Page 19 - 3D Metal Printing Fall 2018
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                                      Optimize Your AM Build Process (and beyond ...)
                                                                                     Higher efficiency by automation and assistant functionality
Identify the best build orientation
Determine and compensate final part distortion automatically Generate and optimize support structures automatically Use Materialise support generation functionality
Identify manufacturing issues, such as cracks, shrinklines, recoater contact
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   particle-characterization tests, comparing the results with those specified on vendor-certification documents. Testing of this type typically occurs as part of the inbound-goods acceptance process. Shipments passing inspection move into inventory, with any failing lots initiating follow-up communications with vendors.
“We see growth in applications for additive manufacturing in the aerospace industry on both the production and mainte- nance sides,” says Boris Plach, product manager for testing machines at Zwick Roell, a provider of materials-testing systems. “With the industry’s focus on material validation, suppliers must evaluate all aspects of quality, from the purity of raw materials to the mechanical performance of parts.”
Delivering Consistently Reliable 3D Metal Printers
Robust quality measurement begins with the AM machine itself. Consider the selective-laser-melting (SLM) process, which offers outstanding creative freedom in design and, thus, provides tremendous potential for lightweighting initiatives. A great deal of the foundational work with SLM technologies centers on lightweight parts for aerospace applications, where traditional manufacturing constraints, such as tooling and physical access to surfaces for machining, restrict component design.
SLM Solutions Group AG, headquartered in Lübeck, Germany is a global supplier of 3D metal printers that employ the SLM manufacturing method. As with conventionally manufactured metallic components, parts produced via 3D metal printers also must be tested for their strength values. For this purpose, SLM Solutions uses a Zwick ProLine 100-kN testing system.
“Delivering 3D metal printers that function with the highest levels of precision and repeatability is of the utmost importance to our customers at SLM Solutions Group,” says Plach. “Charac- terizing the material properties of parts produced with each system allows them to ensure proper functionality. Materials testing plays a vital role in determining quality and functional integrity.”
AM-part production with a 3D metal printer from SLM Solu- tions Group may involve powder aluminum, tool steel, stainless steel, nickel-base alloys, cobalt-chrome or titanium. For each of these materials, process parameters must be identified and qualified separately. Parameters include laser power, scanning speed and coating thickness. To complete a parameter qualifi- cation, a tensile test is performed to check whether the new parameters reach or exceed required mechanical characteristic values. This is where the testing system pays off.
"The robustness, high quality and ease of operation have won us over," says Daniel Brück, research and development engineer at SLM Solutions Group.
Ensuring Performance in Aerospace Applications
Conventional aerospace requirements also involve strict val- idation of materials with qualification processes that can span

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