“The design freedom of DMP 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.

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’ Direct Metal Printing (DMP) System, to produce fully operational end-use parts—functional parts that had previously been impossible to manufacture—for his conveyor cleaning system.