3D printing with metal is leading the way in the most recent industrial revolution due to its applications with a variety of very strong materials and potential for high resolution and quality components. With high quality materials and output, often comes great expense, and that is why 3D printing in metal is still fairly confined to the higher echelons of industry with the funding and expertise.
Two such entities, EOS, a leader worldwide in producing high-end additive manufacturing solutions, and MTU Aero Engines, Germany’s top aero engine manufacturer, are working together to develop quality assurance requirements for the automotive industry in regards to 3D printed parts. They are taking the initiative to create technology that allows for quality control, adding new structure to an industry where currently, with 3D printing, an entirely new set of rules is in the process of being created across the board.
They have recently signed an agreement together in an outline for their partnership in creating the quality assurance technology for 3D printing in metal which will offer:
- Optical tomography for monitoring
- Constant control of exposure, and melting characteristics of material
Meant for the Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) process, the quality assurance technology EOS and MTU have created, over several years, is comprehensive and also unique in that it takes place while each step of manufacturing is occurring, rather than after the fact. That presents not only a huge savings on the bottom line in controlling errors and re-do’s, but also affords a very high quality product for the client.
“MTU and EOS have been working intensively for several years. This collaboration is now about to develop into an even closer, partner-based technological cooperation, centred on the above quality assurance tool. The OT solution enables us to perform even more holistic quality control of the metal additive manufacturing process – layer by layer and part by part,” said Dr Adrian Keppler, head of sales and marketing at EOS. “A very large proportion of the quality control process that previously took place downstream can now be performed during the manufacturing process, with a considerable saving in quality assurance costs. This also allows us to satisfy a central customer requirement in the area of serial production.”
A global entity focusing on manufacturing, with 14 headquarters worldwide, and nearly 9,000 employees, MTU has over 80 years of experience in their industry of providing engine maintenance and they state that one-third of the commercial aircraft today are equipped with MTU components. Continuing to progress by using the latest research and development to lead the future of aviation, MTU provides innovation in:
- Low-pressure turbines
- High-pressure compressors
- Turbine center frames
“By employing the quality assurance system developed by us for use in serial AM production, EOS is backing an industrially proven solution for its Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) process. It has proven itself in practical testing and we now intend to make it available to other customers too,” said Thomas Dautl, head of production technologies at MTU in Munich.
In a further handshake and collaboration between the two companies while developing the QA technology, MTU has been using the tool with systems that belong to EOS, leading to full documentation and transparency in the development process. “In this way, EOS and MTU are jointly furthering the qualified use of additive manufacturing in aerospace engineering while also reducing costs. The monitoring solution represents a value enhancement, not only for EOS technology, but also for each and every customer,” said Dautl.
The benefits to everyone involved with the development of the QA technology are substantial both economically and in terms of quality—which is of the utmost importance in the components MTU is responsible for manufacturing and maintaining.
EOS GmbH Electro Optical Systems was founded by Dr. Hans J. Langer and Dr. Hans Steinbichler in 1989. Headquartered in Germany, their speciality is in 3D printing solutions. MTU, headquartered in Munich, was founded in 1934 and Germany’s leading engine manufacturer.
What are your thoughts on how EOS and MTU are streamlining the QA process? Discuss it in the EOS and MTU Collaborate in Designing QA Technology forum over at 3DPB.com.