Economic validation of metal powder bed based AM processes

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Insinööritieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
Production Engineering
Degree programme
Master’s Programme in Mechanical Engineering
This master thesis focused on current metal-based Additive Manufacturing (AM) systems in terms of cost and feasibility by developing a metal-based AM decision support tool. In addition, the main differences between laser-beam (DMLM) and electron-beam (EBM) based systems have been investigated. Initially, main principles in AM and powder bed fusion (PBF) are presented. Moreover, DMLM and EBM based systems are compared in terms of performance characteristics, such as build size, beam power as well as beam spot size. Subsequently, existing AM classification schemes are shown and resulting research gaps are outlined. Secondly, a cost and time decision support system based on ”MathWorks Matlab” has been developed to provide a comparison of two metal-based AM machines simultaneously. In total, 9 different machines (i.e. EOS, SLM and Arcam), 3 different material types (i.e. aluminum, tool steel and titanium alloys) and 3 different accuracy levels (i.e. high, low, and skin-core) can be chosen as input parameters. Therefore, build volume rates of machines in the range of 50 to 3000 W were calculated and implemented into the model. As an output of the model, the decision maker receives information, such as cost per part, total cost comparison and a build time evaluation for the selected machines, materials and accuracy level. This information allows to select which machine the best choice is for the user’s specific interests. To conclude, several experiments including a sensitivity analysis for mass and building height, followed by a skin-core analysis (novel AM production method), an exemplary comparison of DMLM and EBM machines and a random test on all implemented machines and five exemplary parts showing differences in volume and size were performed. Moreover, the Design of Experiments is finished with a Taguchi L-18 orthogonal array test, leading to main effects and influences on several parameters on costs and build time.
Partanen, Jouni
Thesis advisor
Flores, Inigo
additive manufacturing, powder bed fusion, direct metal laser melting, decision making tool
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