Melt Pool Metallurgy Real-time Monitoring

Sigma Labs to introduce PrintRite3D Inspect 2.0 In-process Quality Assurance software

There is outstanding promise for additive manufacturing (AM) for critical metal parts in the aerospace, medical, automotive as well as other industries. However, basic challenges involving quality and geometry exist that threaten to hold back growth and cost-effectiveness.

In-Process Quality Assurance (IPQA) developed by Sigma Labs Inc., is a methodology for process control and quality assurance that addresses these concerns. In contrast to post-process quality assurance, IPQA is designed to measure the attributes of the AM process in real time or near-real time; it also incorporates the ability to sense process variations that may lead to defects.

Sigma Labs says, it has developed its IPQA technology into a breakthrough hardware and software suite of products for AM known as PrintRite3D, which enables serial production for metal AM technology to be realized sooner than would otherwise be possible. PrintRite3D comprises a suite of software applications that address the three fundamental problems facing metal AM today: assuring the metal integrity or quality of the product; assuring the as-built geometry of the product; and increasing the productivity or speed of the AM process.

At formnext 2017 in November, Sigma Labs will introduce its next generation PrintRite3D Inspect 2.0 In-process Quality Assurance software for melt pool metallurgy real-time monitoring. The PrintRite3D Inspect 2.0 software app for inspection of metallurgical properties processes raw data collected by the temperature and spectral sensors of the AM melt pool thermal history. Sigma Labs’ proprietary software algorithms extract the relevant feature data of the melt pool, make reference comparisons to a known good baseline thermal cycle, and generates a layer-by-layer and part-by-part quality metric by which product acceptance decision can be made.

This latest Inspect 2.0 software release includes new and enhanced features and functionality for process improvement and part validation. The new Scanviewer provides layer-by-layer 2D visualization displaying nominal and suspect regions. New feature data plots include melt pool heating rates, cooling rates and peak temperatures. Location mapping for Part-by-Part discrimination of off nominal process conditions with 2D and 3D imaging provide for production process optimization and anomaly detection.

The new software is web-based and designed to reside in the Cloud of the Industrial Internet of Things (‘IIoT’), enabling customers to assure product quality layer-by-layer and part-by-part on a real-time basis while providing for statistical process control. When combined with PrintRite3D Analytics the software can harvest, aggregate, and analyze 'Big Data' from in-process results as well as post-process, which ultimately allows our customers to achieve rapid process qualification and part certification.

Data reporting and analysis functions from the PrintRite3D operating software application provides for real-time layer-by-layer monitoring as well as end of job master report generation. Raw data waves forms is graphical format, individual feature data plots and layer by layer quality metrics can be view real time during the build cycle.

Monitoring of these real time reporting functions allows users the ability to make in process decision about part quality such as build interaction to stop or adjust and prevent a failing build. We believe that our latest software will help manufacturing companies speed their adoption of AM and expand 3D printing commercialization.

Sigma Labs at formnext 2017:

  • Hall 3.0 - Booth F51