As additive manufacturing of metal parts continues to transform from prototyping to production environments, we’ve seen materials expand, systems improve, and automation advance. But, until recently, we haven’t seen an increased focus on post-processing of metal parts produced using powder bed fusion (PBF) technologies.
In this report, we look at the common post-processing steps associated specifically with Powder Bed Fusion technologies, what they can achieve, and the challenges observed. We will discuss the relative cost considerations to keep in mind as well as costs that often go unaccounted for in the PBF post-processing workflow. We will discuss many of the OEMs and service providers that are active PBF post-processing, as well as some specific case studies and research that has been recently conducted. And, often forgotten, we will discuss some of the critical considerations in the design stage that can greatly influence the post-processing stage in the overall workflow. We finish with a discussion on the future trends, to include end-to-end solutions and automation, data optimization, software solutions, and the current state of standard and regulations as they pertain to post-processing.