Active quality assurance is one of the most important requirements of additive production users. Monitoring the key data of a laser melting system regarding oxygen content, temperature, laser output and powder quality is part and parcel of the standards nowadays. However, a comprehensive statement about the quality of the part cannot be made simply on the basis of these machine parameters. Using in-situ process monitoring systems based on an on-axis system, however, it is possible to obtain information about defects during the build process. Concept Laser, a pioneer of LaserCUSING, now presents a tool for position-related real-time monitoring and three-dimensional visualization. The next quality level with QMmeltpool 3D will be available from 2016 onwards for the M1 cusing and M2 cusing machines.
In-situ process monitoring is one of the strategic technology areas of Concept Laser, and is one which the machine manufacturer is now expanding to include the QMmeltpool 3D for three-dimensional real-time monitoring. The LaserCUSING process is a highly dynamic one because of the high scanning speeds and significant laser outputs; it is influenced by a wide variety of process factors. In challenging areas such as medical technology, automotive as well as aerospace, the safety requirements are strict and high quality is a prerequisite. QMmeltpool 3D supplies quality-relevant data in real time for process monitoring and documentation. The system records position-related characteristics of the melt pool while the component is being built up (Figure 3). This data can be visualized in a three-dimensional landscape, and analyzed by the user. According to information from the manufacturer, the analytical tool is comparable to the HD resolution achieved by computer tomography (CT).
Image credit: Concept Laser