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ZEISS AM Parameter Aids New Alloy Development for Additive Manufacturing

Many people know Additive Manufacturing with metals today – but how do you transform from rapid prototyping into end-use applications?

Primarily materials that have been designed for other processes are being adapted for Additive Manufacturing – it is not guaranteed that desirable properties can be achieved. Anyway, there are some major challenges when designing new materials specially for Additive Manufacturing – like thousands of different processing parameters and rapid material characterization. ZEISS AM parameter significantly reduces time and cost of new alloy development by reducing the number of builds, rapid reproducible analysis and comprehensive parallel parameter optimization.

The New Reliability in Additive Manufacturing

In automotive, aerospace, consumer goods or the medical technology industry today 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.

From Powder To Reliable Parts

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.

ZEISS and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) currently have a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) to gain a deeper understanding of additive manufacturing processes and materials. The aim is to advance characterization of additively manufactured parts using X-ray computed tomography and artificial intelligence.

The project was chosen to receive funding through the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Technology Commercialization Fund (TFC) project solicitation. The new methodology is designed to rapidly qualify new alloys, powder materials and processes for printed parts and enable rapid certification and qualification of additively manufactured components.

“Very quickly, we can go from having a large number of specimens to data that can be actionable, that we can make decisions on, by having this automated process that takes all of that data and digests it for us” states Alex Plotkowski Staff Scientist, Oak Ridge national Laboratory.

Powder & Material Characterization

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.

ZEISS AM Parameter – Solution For Rapid Print Qualification

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.

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For additional information view the video below.