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In-Situ Process Mapping using Thermal Quality Signatures™ during Additive Manufacturing with Titanium Alloy Ti-6Al-4V

Executive Summary

Sigma Labs has the solution to three additive manufacturing industry challenges to widespread adoption of the technology: certification of quality, repeatability of the process and the cost of testing said quality and repeatability. This case study outlines how Sigma’s software allows process and manufacturing engineers to collect and use quantitative process data gathered at the time of manufacture to certify their AM material quality and process of choice. Sigma’s proprietary and singular software rapidly ensures quality, reliability and repeatability.

A recent Forbes article outlined the reasons for the low adoption rates of additive manufacturing, and how they vary by industry, company size and product type. Companies now recognize the value in additive manufacturing for final production parts, especially those thought to be too complex for AM processes. Still, challenges remain that must be addressed prior to widespread adoption.

Sigma designed an experiment with three purposes:

1) Establish a material-specific process map that uses metrics gathered from its proprietary software (Thermal Quality Signatures™) and known physical property data.

2) Draw a correlation between real-time process metrics and these known physical property data.

3) Demonstrate that the software allows for the possibility of immediate intervention in the additive manufacturing process.

The results of the experiment demonstrated that, indeed, Sigma’s software solves both the quality and reliability challenges facing companies using additive manufacturing. Further, the software can be used to eliminate the traditional trial and error approach to process mapping and validation, shortening the time and reducing the cost associated with today’s “make and break” approach to certifying AM part quality by destructive testing.

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