Metal 3D printing has made impressive strides in the last few years. Specifically for highly complex, industrial applications. It is important to note that the advantages of producing lightweight, sophisticated metal components don’t negate the need for post-production.
3D printed metal parts often have a rough surface. Additively manufactured metal components used in high-end applications usually require an average surface roughness. As such, they require additional post-processing such as machining, grinding, or polishing to achieve a better surface finish.
One of the challenges with traditional abrasive and chemical surfacing processes is made apparent with 3D printed metal components. As metal 3D printing is so well suited to complex geometries, part applications typically require high tolerances. Traditional methods remove material, affecting tolerances, fit, and function.
The First Dry Electropolishing System – DLyte
Unlike traditional polishing systems, the DLyte system achieves a consistent finish, without any marks on the surface, such as the patterns generated by machining, and is able to process the complex geometries produced by metal 3D printers, without causing micro-scratches on the surface.
DLyte is the first non-abrasive surface finishing system able to substantially reduce surface roughness. Being a non-abrasive process results in mirror finishes without affecting the initial shape and tolerances. It also cuts steps from traditional surfacing post-processing options.
Polish Metal 3D Printed Medical Implants
DLyte is also suitable for metal additive manufactured medical implants, providing superior results to existing surface finishing technologies.
DLyte performs at least two times better surface quality than the next-best alternative between the 7 most relevant post-processing technologies
Fragile Metal Parts Finishing
Metal 3D printing can produce components with small features.
Small medical devices like stents or needles require high-quality surface finishing. A non-aggressive process is required, so as to avoid damages caused by mechanical energy. The DLyte metal finishing and polishing process is suitable for these applications as it is an electro-chemical process.
Compared to liquid electropolishing, DLyte offers better control and works efficiently at the micro and macroscopic levels.
This photo shows the magnified view of a fine needle that was polished using the DLyte polishing process. Notice the exceptional smoothness of the finished needle on the right, compared to the unpolished needle on the left.
Below, see comparisons of other fine detail components that were polished using the DLyte polishing process.
Comparison of Surface Finishing Processes
Unlike traditional methods, DryLyte does not use liquid as the electrolyte but instead uses an ion transport via free solid bodies. This enables the removal of material from only the peaks of roughness, without changing the part’s shape, tolerances or leaving any micro scratches on the surface.
Reduce Costs by up to 80%
The process can handle complex geometries and penetrate all dead zones for a range of metals including steel and stainless steel, cobalt chrome, titanium, aluminium, nickel, and precious metal alloys for dental, healthcare, aerospace, automotive and other industries. Depending on the application, the processing time can be reduced by around 75% compared to mechanical techniques.
The system doesn’t require any part specific programming. You can put several parts in the same batch and run the standard program, because it’s not dependent on the geometry of the part.
One mid-sized dental laboratory, which produces around 50 pieces a day, is said to be saving around €102,000 a year, primarily in labour costs, compared to manual polishing. The laboratory is averaging around nine finished parts per hour with the DLyte Dental system.
Tolerances & Shape are Maintained
The non abrasive process reduces roughness while keeping the initial shapes and maintaining tolerances.
A Mirror Finish in One Step
Fully automated polishing to a mirror finish in one step. Whereas mechanical surface finishing requires several steps to achieve mirror finishing. Liquid electropolishing generally reduces surface roughness by only 50%.
Medical devices require compliance with the most demanding safety regulations.
The DLyte process give you compliance.
Available for Small to Large Production Volumes. The DLyte post-processing technology is well suited to Additive Manufacturing Work-flows.
The entire product range allows automation of the polishing process, ensuring highly scalability production capabilities.
The 1L, 10L & 100L are specifically designed for treating Steel and Stainless-steel, Cobalt Chrome, Carbides, Nickel and Copper alloys, Titanium, Nitinol and Aluminium.
The combination of precise hardware and software, intelligent electronic parameter monitoring and optimal media flow control ensures the process optimization and electrolyte media performance stability ensuring a constant process quality along the media life. The powerful software includes a database where piece specific process parameters can easily be stored and managed.
Most Common Applications
Dental, Medical implants, Instruments and needles, Cutting Tools, Jewellery and Watchmaking, Industrial precision components, Additively Manufactured Parts.
This range of machines, using the patented Drylyte technology, are specifically designed for:
- High-value, delicate pieces where there cannot be any impingement during the process
- High-precision parts with very tight dimensional tolerances
- Very small and fragile parts
- Very complex pieces with many contours and shapes
- Demanding finishing requirements
- Extremely tough and abrasion-resistant materials
- Rotative and aerodynamic parts
- Prototyping and short production series
- Additive Manufacturing parts