Having a foundation in the AM process and a successful lab for material and process development, we review three case studies for developing new materials, new parameters and validating a new powder source for production in highly regulated industries, such as aerospace.
Experimental Procedures in Metal AM
With a robust QMS and an understanding of the AM process in place, we review methods of testing individual material properties in AM and general do’s and don’ts of such material testing. Specifically, how to characterize a material, prepare builds for uniaxial tensile, density, porosity, surface finish, and finally fatigue tests and the theory behind the most valid results. The experiments are shown in a case-study format with specific examples to point out individual material challenges.
Software in the AM environment is a critical part of the process chain, not only for part accuracy, but also the final part quality. This portion of the training reviews the software process flow in order to show clients the effects that individual data handling steps can have on the part quality and R&D setup.
In R&D work, special equipment has to be implemented (or outsourced) in order to gather data for development. It is important not only to know what equipment is necessary, but to have the procedures as well as the knowledge on when to use them. A formal review of the procedures and equipment and when to implement them in order to have reliable data for the experimental development is discussed.
Quality Management System (QMS)
A formal overview of quality in AM is discussed in order to provide a framework for a reliable QMS in AM. The final QMS layout is provided to customers as well as how to implement this in the organization for any AM work and how to integrate this with a traditional manufacturing QMS.
Machine Quality Control (QC)
With the range of variables that need to be controlled for in the AM process, we review the most critical to quality (CTQ) variables in order to ensure that they are documented for quality control purposes, both for machine, as well as material specific purposes in the client’s organization.
Within AM, machine preparation is a critical factor in obtaining good and repeatable results for parts that are manufactured because of the variability in operating procedures between users of the technology. Therefore, we go over the best practices in AM process preparation and the effects of deviations from the baseline preparation in order to give clients a practical guide on the production process.
Powder Quality Control (QC)
To ensure high-quality results and avoid fluctuations due to powder preparation and handling methods, we review the key variables that influence the AM process and, subsequently, part quality as relating to the powder that is utilized in AM, including how to control incoming powder lots and define powder acceptance/rejection criteria.
Depending on the alloy being worked with, powder has to be used in near clean room conditions. In order to understand how to set up a powder handling system, we review the best practices so as to ensure that the powder is utilized to the fullest while avoiding contamination. Many practices for powders are alloy-specific and are reviewed in a case-study form.