Holistic Inspection Verification for Additive Manufacturing
Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is increasingly important in the manufacturing of high-value, critical parts. This process has found its way into high-volume industrial production of designs with moderately complex geometries in medical technology, aerospace, automotive industries and many others.
From lightweight, high-strength structures to hyper-realistic prototypes, AM processes build parts one thin layer at a time. A challenge, however, is posed by the verification of 3D-printed parts’ absolute reliability.
What does a successful AM build require? High-quality powder and various post-processing treatments are vitally important, as they can influence the dimensional characteristics of the end-use part and have a significant impact on the overall yield.
It is, therefore, necessary to understand and ensure dimensional accuracy and optimal material properties through analysis of parts across all production steps.
Why is Dimensional Measurement Important with AM?
All mature production processes need suitable quality systems in place, and this is no different with additive manufacturing. High-quality industrial metrology equipment, such as microscopes and CT systems, can help determine whether a part is fit for purpose in terms of dimensional tolerances, surface roughness and functionality.
Maintaining control of the manufacturing process avoids unnecessary scrap material and processing time, improves energy efficiency and, most importantly, detects defects that would otherwise cause a significant detriment to the fatigue life of an as-built component. This quality guarantee instills confidence in customers who are looking to prevent material-related defects at any stage of a build.
So, what is the best way to improve yield through quality inspection of additive manufacturing? ZEISS 3D ManuFACT offers an ideal solution through a robust product portfolio and significant expertise and experience.
ZEISS 3D ManuFACT — An Integrated Inspection Process
3D ManuFACT from ZEISS offers holistic inspection verification for 3D manufacturing that applies the concentrated competence of all ZEISS technologies. This integrated process combines light microscopes (LM), scanning electron microscopes (SEM) and X-ray computed tomography (CT) in a staged quality process that can prevent defects in a part’s final dimensional characteristics, saving you time and money.
With 3D ManuFACT, productivity is increased as the end-user’s manufacturing and assembly is supported by unique technology, including CMMs and optical 3D scanners, across all process steps:
Powder and Material Characterization
- In-Process Data Analysis
- Post-Print Heat Treatment and Part Removal
- Defects and Inner Structure Inspection
- Post-Print Material Quality Inspection
- Dimensional and Surface Quality Inspection
- Process Data Statistics and Analytics
The Value of Metrology Expertise and Experience
Additive manufacturing is not a magical process that results in a part springing wholly into existence. There is a long and winding road to guaranteeing the repeatability and reliability of a 3D-printed part.
As a holistic quality inspection solution for AM, ZEISS 3D ManuFACT provides that guarantee with knowledge and certainty from powder to performance.