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TWI and Trumpf UK using variable beam mode technology to optimise LPBF

TWI and Trumpf UK will be undertaking a newly-funded project using variable beam mode technology to investigate and optimise processing conditions in laser powder bed fusion (LPBF).

Titled iAM-3DPO, the project will be done together with machine builder ThinkLaser, software firm NquiringMinds and Lancaster University.

When processing components via LPBF, repeatability of part properties and right-first-time capability require in-process optimisation of build parameters at each 2D-layer geometry within the 3D part. This currently takes a large amount of computing time and an analogue way of processing data.

If build parameters are not optimised then variations in material can occur, particularly in parts with non-uniform geometric features. Thermal stresses can also build up, leading to part distortion and cracking.

The iAM-3DPO project will therefore leverage materialise control platform (MCP) technology to enable total beam path control, and Trumpf UK’s VariMODE Pro’s beam shape control to mitigate the risks associated with build failure. 

The resultant system will enable dynamic optimisation of advanced process parameters and scan strategies, and could lead to solutions for cost effectively upgrading ageing PBF equipment.

To find out more about the iAM-3DPO project, visitors to Formnext in Frankfurt, Germany on 15-18 November can speak to TWI on booth 12.0-A113.

NquiringMinds secured the funding for iAM-3DPO via InnovateUK – EUREKA R&D:SMART Advanced Manufacturing grant reference 76940.

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