Sintavia, LLC announced it published an overview of proper handling procedures for powder condensate waste generated as part of the powder bed fusion additive manufacturing process. The paper, titled, “Overview of Disposal Procedures for Powder Condensate” was written by Sintavia’s Quality & EHS Engineer, Ashley Wallace, in collaboration with the Additive Manufacturer Green Trade Association (AMGTA) and Triumvirate Environmental.
Powder condensate is the term used to describe solidified particles resulting from the evaporation of metal alloys during the powder bed fusion additive manufacturing (AM) process. This condensate, which is a waste stream unique to AM, is either deposited into a collection chamber within the AM printer (considered to be “dry” condensate) or wet-vacuumed out of the build chamber itself (considered, along with melt spatter contemporaneously removed, to be “wet” condensate). Both wet and dry condensate may be hazardous and must be disposed of pursuant to applicable environmental regulations.
As metal AM technology matures, powder condensate as a waste stream has previously neither been a major concern for operators nor studied widely. However, high volume manufacturers increasingly need to allocate proper resources for the safe disposal of this material. To do so, powder condensate should be classified as a separate waste stream and documented appropriately with cost-effective methods for its disposal. This paper discusses the procedures used in the United States for analyzing and disposing of condensate from the powder bed fusion process, and provides a real world example of how one high-volume manufacturer handles this disposal.
According to its author, “knowing where each condensate stream is going is just as important as the proper preparation of each type of waste. We have worked with Triumvirate Environmental and other experts within the industry to manage the final disposal of these streams according to regulatory requirements.” The full paper is available to AMGTA member companies, other industry stakeholders, and the general public on the AMGTA website.