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Foto: Tobias Hase (www.hase-fotografie.de)

EOS Answers Metal AM QC Issues with Successful Pilot for Process Monitoring Tool

EOS completed the pilot phase for EOSTATE MeltPool, a process monitoring and analysis solution for direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). Turkey-based pilot customer TUSAS Engine Ind. Inc. (TEI) will use the automated, intelligent and real-time process monitoring tool for quality inspection on engine parts.

Serial production with industrial 3D printing systems aims for high-quality and reproducible component quality at the lowest costs per part possible. Reliable quality assurance tools play a key role in this process. EOSTATE MeltPool moves the quality assurance process that would otherwise take place downstream into the additive build process. This improves risk management, lowers the costs associated with quality assurance and reduces the time required for this purpose. The result – a sustained reduction in overall costs per part.

Towards the end of 2015, EOS, the global technology and quality leader for high-end Additive Manufacturing (AM) solutions introduced its EOSTATE MeltPool solution as an add-on to the EOS M 290 DMLS system. This innovative tool paves the way for complete part traceability as well as an automated surveillance and analysis of the melt pool during the DMLS® build process – every spot, every layer, every part. With the tool EOS expands its existing comprehensive portfolio of monitoring solutions, ensuring even greater transparency of the complex build process.

GE LEAP AM EOSTATE TEIAfter market introduction, EOS exposes its products to a subsequent testing phase with a handful of pilot customers. This phase has been recently completed. TEI – which also collaborates at GE’s LEAP engine program – has been one of the customers to support this.

The decisive factor for customers on the road towards series manufacturing based on AM is reproducible top-quality parts at the lowest costs per part possible,” said Lukas Fuchs, Application Development Consultant MeltPool for Monitoring Solutions at EOS. “The EOSTATE MeltPool Monitoring allows to move part quality assurance from post- to in-process, as such not only supporting a better risk management, but as well reducing time and costs for quality assurance and as a consequence overall costs per part.” And he continues: “It is a powerful expert tool to those who need to improve their quality assurance procedures for AM and who want to build up deep insights into the DMLS process to e.g. support further process development.

 We consider the EOSTATE Meltpool monitoring system as an initial step for online control and part quality inspection, As such, it was part of our initial technical specifications for the DMLS process and we felt privileged to be one of the first pilot customers to test it,” added Semih Pilatin, Technology Programs Manager at TEI. “We are planning to use this tool – he continued – for aerospace engine parts manufacturing where tight tolerances and high performance are expected. With this tool, we can capture potential part defects online at an early stage and with minimal effort to assess the part quality.“ 

TUSAS Engine Industries Inc. (TEI) is a joint venture established in 1985 between Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. (TAI), General Electric (GE), Turkish Armed Forces Foundation (TAFF) and Turkish Aeronautical Association (TAA). TEI is the leader in aviation engines area in Turkey and a successful partner for OEMs in the global market with its reliable, high quality products and services that meets international standards. Today TEI continues its operations focusing its investment and initiatives on its main activity areas which are: Engine part/module manufacturing; engine assembly, testing and maintenance, repair and overhaul; engine design and product development.

Process monitoring and analysis per spot, per layer, per part; minimizing risk and reducing quality assurance costs

Automated melt pool monitoring and analysis during the DMLS build process – every spot, every layer, every part (Source: EOS)
Automated melt pool monitoring and analysis during the DMLS build process – every spot, every layer, every part (Source: EOS)
The innovative EOSTATE MeltPool allows for the comprehensive tracking of components and the automatic monitoring and analysis of the melt during the DMLS process – every spot, every layer and every part. The high-performance online monitoring tool provides an even more transparent illustration of this complex process. EOSTATE MeltPool, which was developed jointly with plasmo Industrietechnik, is a tool that is ideally suited for R&D and manufacturing clients with demanding quality requirements. It improves quality assurance processes for Additive Manufacturing, or provides an even better understanding of the build process. In this way, it also paves the way for successfully pushing ahead with additional process developments.

Process and functional principle

EOSTATE MeltPoolDuring the DMLS build process, EOSTATE MeltPool observes the light emitted by the melt pool. Extensive hardware helps to separate the process light from the reflected laser light. The data that is obtained is further processed in the software:

The EOSTATE MeltPool software offers automatic error correction of the data that is created, as well as process visualisation and evaluation in real time. For the purpose of data analysis, the EOSTATE MeltPool Analysis Toolbox illustrates data in 2D or 3D form, including the ability to analyse discrepancies.
The data that is collected can be used to draw conclusions regarding the quality of the final components. The corresponding parameters (MPM parameters) can be freely selected using the open and flexible EOSTATE MeltPool Analysis Toolbox. On this basis, discrepancies can be automatically noted during the live monitoring process. Hence EOSTATE MeltPool is a powerful instrument for quality-oriented Additive Manufacturing processes.

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