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The MAESTRO machine will use a novel in-line multi-monitoring system during production in order to detect indications of defects or faults already during the built process and thus avoiding subsequent, time consuming and expensive non-destructive testing (NDT) of the parts. An on-axis meltpool monitoring system in combination with an off-axis optical tomography system will support the detection of porosities, voids, unmelted powder and other effects in the building process.
Example of otpical observation

A multi-monitoring setup

The multi-monitoring setup will incorporate signals from optical and mechanical monitoring systems in order to:
  • Enable in-line quality assurance and to support process development.
  • Realise a production quality report of the built part, including: production time, O2 level, exposure time for each layer, 3D file of each real part and further classifications to evaluate the production success. Classifications depend on occurred interruptions, detected indications and the differences to the initial CAD file.
  • Control process parameters for detected deviations from a previously built and tested nominal serial production reference job.
Quit faulty jobs in case of critical defects and thus minimizing time and cost for unusable parts. Quality criteria will be adaptable for each part, depending on e.g. position, size and criticality.Monitoring systems are mandatory in order to use additive manufacturing technologies for serial production. Part quality highly depends on the placement on the building platform, the metal powder quality (raw material), the laser intensity (also affected by dirty machine optics) and the inert gas quality. All those parameters can vary for every single part and in this case solely detected by in-line monitoring.

The MAESTRO multi-monitoring setup will consist of the following components:

Strain monitoring

Powderbed monitoring system

Image of the powder bed after each re-coating and each laser exposure. This system will give the production history to understand what happened if a problem occurs during production.

MeltPool monitoring system

On-axis detection (the detector is placed within the laser beam path) of the melt pool emission during the building process.

Optical Tomography

Off-axis detection (the detector is placed separated from the laser beam path) of the melt pool emission during the building process.

Mechanical monitoring

Strain monitoring of the building platform.