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Metal Powder Bed Fusion

Products for medical implants and aerospace components are two of the applications of powder bed fusion additive manufacturing. A proposed new ASTM standard, WK46188, Practice for Metal Powder Bed Fusion to Meet Rigid Quality Requirements, describes the operation and production control of powder bed fusion machines and processes to meet rigid quality standards.

According to Shane Collins, ASTM member and director, program management, Incodema3d LLC, WK46188 will enhance the safety of additively manufactured parts across a variety of industries. The proposed new standard has been accepted as a Joint Group project per the Partner Standards Development Organization cooperation agreement between ASTM International Committee F42 on Additive Manufacturing and ISO TC261 on Additive Manufacturing.

“Additive manufacturing is based on the capabilities of the machines used in the process,” says Collins. “The machines have been historically designed for the rapid prototyping industry, and we are taking those same machines and now asking them to make safety critical components. WK46188 will illustrate what the critical parameters for successful powder bed fusion are, how to determine the upper and lower limits of the process and ensure all components are exactly the same.”

The proposed standard’s requirements will be applicable for production components and mechanical test specimens using powder bed fusion with both laser and electron beams.

“Even though the advantages of powder bed fusion are enormous, the process depends on expensive machines and, therefore, the components produced are high value at a high price,” says Collins. “The typical applications are for patient-specific implants and relatively low volume aerospace and defense related components.” According to Collins, lower airfares and reduced greenhouse gas emissions are potential benefits enabled by the use of airplane components created through powder bed fusion.

Collins notes that primary users of WK46188, once it has been approved, will be tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers that are setting up a powder bed fusion facility or engineers of original equipment manufacturers that will use WK46188 as a guide for writing internal standards.

WK46188 is being developed by Subcommittee F42.05 on Materials and Processes, part of ASTM International Committee F42 on Additive Manufacturing Technologies. Collins notes that F42.05 invites all interested parties to join in the development of WK46188 and other proposed standards.

CONTACT Technical Information: Shane Collins, Incodema3D LLC • Ithaca, N.Y. • Phone: 805-427-0019 | ASTM Staff: Pat Picariello • Phone: 610-832-9720 | Upcoming Meeting: Jan. 26-27, 2015 • ASTM International Headquarters, West Conshohocken, Pa.

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.