EOS, Krailling, Germany, has launched its Smart Fusion software technology for Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) metal Additive Manufacturing that automatically adjusts laser power in real-time. The technology is intended to eliminate the need for most support structures, minimises material use, reduces post- processing requirements, and lowers the cost-per-part (CPP) for metal AM applications.
Smart Fusion is designed to detect potential build problems, auto-adjust the laser power, and eliminate wasted time and resources typically associated with trial and error Additive Manufacturing. Unlike current technologies, Smart Fusion’s real-time capabilities are achieved without adding significant build-time.
EOS reports that customer beta testing of the Smart Fusion solution has consistently resulted in performance that is two to five times faster than the leading competitors in the metal AM market. Lower CPP is a primary business driver for the adoption of Smart Fusion, and removing the need for support structures in metal AM may also make for a more attractive business case.
“When we learned about Smart Fusion and started to test it several month ago, we knew it would be a game changer,” stated Stefan Seidel, Chief Technical Officer at Pankl Racing Systems, manufacturers of auto racing, aerospace, and other high-performance applications. “Not only does it significantly reduce the part cost, but it is also a facilitator in the use of optical tomography which, in our view, is a key element to introduce AM for serial production. Over the past few months, we have developed several products with EOS which really show the potential of Smart Fusion.”
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How Smart Fusion works
EOS explains that Smart Fusion measures the amount of laser power (energy) absorbed by the powder bed. A special high-resolution camera overlooking the build chamber monitors each layer’s meltpool emissions via proprietary technology and data is fed back to the laser where it is adjusted. This results in homogeneous energy distribution across the whole build platform thereby reducing stress in the parts and avoiding metal overheating and movement in undesired directions.
At its core, Smart Fusion pairs with EOS’ existing monitoring solutions and employs advanced algorithms to monitor the build layer-by-layer providing for more homogeneous, consistent parts. From a dataflow perspective, EOSPRINT prepares the data which is sent to the Additive Manufacturing machine; Smart Fusion then works with EOSTATE and its Optical Tomography (OT) camera to monitor, measure, and adjust the lasers via EOSYSTEM.
“Smart Fusion is another important breakthrough for metal AM, especially for those organisations with highly engineered applications, such as energy, space tech, mobility, and aerospace,” added Mirco Schöpf, EOS product line manager, software. “Other solutions in the market have significant drawbacks such as slower build times, and a need for an expert to make sure it works. Smart Fusion offers an industrialised solution that is faster, flexible, and more accessible.”
Another organisation that piloted Smart Fusion engineers and manufactures hardware for the space industry. It compared Smart Fusion head-to-head with a leading competitive technology and the comparative builds proved Smart Fusion to be more than twice as fast and delivered better part qualities.
Smart Fusion lists for €27,000/$29,262 (EOS M 290) and €38,000/$41,184 (EOS M 300-4, and EOS M 400-4), requires the Smart Monitoring System package, and is available now for the EOS machines and materials shown in Table 1.
“The beauty of Smart Fusion is that it is incredibly flexible, easy-to-use, and will work with the majority of customer applications out-of-the-box,” continued Schöpf. “We challenged our team to mitigate one of metal AM’s significant challenges with a unique software solution and we could not be prouder of the results. “
Smart Fusion will be featured at EOS’s booth (#4612) at Rapid+TCT, scheduled to take place May 2-4, 2023, in Chicago, Illinois, USA.