Utilizing Direct Metal Printing to Improve Existing Equipment
A major bakery realized it had a problem with its conveyors when the production lines had to be halted once every year to change the plastic chain belts. In the food production business, breadcrumbs and cooking oils build up on the chains, yet there was no mechanism to clean the chains in situ. As a result, replacing the chains was a time-consuming and costly process.
Industrial product designer Keith Handy stepped in to tackle the problem by designing a steam cleaning device for the conveyors. To do this, he enlisted the help of a 3D Systems’ sPro™ Direct Metal Sintering (DMS) System, to produce fully operational end-use parts—functional parts that had previously been impossible to manufacture—for his conveyor cleaning system.
“The design freedom of DMS let me design a hollow 3D manifold with predetermined steam nozzle positions at specific angles to clean each critical point of the chain,” Handy said. “I did not have to worry about parting lines, assembly techniques or post-finishing for this application.”He continued, “I was able to integrate a 0.635 cm (0.3 in) BSP thread in the CAD file to attach the steam fitting. The result is a manifold that delivers 10 bar (145 psi) steam through 10 jets at multiple angles, all within a single component that is 50 by 50 by 50 mm (1.97 in).”
with predetermined steam nozzle positions at specific angles to clean each critical
point of the chain.