How can we ensure our 3D printed metal parts are service ready for critical applications?

Additive Manufacturing, Specialist Technologies Comments Off on How can we ensure our 3D printed metal parts are service ready for critical applications?

Once a 3D printed metal part is produced, the component is often far from ready to be used for its intended purpose, particularly applications in safety-critical industries with stringent quality standards such as aerospace, medical, energy and automotive. As-built metal parts can contain microstructure defects and material porosity that may be created during the additive process, making them susceptible to breakage when exposed to repeated fatigue stresses.

After printing and removing excess powder, post-build treatments are critical to achieve the required material condition for the part’s intended use. These treatments are:

  • Stress relief – to remove residual stress built up during the metal layering process. This treatment is performed while the part remains on the build plate to minimise distortion.
  • Part removal from the build plate – to efficiently process the part during the next steps.
  • Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP) – to improve the part’s mechanical properties. These material structure improvements result in enhanced properties such as creep, fatigue and ductility, and improved isotropic consistency overall.
  • Final heat treatment – to bring the part’s mechanical properties nearer to conventional wrought material.
  • Metallography – to validate that the metallurgical grain structure of the parts are as expected.
  • Tensile and non-destructive testing (NDT) – to further validate the metallurgical integrity of the part.

Bodycote, the world’s leading provider of heat treatment and specialist thermal processing services, has established strategically located additive manufacturing (AM) service centres in North America and Europe that are fully capable of providing all post-build treatments for a comprehensive service solution. Our complete service model will ensure the most cost-effective and time saving option for 3D printed metal parts with optimised mechanical properties.

Contact us at additiveMFG@bodycote.com for more details.

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