Phase3D announces breakthrough in metal additive build quality

Metal 3D printing process monitoring developed for United States Air Force and NASA.

Phase3Dhas announced that it is the first company to correlate measurable metal powder bed fusion build anomalies to final part defects in real-time. This work was done for the United States Air Force and NASA, validated with two materials on two different laser powder bed fusion (PBF) machines.

Phase3D has worked closely with the U.S. Air Force and NASA to develop Fringe Research, an in-situ monitoring product which measures each layer of a powder-based AM build. The system is designed to automatically identify anomalies to help improve the AM process. Notably, Fringe Research does not use artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) to create measurements or identify anomalies.

Phase3D claims that its experience with repeatable, calibratable and unit-based measurements and analytics has enabled it to measure anomalies during the build that lead to porosity, a major cause of part rejection for the U.S. Air Force and NASA. Fringe Research can be used on most powder-based AM systems and employs structured light to create the measurements used for this correlation.

Phase3D printed with Ti64 for the U.S. Air Force and GRCop-42 for NASA to determine the effect of detectable build variation on part quality. The builds included an anomaly generator, designed to create realistic, geometry-based powder and melted anomalies, including hops and streaks patterns seen in most AM builds.

While measuring the build, Fringe Research automatically identified hops and streaks that were later correlated to porosity in the final part. Parts were inspected using CT scanning and correlation was done in Fringe Research and a commercial CT inspection software.

For Ti64 printed on an EOS M290 for the U.S. Air Force:

  • 81% of Fringe Research identified anomalies correlated to part defects detected by CT
  • 100% of Fringe Research identified anomalies ≥47um depressions correlated to defects detected by CT

For GRCop-64 on a Colibrium Additive (previously GE Additive) M2 for NASA:

  • 83% of test specimen identified defects were correlated to layers with Fringe Research identified anomalies
  • 100% of Fringe Research identified anomalies ≥42um depressions correlated to defects detected by CT

“Our customers continue to request objective data that can identify part defects when they occur,” said Niall O’Dowd, founder and CEO of Phase3D, in a press release. “With the data Fringe Research collects, we predict our aerospace customers will be able to increase machine throughput by more than 10% every year by stopping parts that will fail inspection early.”

Phase3D will be showcasing the correlation data for the U.S. Air Force and NASA during RAPID + TCT 2024 in Los Angeles, California from June 25-27, 2024 in Booth #1063.