EOS Introduces EOSTATE Exposure OT, First Commercial Optical Tomography System for Additive Manufacturing
Nearly a year ago, EOS completed the successful pilot testing for its new EOSTATE MeltPool Monitoring solution. The technology allows manufacturers to monitor the quality of 3D printed parts while in progress, and now the company has announced the introduction of a new tool to the EOSTATE monitoring suite. EOSTATE Exposure OT is the first commercial system for optical tomography in the world, and it’s based on the EOS M 290 system.
EOSTATE Exposure OT uses a high-resolution camera to monitor the exposure and melting of each layer in a 3D print as it’s being built. The camera records the entire build platform at high frequency in a near-infrared range throughout the whole process, so that manufacturers can access detailed data about the melting behavior of the 3D printing material across the platform, from start to finish. Special software enables detailed analysis of the melting behavior of steel, titanium, aluminum, and several alloys.
If the data shows deviation from the normal range of parameters as defined by the user, the area of concern is flagged. EOSTATE Exposure OT is a self-learning system, meaning that the more data it is provided with, the smarter it gets – so the more familiar users become with the specific parameters of their parts, the better they can assess the quality and density of those parts. The goal, of course, is to catch any defective parts early on in the build process.
“With EOSTATE Exposure, we are offering companies an even more comprehensive process monitoring and quality assurance,” said Dr. Tobias Abeln, Chief Technical Officer at EOS. “As such, we are helping customers meet the stringent inspection requirements for each component, particularly in sectors such as aerospace. Quality assurance is essential in large-scale manufacturing where reproducible component qualities are of prime significance. Costs for quality assurance are significantly reduced as the monitoring process occurs early on at the build process stage. This has a positive impact on costs-per-part as well.”
EOSTATE Exposure OT was developed in collaboration with EOS strategic partner MTU Aero Engines, the leading engine manufacturer in Germany. MTU acted as both a development partner and pilot customer, using the system for series manufacturing purposes. The company has been using the system for several months, and it has proven its effectiveness, allowing MTU Aero Engines to greatly reduce costs for downstream, non-destructive examination using technical computer tomography.
“At MTU Aero Engines we recognized the potential of Additive Manufacturing early on. However, until now we didn’t have the experience and the volume of data needed to sufficiently evaluate the quality of the parts and transfer the technology to large-scale manufacturing. We are confident that we will be able to do so with EOSTATE Exposure OT,” said Dr. Jürgen Kraus, Senior Consultant Additive Manufacturing at MTU. “The new OT solution has meanwhile proven itself in practical tests and we are very happy that other customers will now be able to benefit from it, too. It provides genuine added value.”
EOS’ other two pilot customers for the system are Liebherr and IPC. Both companies will continue to use EOSTATE Exposure OT after the pilot phase has ended.
“We are now using EOSTATE Exposure OT and EOSTATE MeltPool from EOS and expect both technologies to give us a profound understanding of the phenomena relevant for quality when additively producing titanium parts,” said Alexander Altmann, Lead Engineer Additive Manufacturing/TRPI Research & Technology at Liebherr. “In the medium to long term, we will be looking to produce highly complex flight control system components using Additive Manufacturing. Here, real-time process monitoring as well is key to create an economically viable process chain. Widely used non-destructive examination processes such as CT are quite elaborate and expensive for manufacturing valve blocks.”
The cost savings offered by the EOSTATE ecosystem are significant. Defective parts can now be identified and culled before they’re complete, saving time, money and materials. In addition, the use of the system enables manufacturers to become more well-acquainted with the behavior of the materials they use and the parameters required for certain parts, allowing them to make more informed decisions and reduce the likelihood of defective parts at any stage. Discuss in the EOS forum at 3DPB.com.[Images: EOS]
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