Data collected by CompoLight beneficiaries shows that the average scrap rate for geometrically complex parts is more than 30 %. The target is to bring this down below 5 %. For simple parts, the figure will be close to zero. The problem is that the number of process parameters, which can vary, is virtually unlimited, as they include traverse speed, layer thickness, powder composition and grain size, distance between pulses, laser power and refresh rate and many others, depending on the type of machinery. So, it is crucial that types of similar problems (material/geometry/surface requirement/size, etc.) are grouped together and “first time right data” recorded in a structure, which allows the user to benefit from them subsequently.
The objective of this Work Package is to develop an application software packet to optimise the processing of a metal part by RM and ensure that parts are produced in a way that they fulfil the requirements of the customer. Specifically, this means that research work will focus on simulation of the RM process in order to have a “first time right” selection of all process parameters. In addition, a number of materials will be tested and their RM – related properties found and quantified in a way that makes them suited for use as input parameters in a standard, commercially available simulation software package. The aim of this is, of course, to optimise the products to their limits and to build a basis for the exploitation of a variety of composites. This is particularly relevant here, because the RM processes – together with various sintering concepts – offer almost unlimited opportunities for optimized material selection.