Process Monitoring for Diode Direct Laser System

Coaxial diode laser processing head of Oscar PLT (Source: BIAS)

Polymer- and metal-based processes of 3D printing have evolved over the past few years from a niche application to an established process, especially in the field of prototyping. In addition to the plastic-based processes, metal-based additive production offers the possibility to generate functional prototypes, which can be deployed in automotive and aircraft construction. Furthermore, significant advantages are achieved by metal-based processes in prototyping and batch production, such as tooling and mold making.

Additive manufacturing processes have a great potential to significantly reduce costs as well as production times. Reliability and quality of the process needs to be ensured for 3D printing in the same way as in conventional production processes. Current quality assurance concepts do not allow for spatially-resolved quantitative transient temperature monitoring and documentation for additive manufacturing processes. Therefore, the aim of the current research project is to develop appropriate process monitoring solutions and to provide the market with a novel direct diode laser (without optical fiber) in a compact design for 3D printing of metal, such as the tool steel 1.2379.

In a collaborative work of the Institute of Applied Beam Technology (BIAS) in Bremen and Oscar PLT in Klipphausen, both Germany, a temperature field measuring system for process monitoring in additive production by laser metal deposition is developed. Components for temperature measurement are tested and evaluated. An easy-to-use and user-friendly software for process monitoring and documentation is developed. Suitable evaluation algorithms for the temperature field measurement are identified for an online evaluation of the measured data with a high data rate and a low latency time. The measuring system is to be qualified for the additive production as part of this project. For this purpose, the design of suitable camera optics as well as the adaptation and integration of the temperature measurement equipment a novel direct diode laser (without optical fiber) is carried out. Proof of the functionality of the prototype and of the measurement algorithms is carried out by stress and long-term tests for the additive manufacturing of metal components. The developed process monitoring system with the innovative diode laser of the Oscar PLT research center of the Kjellberg Group, provides an innovative processing system for industrial additive manufacturing. (Source: BIAS)

Links: Institute for Applied Beam Technology (BIAS) GmbH, Bremen, GermanyLaser cutting technology, Kjellberg Group, Finsterwalde, Germany

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