​Optical monitoring of laser blown powder Directed Energy Deposition
​Image credit: Antonio Ancona, University West​

Quality assurance and control in additive manufacturing

We develop guidelines on how to perform inspections to assess the geometry of additive manufactured (AM) parts, as well as innovative non-destructive evaluation techniques. Robust in-line process monitoring systems will also be developed aiming to detect in real time defects, understand what can be influencing the process quality and, in the future, set up appropriate control actions to avoid  defects into built components.   

Manufacturing separately customized single parts with reasonable costs is one of the main advantages of AM technologies, which promises to revolutionize the manufacturing industry. However, this poses the challenge of assuring the quality and consistency of each single piece. 

This requires very stable and controlled fabrication process conditions in combination with the steady raw material properties during the whole build process of the component. With this perspective, post-process inspection, non-destructive evaluation and on-line AM process monitoring and control are of crucial importance.

Four initiatives

​In each research area there are specific ongoing initiatives. In this area, there are four:​
  1. Tolerancing and inspection of metal AM parts
    The objective is to create guidelines for industry on how to work with tolerancing of metal AM parts as well as on how to perform inspection regarding both geometrical dimensions and surface topography.
  2. Non-destructive evaluation of built structures
    The focus is on the selection and effective implementation in industrial scenarios of NDE technologies among acoustic, ultrasonic, radiography, shearography (with capability for through thickness discrimination) and visual, eddy current, magnetic, penetrant and thermography (typically limited to surface operation).  
  3. In-line Process Monitoring for Direct Metal Deposition 
    The aim is to develop robust and high precision in-line detection methods enabling to detect in real time defects and eventually abort the process thus leading to direct material, energy and valuable machine time savings. This is also a fundamental step for future development of in situ feedback control systems. 
  4. Tailored heat treatment to optimize AM materials properties
    Starting with a critical evaluation of the different state-of-the-art process control systems, the aim is to develop robust process monitoring system for the powder bed AM processes. This will require in particular development of the feedback and control of AM systems, in-situ monitoring and control methods and systems as well as inspection data analysis algorithm for efficient data analysis. 

Research Area Leaders

Prof. Antonio Ancona​, University West and M.Sc. Lars Östergren, GKN Aerospace

Researchers involved

Oskar Tofeldt, Post-doctoral researcher, University West
Assoc. Prof. Anna-Karin Christiansson, University West
Dr. Fredrik Sikström, researcher, University West
Mattias Ottosson, Research Engineer, University West
Agnieszka Kisielewicz, PhD student, University West
Morgan Nilsen, PhD stundet, University West
Prof. Eduard Hryha, Chalmers
Prof. Rikard Söderberg, Chalmers
Dr Johan Berglund, researcher from Swerea

Partners involved

Chalmers, FCC, Swerea IVF, University West, Linköping University, Alfa Laval, Arcam, Atlas Copco, GKN Aerospace, Höganäs, SAAB, Sandvik, Siemens ITAB, Volvo Car Corporation, Volvo GTO, AGA Gas, Carl Zeiss, Quintus Technologies, RZ Riboverken, AIM Sweden, Brogrens Industries, Cascade Control, Lasertech LSHAB, Modul System, Ortoma, Permanova Lasersystem, Tooltec.


Published: Mon 12 Feb 2018. Modified: Thu 15 Mar 2018