System-level integration tools for laser-based powder bed fusion enabled process chains
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-review
Colleges, School and Institutes
A multi-setup additive manufacturing (AM) platform that integrates the powder bed fusion (PBF) technology with a range of complementary pre- and post-processing steps has the potential to be an appealing and flexible production solution for addressing the technical requirements of the existing and new products. Especially, such multi-step manufacturing solutions could overcome the limitations of standalone additive, subtractive, replication and surface engineering processes by reinforcing their complementary capabilities. However, the lack of specially developed system-level tools to address interoperability issues in integrating PBF with other technologies leads to high uncertainty and overall risk in producing parts that incorporate geometries with different manufacturing requirements, e.g. parts with areas that can be cost-effectively machined while others require AM solutions. To address such open issues, this paper presents the development of generic hardware and software integration tools that can improve the system level performance of AM enabled process chains. In particular, the research reports the design and implementation of modular workpiece holding system and quality control strategy that can warrant the production of parts encompassing structures with distinctly different manufacturing requirements. An experimental validation of the proposed tools was performed to assess their capabilities in producing parts with high accuracy and repeatability. The results demonstrate that their synergistic utilisation can lead to significant improvements in producing AM sections on top of pre-machined preforms in regards to their positional accuracy and repeatability. It was observed that the positional accuracy in the hybrid additive-subtractive parts was improved thirtyfold with the system level tools from 0.604 mm and 0.442 mm to 21 μm and 10 μm along X and Y axes, respectively.
|Number of pages||16|
|Journal||Journal of Manufacturing Systems|
|Early online date||17 Dec 2018|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2019|