The Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) system uses a Direct Metal Laser Melting (DMLM) additive manufacturing process, whereby lasers are used to melt ultra-thin layers of metal powder, to build a three-dimensional object.
The LPBF is supported by the following equipment to evaluate and optimise the powder feedstock:
- Automated image analysis system - Identifies morphological and size parameters.
- Automated packing density analyser - Measures bulk and tap density of particulate material.
- Automated avalanche tester - Measures flowing angle, cohesion, and roughness of powders to evaluate their flowability.
- Surface profilometry - analyses surface roughness, texture and morphology of powder bed to validate spreadability and flowability of particulate material
- Powder storage capacity - provides a proper and precise environmental/atmosphere control.
Predicting Powder Performance
A new characterisation methodology correlating powder physical parameters was developed to represent and predict the powder flowability performance prior to the laser powder bed fusion process.
- Use of a laser to selectively melt thin layers of tiny particles produces objects exhibiting fine, dense and homogeneous characteristics.
- Objects are produced using the unique stochastic control of the slice segments makes which are processed successively. This patented process ensures a significant reduction in stress when manufacturing very large components.
- Complex components which cannot be produced by conventional means can be produced without using any tools.
- No limits on the fabrication of components with hollow or grid structures on the inside.
- Full characterisation of the powder feedstock to propose more flexibility in materials design, optimisation, and reusability.
- Evaluating powder life cycle, reusability, and recyclability for LPBF process using historical powder data.
- GE Additive Concept Laser Mlab200R
- Hall Flowmeter
- Granutools Automated GranuDrum
- Granutool Automated GranuPack
- Portable Surface Profilometer