel to the left of the machine provides data monitoring and timed pre- heat function ensuring accurate and repeatable process operation. LED interior lighting and a double glazed viewing window, in the lid, facilitates visual checks on parts in process.