Researchers develop process monitoring for laser 3D printing

Researchers at the Institute of Applied Beam Technology (BIAS) in Bremen, Germany, in collaboration with the diode laser company Oscar PLT, have developed a process monitoring system for laser additive manufacturing.

The aim of the research is to develop a process monitoring solution and provide the market with a novel direct diode laser in a compact design for 3D printing metals, such as the tool steel 1.2379.

Oscar PLT supplied the coaxial direct diode laser, which offers continuous output powers of up to 1kW, a focus diameter of 2.3mm, and a beam propagation ratio of 0.0045. Powder or wire filler material can be used, and the small laser, measuring 185 x 300mm, can be installed on various handling machines.

The Institute of Applied Beam Technology developed the temperature field measuring system to monitor laser metal deposition. Suitable evaluation algorithms for the temperature measurements have been identified for online evaluation of the measured data with a high data rate and a low latency time.

Proof of the functionality of the prototype and of the measurement algorithms is being carried out by stress and long-term tests, and the device will be qualified for additive production as part of the project.

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By Dave MacLellan, Executive Director, AILU


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