QMT News: October 2017
Speeding up metal AM

A new technique could improve the efficiency of metal additive manufacturing and reduce waste by allowing components to be inspected during the build process. The technique, which uses laser ultrasound to detect defects, is being developed by Dr Ben Dutton from the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry. It was unveiled at the BINDT’s NDT 2017 conference in September.

The approach could encourage the use of additive manufacturing within mass manufacturing industries as it removes the need for a separate inspection process once components are built. It also responds to the need for new and improved testing techniques in view of the increased use of additive manufacturing in industries such as automotive and aerospace.

Dr Dutton, an expert in non-destructive testing, says: “Currently some additive manufacturing systems incorporate in-process monitoring but they use cameras to take snapshots of the layers as the item is being created. The problem with cameras is that each new layer of powder can conceal part of the defect. With NDT methods such as laser ultrasound, there is a certain amount of penetration so you can look below the top layer and detect sub-surface defects in a non-contact way.”
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