Over the last ten months, the EWI Additive Manufacturing team has been building an open-architecture additive manufacturing machine to facilitate the evaluation of sensors for in-process monitoring of laser powder bed fusion processes. EWI is leading the in-process monitoring task of the America Makes-led Measurement Science Innovation Program for Additive Manufacturing funded by NIST.
The sensor test bed emulates commercially available laser powder bed fusion equipment, but allows for the integration of a variety of sensors into the laser beam path and chamber. It also integrates an open-architecture software framework that allows complete control over the process.
In October, EWI conducted a successful machine run-off by producing multiple simple prismatic shapes up to 10mm tall (250 layers) in nickel alloy 625 without any interruptions to the process. The prisms were produced using a range of process settings equivalent to a commercially available laser powder bed fusion process. These parameters were determined using EWI’s rapid parameter development methodology. All parts were sectioned for metallographic observation and were equivalent to the quality observed in nickel alloy 625 material produced on an EOS M280 Direct Metal Laser Sintering platform. It is noteworthy that high quality prisms were produced during the second build on the test bed.
EWI is beginning an intense period of sensor evaluation on the sensor test bed with our project partners UNC-Charlotte, Georgia Tech, Stratonics, Wyle Labs, B6 Sigma, Rolls-Royce, GE Aviation and EOS North America. Initial sensor screening will be complete by the end of December with additional focused testing, refinement, and evaluation over the following 9 months.
EWI’s Additive Manufacturing Team is leading and executing several in-process sensing projects for metal additive manufacturing processes including laser powder bed fusion and laser directed energy deposition for both industry and government. America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is leading many of the national efforts for additive manufacturing. EWI is a member of America Makes.