While metal 3D printing is being readily welcomed into many industrial workflows, the technology is still remarkably new and often inconsistent in results. Not only do printed parts require extensive post processing to smooth and shape the component into a usable condition, but the finished parts also require post-testing to ensure there are no flaws or build errors that could cause the part to fail during use. This need for additional time and processing does make metal 3D printed parts considerably more expensive, though many manufacturers consider them worth the cost for low run part manufacturing or for the creation of parts with geometries that are impossible to make using traditional manufacturing methods. However, industrial additive manufacturing is going to need to drop in price and complexity if it is going to grow beyond a niche manufacturing process into a viable large-scale manufacturing alternative.
Sciaky Inc, the developer of their exclusive Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) process, is introducing a new way to monitor a metal 3D print while it is being formed. The new process is a closed-loop control system called IRISS and is expected to reduce the post-inspection time and improve the final product with real time printing adjustments. The patented system is a collection of system controls and multiple types of sensors that brings real-time monitoring, extensive process data and control to their EBAM metal 3D printer. IRISS will help reduce the already industry leading manufacturing time of parts made with the EBAM system, and offer data that allows users to have a great control of the final printed product.
“We know more about the creation of each additive part than we can reasonably know about parts created other ways. In the future, the data could be marshaled to streamline the process to a degree that goes well beyond just replacing one metalworking operation with another,” explained Slade Gardner, PhD from Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company to Additive Manufacturing Magazine Editor-in-Chief Peter Zelinski.
The Sciaky Interlayer Real-time Imaging & Sensing System (IRISS) will provide EBAM users consistent and reliable control over in-process part geometry, mechanical properties, microstructure construction, and metal chemistry for large-scale AM parts. The closed-loop control will use its bank of advanced sensors to monitor the actual metal deposition process in real time. IRISS will also make instant adjustments to the printing parameters so users can compensate for any variations or disruptions that may occur during the build process.
“Sciaky’s IRISS closed-loop control is in a class by itself. It is a big reason why EBAM is the most advanced metal additive manufacturing processes in the market for large-scale parts,” says general manager of Sciaky, Inc. Mike Riesen.
The EBAM system uses a metal wire feedstock which can be made from a wide variety of metallic materials, including titanium, tantalum, niobium, tungsten, molybdenum, Inconel, aluminum, stainless steels and several nickel alloys. Additionally, Sciaky offers EBAM machines with a dual wire feed option that allows users to combine two metal materials during the 3D printing process to create customized alloy components. This also creates the option to alter the mixture ratio of both materials to manufacture “graded” parts or multi-material structures.
As the metal 3D printing system with the most scalable work envelop, the Sciaky EBAM system is capable of producing parts that vary in range from 8 inches (203 mm) all the way up to a massive 19 feet (5.79 meters) in length. Additionally, EBAM is the fastest metal deposition process in the metal 3D printing market and is capable of a gross deposition rate that range from 7 pounds (3.18 kg) up to 20 pounds to (9.07 kg) of metal an hour. The IRISS closed-loop control system was developed exclusively for the Sciaky line of EBAM systems. Discuss in the 3D Metal Printing Monitoring forum over at 3DPB.com.