Metal AM Autumn 2021

Page 201

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CT for predictive model-based qualification

How X-ray Computed Tomography is helping an AM service bureau to improve predictive-model based qualification As metal Additive Manufacturing continues to grow as a technology for the production of critical end-use parts for the most demanding of applications, X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) remains an unrivalled non-destructive testing tool. In this article, Yxlon's Nathan Serafino and Dirk Steiner report on how Materials Resources LLC, an additive metals research and manufacturing company, defence contractor, and 'fast factory', is going a step further, using the technology to improve predictive-model based qualification processes as well as to calibrate in-process monitoring.

Interest in Additive Manufacturing is building rapidly. The technology is appealing because high-value, lowquantity parts can be made quickly and cost-effectively without the need for tooling. It offers another benefit in the potential for weight reduction by producing complex designs not attainable with conventional manufacturing. The challenge for manufacturers is knowing whether a cast or forged metal part will perform equally well – or better – if it is additively manufactured. This is particularly important to designers in the aerospace and defence industries, where a part failure may have catastrophic consequences. Additionally, as the automotive industry changes from internal combustion engine (ICE)powered vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs), the need for lightweight AM parts is rapidly increasing. Materials Resources LLC (MRL), an additive metals research and manufacturing company and defence contractor in Dayton, Ohio, USA, answers this question for its customers using testing, computer modelling, artificial intelligence,

Vol. 7 No. 3 © 2021 Inovar Communications Ltd

and optimised AM machines. In addition to its consulting work, MRL describes itself as a 'fast factory', offering customers rapid, low-volume AM production and prototyping in-house. MRL continually improves its understanding of materials and Additive Manufacturing processes,

with the goal of providing accurate, predictive-model based qualification. To predict the fatigue behaviour and strength of a material, MRL researchers needed to see inside additively manufactured sample parts. They needed a Computed Tomography (CT) system – and didn’t have one.

Fig. 1 Ayman Salem, PhD, founder of MRL, shown with the company's Yxlon FF35 CT high-resolution CT system, used for non-destructive testing of additively manufactured materials

Metal Additive Manufacturing | Autumn 2021