ASTM International, a global standards organisation based in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, USA, has announced the expansion of its Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) Machine Operator Certification programme. This expansion includes additional machine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), specifically 3D Systems Corporation and Nikon SLM Solutions, as well as more metal AM machines from EOS.
Developed by the ASTM International Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AM CoE), this certification is intended to act as a benchmark for assessing the reliable and competent operation of metal PBF-LB machines. Based on the joint ISO/ASTM standard for qualifying operators of metal laser-based PBF machines and equipment (ISO/ASTM 52942:2020), the programme demonstrates an operator’s skill, competency, and adherence to this globally recognised standard. It is part of a broader initiative to ensure consistency, reproducibility, and to meet specific quality requirements, particularly in regulated industries.
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The ASTM certification includes both theoretical and practical assessments to evaluate the knowledge of the PBF-LB operator. The programme ensures competencies in the following:
- Additive Manufacturing Procedure Specification (APS)
- Standard operating procedures
- Machine management and build process monitoring
- Operator maintenance of systems
- Powder material family specialisations
Operator certification for specific machine models is necessary according to the standard for a particular metal platform. 3D Systems, EOS, and Nikon SLM Solutions, have now joined this programme, collaborating closely with ASTM to develop operator assessments for their metal AM machines.
3D Systems plans to introduce a programme for its widely used DMP Flex 350 production AM machine. This programme will eventually expand to other production AM machines. Nikon SLM Solutions will introduce the certification to its range of industrial production Additive Manufacturing machines, which include the SLM 280, SLM 500, and SLM NXG XII 600.
EOS has added the EOS M 400 and EOS M 400-4 to their portfolio. These additions follow the EOS M 290, which was the first model introduced to this certification programme.
“Structured certification programmes are fundamental to the integration and acceptance of AM technologies within the industry,” stated Dr Mohsen Seifi, ASTM International’s vice president of global advanced manufacturing programmes. “This is a significant stride in addressing the industry’s need for certified personnel and promoting a uniform standard of excellence. We anticipate further expansion to other platforms and continuous collaboration with essential industry players to ensure the AM technology is utilised reliably and proficiently.”