White light projection in build chamber

Additive manufacturing processes pave the way for new options in part production with a shortened processing times as opposed to tool-based production processes, e.g. injection molding. Consequently individualized parts as well as custom-tailored small batches can be manufactured economically. Process variations in powder-based additive manufacturing processes, such as selective laser melting, can lead to intolerably poor part quality. Due to their piece-meal building process, resulting part accuracies and properties, such as surface quality and mechanical properties, vary in all dimensions. At the present, however, such deficits can only be detected by retained samples and specimens. To reduce errors as much as possible, important processing variables that affect the quality need to be identified. For implementing process-embedded quality control, part properties that affect parameters must be identified and measured in a quantifiable way.

The Institute of Polymer Technology examines strategies for integrating dimensional testing into the additive manufacturing process as well as the correlation between process parameters and a part’s shape for correcting manufacturing deficiencies inline. Therefore, qualified measurement and testing as well as strategies for incremental inline inspection within additive manufacturing must be provided. The information gleaned through experimentation and research can be transferred to other additive manufacturing processes. A monitoring process that is ultimately adjusted to the individual manufacturing process provides the basis for optimal dynamic and fully automated processing control.

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Meng Zhao, M.Sc.