Laser powder bed fusion manufacturing

State-of-the-art: Laser powder bed fusion manufacturing is currently the dominating technology for metal parts fabrication using laser-based processes in additive manufacturing. Although the finishing quality of surfaces is much better than when using other AM processes, like directed energy deposition technologies (wire or powder), many applications still require further improvements of the surface quality (lower roughness). This is reached by using other post-processes like mechanical and chemical milling. While the application of mechanical milling methods (e.g. vibratory finishing, manual or CNC milling) is limited to the part geometry and features, chemical milling requires non-eco-friendly chemicals, demanding careful handling of both the etchant and waste products. In consequence, the cost of the parts is largely increased. Furthermore, in the aerospace sector also a large number of test coupons must be manufactured due to the lack of robust monitoring technologies, further increasing material usage and manufacturing costs. Also, design strategies for topology optimization do not consider the processability of surfaces by laser methods, where the applicability could be limited by non-access region to the laser beam. This should be further integrated in the optimization loop.

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