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Formnext2023: Renishaw TEMPUS speeds up additive manufacturing...

08 Nov 2023

...and Fraunhofer ILT reduces the energy footprint of laser metal deposition.

Renishaw has developed a new control technology for its additive manufacturing (AM) platforms, aimed at speeding up the production of items made via AM methods.

Christened TEMPUS and unveiled at Frankfurt's Formnext2023 AM conference, the technology is now to be fitted as standard on Renishaw's latest RenAM 500 Ultra platform.

TEMPUS is intended to tackle what Renishaw frames as a challenge still facing AM methods in industrial production: the overall productivity of the process and the rate of component manufacture.

"While traditional powder bed systems require the powder recoater to fully distribute powder before the layer can be consolidated, with TEMPUS technology the lasers can fire at the same time as the recoater is moving," commented the company.

"The patented technology employs seamless communication between advanced software and hardware components to synchronize the system lasers with the powder recoater, removing up to nine seconds of build time from every layer."

Since AM builds can frequently contain thousands of layers, the overall reduction in build time can equate to tens of hours without any reduction in part quality, according to Renishaw. These time and cost savings will open AM up to mass production applications where the technology would previously not have been viable.

"Reducing cost per part is critical to the wider adoption of AM technology," said Louise Callanan, Director of Additive Manufacturing at Renishaw. "The dominant contributing factor to part cost for most components today is the time spent building the part on the machine itself. Reducing the amount of machine time per part therefore results in more cost-effective production."

Fraunhofer develops AI control of laser parameters

Also at Formnext2023, Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (Fraunhofer ILT) displayed the latest versions of its extreme high-speed laser application (EHLA) process, developed to improve upon conventional laser metal deposition (LMD) operations.

EHLA uses a modified powder feed arrangement to create a shallower and more quickly solidifying melt pool under the action of a laser, reducing the amount of heat reaching the bulk of the component being created.

Fraunhofer ILT has now combined its EHLA coating process with a simultaneous subtractive finishing step for Simultaneous Machining and Coating (SMaC), offering an additional reduction in the energy footprint of the overall operation.

"The technology is based on tripod parallel kinematics, which allows us to move either the component platform or the machining head very quickly," commented Fraunhofer ILT's Min-Uh Ko. "The high relative speeds required can either be achieved by highly dynamic movement of the component platform or the machining head."

Fraunhofer ILT will also demonstrate work on an AI model able to learn the relationships between laser power, geometry and other influencing factors dependent on the component and the size of the melt pool surface. Controlling these parameters has previously needed time-consuming process development steps, particularly for complex geometrical shapes.

After training with process parameters from a LMD operation, the AI model should be able to predict the required laser power to ensure a stable process without the need for extensive recalculation when a component's geometry changes.

“The effort required for process development in LMD can be significantly reduced by using the AI-model," noted Max Gero Zimmermann of Fraunhofer ILT.

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