Post-processing is an important step in every AM process to maintain quality and ensure all parts meet their design specifications. To manage this with the MES, you must detail the available Post Processor Types and Inventory Workstations that are in your Locations. You may then use these post processors by adding them Production Workflows and allowing the system to create and schedule post-processing runs for work execution.
Typical AM post-processing steps may include:
- Physical post-processing, including:
- Material removal
- Bed removal
- Support removal
- Surface treatment
- CNC machining
- Caustic bath
- Thermal post-processing, including:
- Heat treatment
- HIP treatment
- Injection molding
- Quality assurance, including:
- Extra Shipping/Packing activities, including:
- Special Packaging
- Other, Special processes
- Custom processes in your production process that you would like to monitor/track via Authentise
Creating a New Post Processor Type example:
To create a new Post Processor Type, navigate to "Manage" > "Post Processor Type". A list of all Post Processing types in your bureau is shown. To create a new Post Processor Type, click the Add Post Processor Type button.
Adding a Post Processor Type requires details including:
Name: The name of the post-processing step. For example: Support Removal.
Description: A description of the specific processing step including any notes, specifications, or procedures.
Max Capacity: This is the maximum allowed concurrent runs on for an instance of this Post Processor. Machines capable of running one job at a time (like a bandsaw or a Wire EDM) are typically set to 1. Machines or workbenches that may have mulitple jobs in progress at once (like Manual Support Removal or Washing Station) may have a capacity of 5, 10, or 20+.
Cost per minute: The cost per minute will be used to calculate Post Processing Costs for Orders and Line Items.
NOTE: The value entered will be multiplied by a currency multiplier, based on the currency type selected in an Order. Click here for more information on how Authentise manages currencies.
Workstation Default Duration: The average time to complete this post-process step. This is used as a suggested time when creating the individual queues for your actual Workstations.
Materials: Post-processing steps can be set up to be material-specific.
Manufacturer: Select a machine manufacturer for this type of post-processing step.
Batching Strategy: Batching strategies represent how you view and organize your post-processing operations. For example: you may choose to procedurally group all of your support removals from a single build plate or to process them individually. It is an operational decision completely up to you. Authentise helps you manage how your 3D printed parts will be grouped when flowing through production steps.
Current batching strategies include:
- Batched by Size (XY): Batched by 2 Dimensional Space (e.g. a build space similar to a metal 3D printer, used for example during CNC processing).
- Specify the maximum surface area a batch of 3D printed parts will fill, including the X and Y build volume (in mm) and the minimum packing distance (in mm).
- Batched by Size (XYZ): Batched by a 3 Dimensional Space (e.g. a build space similar to an HP polymer binder jetting, used for example during heat treatment)
- Similar to XY or 2D batching, 3D batching lets you specify the maximum volumetric area a batch of 3D printed parts will fill, including the X, Y as well as Z (height) build volume (in mm) and the minimum packing distance (in mm).
- Batched by a Number of Parts: used for example in automated polishing
- Assign a maximum number of parts a post-process step or station can process in a single batch of parts.
- Include All Parts of Previous Run: If you want to include all parts of the print or previous production step (for example bandsawing parts off of a metal build plate)
- In this case, all the 3D prints that come out of a previous build or post-process step will be grouped, regardless of part size or quantity.
- This is a common choice for production facilities that prefer 3D prints produced on the same build plate to move throughout the entire production process together.
- Single: If you would like a separate run for each part that is going through the production process (Used for example for manual support removal).
- Each 3D printed part will be scheduled for post-processing individually. For example: if a Run with a build 10 parts is printed, 10 unique subsequent post-process steps will be automatically scheduled for the Run and visible in the Queue page.
- This is common if you want per-piece granular data for a given 3d Print object.
Costing for your Post Processor Types
To estimate the cost of your Post Processor, Authentise provides multiple costing levers.
1. Time/Duration-based Costing: This cost is a function of the Cost Per Minute and the Default Duration for this post processor type. We will multiply these two values together to get a Default running cost for this Post Processor Type. The actuals for this Post Processor Type will use this Cost Per Minute multiplied by the actual running time for a given Post Process, recorded via our Run Tracking / QR App.
2. Overhead Cost per Piece: This is a flat cost added for each Piece that runs though this process.
3. Overhead Cost per Run: This is a flat cost added for each Run of this Post Processor (regardless of how few or how many Pieces are in that run). This is most commonly added if there is a flat cost to turn on or start some sort of machine, but the volume of pieces within that Run can vary drastically (for example, running a Heat Treatment Oven). Note: For the purposes of estimating a Line Item's costs, we will assume the best case (all pieces in a Line Item will be completed in one, single Run of a given post processor. This amount of expected Runs can be adjusted in our Line Item quoting details).
Creating a Post Processor Inventory Device/Workstation and Queue
After creating the types of post processors that are used throughout your facility, you will need to create the related device/workstation to match your facility's capacity to use these Post Processor Types. These inventory items will help to model your factory floor and will allow you to schedule runs to your workstations and plan for your capacity limits.
Important Note: In order to add a post processor type to a workflow, you must create the post processor type and create at least one post processor workstation of that post processor type.
Once you have added a Type, you can add an actual post-processing Device or Workstation by selecting "Inventory">"Post Processors"
For this individual Device/Workstation, you will provide a name, specify the type of post processor, indicate the location, and document the average duration of this specific instance of the Post Processor.
Now you will be able to add this post processor type to your workflows and allow the system to help automatically manage the runs scheduling and post-processing efforts at your facility!