The Rise of 3D Printing in Metal Manufacturing and the Importance of Quality Control

Wednesday 13th September 2023
12:00  -  12:25

Theatre :  Technology, Innovation and R&D 

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Metal Additive manufacturing, or Metal 3D printing, has revolutionized component manufacture by allowing for the easy production of complex shapes with tight tolerances. Techniques such as direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) and electron beam melting (EBM) have given product engineers the ability to design intricate components that were previously impossible or too expensive to produce using traditional subtractive techniques.

However, there are challenges in the metal additive manufacturing sphere. Quality assurance (QA) is a crucial yet challenging step in 3D printing, especially for metal 3D printing used in high-performance industrial applications. One of the key challenges is ensuring the quality of materials used, as material qualification is complicated by the need to maintain the purity of metal powders. Contamination can occur during the printing process, storage, transportation, and handling, and can alter the properties of the final part. There are several solutions to detect contamination in metal powders by using Optical emission spectroscopy, X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) scanning, which they can provide engineers with in-depth data on powder chemistry or microstructure to confirm its applicability for production.

Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES) is a solution for measuring chemical composition of3D printed parts. This established technique for elemental analysis has been used for decades in the metallurgical industry for seamless quality control in metal processing, including the analysis of scrap metals, incoming materials, melting process control, and outgoing goods. Now OES has been developed to enable the analysis of ultra-low carbon steels, monitor nitrogen content in steel and iron casting processes, and determine other trace elements in 3D printed metal parts. It provides reliable results for the most important alloying elements.

Dr. Maryam BeigMohamadi, Senior Application Scientist at Hitachi High-Tech Analytical ScienceMaryam Beig Mohamadi Senior Application Scientist
Hitachi High-Tech Analytical Science

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