Automotive, aerospace and consumer goods or the medical technology industry: Manufacturers rely on additive manufacturing when they want to boost production efficiency, customize parts and achieve faster time to market. These benefits, however, can only be reaped by ensuring consistent quality: from in-process monitoring of the ongoing printing process over prototype analysis down to complete first article inspections - ZEISS provides fully digitized workflows, which help to improve quality, understand causes of failure, drive sustainable process improvements, and set standards for future series production.
Powder is the building block of additively manufactured parts. Size distribution of individual powder particles influences how the powder is compacted and affects the density of the build and possibility of defects visible later in the process. Light microscopes, scanning electron microscopes and x-ray computed tomography help to define the powder quality.
Successful build requires various post-processing treatments to ensure dimensional accuracy and optimal material properties. After printing, the part is still attached to the build plate. It is then heat-treated and removed with wire EDM. To better understand the influence of those processes on final quality, a CMM or optical 3D scanner can be used.
The quality of powder and how it is spread during the build process might cause voids or material impurity to form in the structure. Inspecting the quality of the build with light microscopes or internal structures with high-resolution x-ray computed tomography helps to determine process parameters influence and faster define a possible path to achieve optimal settings.
The additive manufacturing process, unlike classic manufacturing methods, requires powders to be melted during the build. Melt temperatures and process parameters greatly affect the crystallographic composition and, as a consequence, part properties.
Dimensional accuracy and surface finish are critical to ensure proper assembly and consistent mating across multiple parts. The surface finish can be analyzed with optical methods, and the internal surface is examined with x-ray computed tomography. Dimensional accuracy of the final part can be validated either with coordinate measuring machines, optical 3D Scanning or with x-ray computed tomography.
Collection and analysis of data across the entire process chain provides a deep understanding of how process changes might correlate with different dimensional and material properties. Clear visual representation and correlation of results across all process steps helps to quickly and more efficiently develop printing strategies while increasing yield.
Parameter development for metal AM typically requires printing multiple coupons, each printed with a combination of print parameters to evaluate the best set of parameters to print with, in order to minimize defects (porosity, cracks), deformation and smoother surface finish.
ZEISS AM parameter provides a fully automated, fast and reproducible evaluation of porosity, pore morphology and geometric deformation of the entire build plate of coupons in a single build.
- Rapid print parameter qualification
- New alloy development
- Qualification of single or multi-laser systems
- Ensuring printer equivalency
- Quickly refine parameters for various powder grades and degree of recycling
- Build area qualification