R&D Foundations

Training seminar exploring core R&D principles and practices in AM

Based on extensive experience implementing AM process and capability solutions for clients, we developed and teach a comprehensive seminar on AM process with regards to operations, focusing on equipment required for testing and analysis, controlling for variations in process setup, data analysis in AM, interpretation of results, tracking critical to quality (CTQs) variables in R&D for various alloy classes and specific materials, and finally a development process to be followed for new materials.

R&D Foundations Overview

Maximize ROI with the right foundations across operations, technology and talent.

Whether it’s cost cutting, implementing alternative material suppliers, gaining a better understanding of the process, developing new parameters or unique applications within AM, companies need to constantly search for new value propositions for their customers. Prior to the start of this kind of development work, it is important to establish a framework for data collection and process understanding that is repeatable and scientific.

Designed for: Process, Quality, Production or Application Engineers

Format: 5-20 days (dependent on scope), 50% theory, 50% workshops

This customisable seminar can cover any number of the following topic areas:
  • Systematizing the AM development process
  • Equipment requirements for testing and analysis
  • Approaches for controlling process variability and repeatability
  • Methods and tools for data analysis and interpretation in AM
  • Design of Experiments and development process for new materials
  • Tracking critical to quality variables (CTQs) as they relate to various alloy classes as well as specific materials
R&D Foundations Seminar Modules

Data flow in AM to ensure quality and repeatability in serial production

Software in the AM environment is a critical part of the process chain, not only for part accuracy, but also the final part quality. This portion of the training reviews the software process flow in order to demonstrate customers the effects that individual data handling steps can have on the part quality and R&D setup, including parameter manipulation, effects of various support strategies as well as interaction with downstream steps such as metrology and post-processing.

Critical powder properties and handling procedures significantly affect final part quality

Powder handling

Depending on the working alloy, powder properties are sensitive to different environmental and handling conditions, sometimes requiring a near clean-room environment (Class 10,000). In order to understand how to set up a powder handling system and procedures, we review best practices in the industry so that powder usage is maximized while avoiding contamination. Many practices for powders are alloy-specific and are reviewed in a case-study form.

Powder Quality Control (QC)

Quality Assurance (QA) is different from QC in that it is a proactive process rather than a reactive process. Once correct powder handling procedures are in place, QA is no longer necessary as long as individual customer requirements are in place. However, because various customers require different levels of QA, it is significantly cheaper and more important to ensure that QC procedures fulfil internal specifications and requirements that can be fulfilled through significantly cheaper alternatives. We review these material specific methods with customers in order to enable them to deliver good quality parts while keeping resultant costs down.

Increasing uptime while reducing variability in machine preparation.

Machine preparation in AM is to-date operator-dependent and significantly different between organizations. Because it is a critical factor in obtaining good and repeatable results, we evaluate the trade offs between quality, speed and the ability to qualify given procedures for development and production work. Therefore, we share best practices in machine preparation and the effects of deviations from the baseline in order to give clients a scalable and practical guide on the production process.

Choice of testing equipment affects your research capabilities

R&D requires the right equipment to draw correct conclusions. Either special equipment is acquired or, depending on the requirements and intensity of knowledge required, outsourced. In the case of tests that are variable, expensive, and/or performed rarely, it is difficult for an organization to justify the capital expenditures necessary to have these tools in-house. Either way, procedures and knowledge have to be developed to use the equipment and analyze the results properly. This is performed by evaluating the requirements and goals of the customer to evaluate the financial impact and challenges in building these capabilities will have on the organization, along with developing a roadmap and procedures for correct operation of the equipment.

Process quality control is critical for meaningful results analysis

With the unmatched process flexibility offered through additive, organizations don’t have the resources to test and understand each factor while also attempting to focus on their core business. In response to this, we review critical process variables of the manufacturing process, such as laser control, machine calibration, gas flow, filter settings, etc. and the resultant impact process stability has on development work.

Implementing an AM specific Quality Management System (QMS)

Quality is reviewed from the perspective of Additive production as well as industry-specific requirements in order to provide a reliable framework for the organization moving forward. With respect to specific industries, we support the customer on any ISO9001, AS9100 or ISO13485 requirements as they pertain to manufacturing, aerospace and medical, respectively. The final QMS layout is provided to customers at the end to integrate in their AM production and R&D work in a way that is compatible with other processes within the organization. The final QMS covers business, as well as technical topics such as the production workflow, system calibration, as well as manufacturing procedures.

Design of experiments and experimental procedures in Metal AM

With a robust QMS and an understanding of the AM process in place, we review methods of testing individual material properties in AM and general do’s and don’ts of such testing. Specifically, how to characterize a material, prepare builds for uniaxial tensile, density, porosity, surface finish, and finally fatigue tests and the theory and practical experience required behind the most versatile tests. The experiments are shown in a case-study format with specific examples to point out individual material challenges.

After performing the builds, we focus on the data analysis aspects of this work by defining with customers the acceptance and rejection criteria, as well as statistical methods necessary to properly analyze the results.

Principles, examples and the development of a new process and material

Having a foundation in the AM process and a successful lab for material and process development, we review three case studies for developing new materials, new parameters and validating a new powder source for production in highly regulated industries, such as aerospace.

Get in touch with us today to explore what the R&D Foundations seminar can do for your people and business.