Articles

Separation anxiety: Lessons learned at NASA from a developmental rocket engine failure

So much is discovered when it just all goes wrong. From a ‘design-fail-fix’ perspective, it’s expected that developmental components may be pushed to destruction. With rocket engines that operate near the limits of their performance, however, the need to understand the causes of a failure is critical. In the competitive commercial space business there’s a clear advantage not to disclose knowledge gained from such incidents. Thankfully, NASA can share what others cannot. Here, Alison Park, Deputy Technical Fellow, Materials and Additive Manufacturing, and Paul Gradl, Principal Engineer, share insights into one failure. ... Read more »

Fig. 1 NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) is taking full advantage of AM for rocket propulsion systems to reduce time-to-test and iterations through the design-fail-fix cycle (Courtesy NASA)

What is ‘good’ metal AM? Exploring the industry’s value metrics for production

The Additive Manufacturing industry is in a state of continual evolution. As one group of processes moves towards widespread adoption, others are being introduced and refined. In such a dynamic environment, how do we define AM, and what does ‘good’ AM look like? This article considers the status quo of conventional manufacturing before comparing key AM processes. Steven Camilleri, Andrew Duguid, Sam Katz and Chris Massar (SPEE3D), Martin McMahon (MAM Solutions), Victor Champagne (US Army Research Laboratory), Ozan Özdemir (Northeastern University), Anthony Naccarelli and Timothy Eden (Penn State), Krishnan Kannoorpatti (Charles Darwin University) and Bruce McLean (University of Sydney) unravel AM’s value metrics. ... Read more »

Fig. 1 Whilst AM is on the road to widespread adoption, there remains a need for prospective users to better match the right process with the right application (Courtesy SPEE3D)

Corrosion and wear resistance of materials processed by beam-based AM technologies

Materials
December 20, 2022

A technical session at the World PM2022 Congress & Exhibition, organised by the European Powder Metallurgy Association (EPMA) and held in Lyon, France, October 9-13, 2022, focused on the corrosion and wear resistance of materials processed using beam-based Additive Manufacturing. This session comprised three papers which looked at ways to improve these properties – both particular pain points for AM’s wider adoption – by way of chemical-mechanical surface polishing, adjusted laser power, and the development of new, wear-resistant alloys for AM. Dr David Whittaker reviews the presented papers. ... Read more »

Fig. 1 The plenary session at World PM2022 in Lyon, October 2022 (Image PIM International)

Insights from R&D to part production: How CT analysis can advance metal Binder Jetting

ProcessingSoftware
December 20, 2022

In the race to optimise AM technologies for the creation of both breakthrough designs and direct part replacements, it is more necessary than ever that companies have access to the deep insights and data needed to advance part designs and processing at every phase of product development. Thanks to its ability to provide these insights non-destructively and in great detail, CT analysis provides an invaluable tool for the advancement of AM processes and their adoption. Philip Sperling, Product Manager AM at Volume Graphics, explains how CT analysis can advance the development and adoption of metal Binder Jetting (BJT). ... Read more »

Fig. 1 The Volume Graphics team inspects a CT scan of a part at its Heidelberg facility

Using the Six Sigma method to optimise metal powder spreading in PBF-LB

Processing
December 20, 2022

In Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB), powder is applied to the build platform by a recoater unit performing a horizontal movement. Though not often the focus of research, the quality of powder layers has a significant influence on the quality of the final part, making the powder application process highly relevant to PBF-LB’s productivity and reliability. A collaborative project between the Chair of Hybrid Additive Manufacturing (HAM) at the Ruhr University Bochum and the consulting firm MTS Consulting Partner has shown how the Six Sigma method can be used to improve the process of metal powder application in the PBF-LB process. ... Read more »

Fig. 1 Powder application in an AconityMIDI PBF-LB machine with a 120 mm wide recoater blade

NanoAL: Alloy development on an open parameter PBF-LB machine, from installation through to Rapid Alloy Screening

When NanoAL, LLC, a company with a decade of aluminium alloy development experience, decided to speed up its development of alloys for AM, it turned to SLM Solutions’ SLM®125 PBF-LB machine. As NanoAL’s Matthew Simmers explains, the company needed a workhorse machine that fulfilled a number of requirements, from open parameters and material flexibility to specifications and build quality that closely mirrored larger, production-focused machines. This article explores machine choice, installation, and operation in supporting NanoAL’s Rapid Alloy Screening (RAS) process. ... Read more »

Fig. 1 A test part produced using NanoAL’s Addalloy 5T powder (Courtesy NanoAL)

QuesTek’s ICMD: Faster, cheaper, and better alloy development for Additive Manufacturing

MaterialsProcessing
December 19, 2022

Alloy development has evolved dramatically throughout history, from what was a game of ‘trial and error’ to a systematic approach driven by Design of Experiments and specialist software. Now, the adoption of Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) is once again changing the way new materials are developed and deployed in today’s advanced manufacturing technologies. QuesTek’s Keith Fritz, Director of Solutions Architecture, details how the company’s ICMD® platform is enabling faster, cheaper and more successful development of new alloys for metal Additive Manufacturing, as well as the build parameters to process them. ... Read more »

Fig. 1 A demonstration part built with a Questek developed high-temperature aluminium alloy for PBF-LB

Tailored materials for AM: How a ‘powder kit’ can achieve greater material diversity with fewer resources in PBF-LB

MaterialsProcessing
December 19, 2022

The use of metal AM is ramping up, and so, as a result, is the demand for metal powders. However, the variety of materials available remains relatively small. This is due, among other things, to the exacting requirements for the powders used, and the method of production. In addition, the production of smaller quantities of powder can be uneconomical. In a project funded by the AiF, the IWM at Germany’s RWTH Aachen University and Fraunhofer IFAM have developed a sustainable ‘powder kit’ for the individual and robust production of metal powder mixtures with subsequent alloying during PBF-LB processing. The partners share their progress. ... Read more »

Fig. 1 Concept of the PBF-LB powder building kit (Courtesy Fraunhofer IFAM)

Smart sensor-integrated parts by AM: A look at a novel possibility with industrial applications

Additive Manufacturing processes offer a high degree of design freedom. The Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion of metals (PBF-LB/M), in particular, has established itself for series applications of complex-shaped parts in numerous industries. In this article, Prof Dr-Ing Christian Seidel considers the next major step in PBF-LB, which could offer designers unknown potential: the production of sensor-integrated AM parts. Methods and solutions for the manufacturing of sensor-integrated AM parts are presented and industry-relevant case studies showcased, illustrating the potential offered by sensor-integrated ‘smart parts.’ ... Read more »

Fig. 1 Sensor-integrated smart gear produced by Fraunhofer IGCV allowing for superior condition monitoring (left), conventional gear (right), additively manufactured antenna and sensor that has been implemented inside the smart gear (bottom), and reading unit for the RFID-based sensor (top)

What happens when you take the powder out of AM? Charting the rise of wire-based DED with WAAM3D

While most people associate the advantages of AM with small- to medium-sized, complex parts, wire-based Directed Energy Deposition (DED) makes it possible to achieve geometric complexity on a huge scale. Although the adoption rate for wire-based DED does not come close to that of the more widely known metal AM processes, this unique technology has advanced dramatically over recent years, and promises major advantages in a volatile global manufacturing landscape. Dr Filomeno Martina, CEO and co-founder of WAAM3D, explains more. ... Read more »

Fig. 1 A 2319 aluminium wind tunnel model featuring a nose cone produced by WAAM3D for the UK's Aircraft Research Association, demonstrating that prototypes can be developed quickly and to defined tolerances using DED-Arc. Material usage was reduced by 74%. Activity funded by a Clean Sky 2 research and innovation programme under GA Agreement 864803 (Courtesy WAAM3D and ARA Ltd)

Additive Manufacturing needs you: Why you and your company should get involved in standards development

Markets
October 7, 2022

The development and communication of standards is vital to building customer confidence and trust in Additive Manufacturing, and it is only by building that trust that the industry can advance its adoption across a wider range of markets and applications. In this article, Khalid Rafi, ASTM International, and Shane Collins, Wohlers Associates, highlight the importance of standards, outline the standards development process, and explain why individuals employed within the AM industry should seek to involve themselves in this process. [First published in Metal AM Vol. 8 No. 3, Autumn 2022] ... Read more »

Fig. 1 Categories of standards according to ASTM International

Growing momentum and broadening recognition: A status update on the rise of Electron Beam PBF

Processing
October 7, 2022

In the Summer 2020 issue of Metal AM magazine, Joseph Kowen presented a snapshot of the Electron Beam Powder Bed Fusion industry. The conclusion was that the full potential of the technology was, as yet, unrealised, and that PBF-EB had considerably more promise than the level of commercial activity seemed to suggest. Two years later, Kowen returns to the topic to offer an update on the progress of the PBF-EB field over the intervening period. He assesses the growing level of activity to provide an updated estimate on where the technology, and its commercialisation, is headed. [First published in Metal AM Vol. 8 No. 3, Autumn 2022] ... Read more »

Fig. 1 The view inside the PBF-EB build process in a GE Additive Arcam machine (Courtesy GE Additive)

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

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Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Metal AM in the aerospace sector: from early successes to the transformation of an industry
  • Slowly but surely: Industrialising metal Additive Manufacturing the Norwegian way
  • Hot Isostatic Pressing and AM: How to improve product quality and productivity for critical applications
  • The convergence of Additive Manufacturing and Artificial Intelligence: Envisioning a future that is closer than you think
  • ADAXIS: On a mission to reduce the layers of complexity in robotic Additive Manufacturing
  • Exploiting your metal Additive Manufacturing data assets: Faster industrialisation and new revenue streams

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