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CONCEPT Laser GmbH

QM Meltpool 3D involves meltpool monitoring that detects the crucial stage in the LaserCUSING® process with a photodiode and a camera.

The photodiode records the meltpool emissions that are produced during the melting process in the infrared range. With an observation area of 4 cm2 , the photodiode shows the irregularities in the melting process and thus determines the meltpool intensity. The camera detects areas of 1 mm2 and allows a detailed view of the meltpool area. This feature is particularly crucial for ascertaining the quality of the part. 

The data from QM Meltpool 3D is available immediately after the build process. Using software that is also used in computed tomography, it is now possible to generate a 3-dimensional or 2-dimensional image of the part. This means it is possible to analyze the component in automated fashion with the aid of software. The coaxially arranged detectors of the camera and photodiode enable a high resolution of 35 µm. This was recognized with the International Additive Manufacturing Award 2016.

QM Meltpool 3D is used primarily in industries with high quality requirements such as the medical or aviation industries. The in-situ real-time process monitoring system allows downstream process controls to be minimized.

The LaserCUSING® technology is increasingly used in serial production. Process monitoring is thus an ever more important part of the all-inclusive quality management. Concept Laser therefore commissioned Fraunhofer IWU with a study in the patented quality management tool for process monitoring QM Meltpool 3D in 2016. In this study, the in-process image data of the QM Meltpool 3D were compared to CT inspection data for diverse materials. The results are completely positive.

      

 
QM Meltpool 3D

 

 

 

 

QM Coating regulates the dose factor of the metal powder during the build process and monitors its even distribution over the build surface. It is integrated into the LaserCUSING® process.

A high-resolution camera uses a flash to take a picture of the build surface before and after the layer application.  An intelligent algorithm calculates a difference image from the recorded data. The analyzer then decides whether the powder application was sufficient, the powder dose factor needs to be increased, reduced or renewed coatings need to be carried out. 

The melted surface of many parts varies over the build process. For this reason, the amount of powder required for complete coating must be adjusted. QM Coating calculates the optimum setting at all times during the process.

QM Live View documents the entire build process as a video. For this purpose, another high-resolution camera is attached to the process chamber. Remote access enables the build process to be observed from a desk in an office.

QM Fiber Power* monitors the laser source in the LaserCUSING® process and provides information about its power output. If discrepancies occur, they are transmitted directly to the machine software. The data which is recorded can then be output to the machine operator in a log.

The laser source is one of the costliest components in a LaserCUSING® machine. QM Fiber power ensures that the performance is constantly monitored and possible servicing can be arranged promptly. This prevents any failures and increases the general quality of the process and parts.

*only for single-laser machine solutions available

 

 

QM Cusing Power is the perfect addition to QM Fiber Power and uses a separate measuring device to record the laser power directly on the build area. This can be performed as often as you wish before and after the process.

 

The correct energy input in the form of the required laser power is the key criterion for ensuring high part quality and low porosity. The power measurement takes place at the end of the optical path with QM Cusing Power. All factors that interfere with the laser power are recorded.

 

 
QM Cusing Power

QM Atmosphere monitors the oxygen concentration in the process chamber and continuously analyzes the filter status.  For safety reasons, the basic equipment in the machine always includes several oxygen sensors that monitor the process gas circulation.  QM Atmosphere allows accurate measurements down to the low ppm range.

The aim of QM Atmosphere is to ensure optimum part quality without trapping oxygen and enable safe handling of reactive materials.

 

QM Powder is firstly a separate sieving station which is used to prepare the powder under an inert gas atmosphere. Secondly, it is also understood to include the powder engineering that is performed by Concept Laser.  

In the LaserCUSING® process metal powder is the crucial raw ingredient for all parts. This is why it is particularly vital to monitor the quality and maintain the quality of the powder. The first step in the quality assurance chain is checking of the powder material. Among other things, the particle size and chemical compositions are analyzed here. In addition, investigations into durability and effects of storage are performed.

The second step is to prepare the powder using an external sieving station under an inert gas atmosphere in order to enable consistent powder quality. The powder sieving station meets all safety requirements and is easy to operate.

 

QM Documentation is implemented within the CL WRX Control 2.0 machine software and collects all of the sensor data in one log. This is prepared and reproduced in a clear format. For the user, clear evaluation of the build process is particularly important. In addition, QM Documentation provides interfaces to common spreadsheet software and enables the automatic creation of diagrams. In total, the software logs 15 different sources in the build process.