A new consortium spearheaded by manufacturing software firm Dyndrite and metal AM materials manufacturers Constellium, Elementum 3D and Sandvik aims to make material and process parameter data more accessible to users of laser powder bed fusion (LPBF). The initiative is said to be the first industry-led Materials Consortium focused on additive manufacturing.
The ultimate aim of the new consortium is to establish greater transparency for users of metal LPBF and to encourage standardization, particularly for commonly used metal powders. This will be achieved by making powder parameters and testing data for a selection of the consortium members’ most popular metal materials available for free. Having this data publicly accessible is expected to break down adoption barriers and help promote innovation in metal AM applications.
“Materials are a key pillar of additive manufacturing,” commented Harshil Goel, CEO of Dyndrite, a company that has developed a GPU-accelerated computation engine for digital manufacturing. “Unfortunately, maximizing the capabilities of a material, especially as it relates to the geometry being printed, is a black art within our industry. If additive is to become a mainstream manufacturing process, users require transparency and standardization. Public access to a set of trusted, democratized parameters shines a light on the path of adoption.”
Access to material and process data remains a challenge in the additive manufacturing industry. End users, especially those in demanding industries, not only require in-depth knowledge of the metal powders they are using, but they often benefit from being able to adapt materials to specific applications using different process parameters. As the consortium members say, the data they will be releasing could give these adopters a bit of a boost, saving them time and resources.
“This effort is designed to grow our industry by giving innovators a solid head start for realizing their innovations,” said Dr. Jeremy Iten, CTO of Elementum 3D, which produces a range of metal powders for additive manufacturing. Sandvik Head of Additive Manufacturing Andrew Coleman echoed the sentiment, saying: “We look forward to working with Dyndrite, Constellium and Elementum 3D to increase users’ access to the knowledge that unlocks the full potential of AM materials. A rising tide lifts all boats, and we are excited to be a founding member of a group determined to help users, machine vendors, and material suppliers.”
The members of the Material Consortium will work together to test and publish parameter data related to their metal AM powders. This will be enabled by Dyndrite’s new materials and process development software for LPBF, through which laser and material parameters can be optimized to increase production rates or overcome design limitations like overhangs. The LPBF tools were developed to speed up materials parameter development for multiple metal AM systems, including those from EOS, Aconity3D, SLM Solutions, Renishaw, and more.
“The Materials Consortium will make it easier for our customers to benefit from our high performance materials designed specifically for laser powder bed fusion,” said Ravi Shahani, Chief Engineer, Constellium Additive Manufacturing. “Customers will quickly achieve predictable, robust properties, precise geometries, better surface quality, simplified post-processing and optimized print cycle times.”