Automotive and aerospace companies are in a constant race to increase energy efficiency and design flexibility, lower production and service costs and reduce manufacturing cycle time while ensuring the reliability and safety of their products. For many of these companies, additive manufacturing (AM) looks like the solution to all of these market demands. Additive manufacturing is a process where metallic powder is formed into a solid state through melting or sintering. Most common melting techniques consist of scanning a laser (Direct Laser Selective Melting, DLSM) or electron beam (Electron Beam Melting - EBM) across subsequent layers of metal powder in a printer’s “powder bed” to build up a final, finished AM part. The technique is also known as powder bed fusion or LPBF.
However, many companies find that the move from prototyping to production with AM is challenging. To get defect-free, repeatable results requires process characterization and QA/QC controls that are unique to AM. Bruker has unmatched experience and breadth of solutions to help maximize AM Profits.
Correctly specifying and monitoring the chemical and mechanical properties of metal powders used in the AM process is absolutely critical. Inclusions, voids, porosity variation as well as changes is mechanical properties (hardness, brittleness) can result from improper alloy use and contamination of incoming, stored and recycled powders.
The AM printing process itself, if not properly characterized, can also be a source of a wide range of defects. For material extrusion techniques, an optimum balance needs to be found between scanning speed, laser or electron beam power (extrusion speed and temperature for wire) and bed thickness. To characterize the AM process and monitor witness samples during production and after finishing steps (heat treatment-HIP, milling and grinding/polishing), Bruker offers an unmatched suite of products for dimensional, chemical and mechanical testing and analysis.