One advanced approach in the world of 3D printing is the automation of the process flow. Especially in Germany, where precision and efficiency play central roles in production, this approach is becoming increasingly popular. An example of this is the investment by Germany’s largest full-service powder bed fusion (PBF) 3D printing service provider, FKM, in technology from Dimensionics Density, a pioneer in automated density determination technology.
Automating the 3D printing process has the potential to increase efficiency, consistency and scalability. From part design optimization to slicing, material handling, printing, post-processing and validation, the use of automated technologies can streamline the entire workflow. This means fewer human errors, faster production, higher precision and consistent quality control. It also lowers production costs, making 3D printing more attractive to a broader range of industries.
Philipp Pruesse, Head of Sales at Dimensionics Density, says, “FKM’s investment in our density determination technology shows that leading players in the AM sector recognise the disruptive nature of our solution when it comes to quality control in real AM production environments. For AM to continue to disrupt the manufacturing paradigm, the entire AM process chain needs to move towards automation. Because of this, our density determination solutions are fully automated, and of vital importance, are designed to be used in busy production settings, not just in the laboratory. As we all know, AM stimulates design freedom as it is agnostic to part complexity. As geometric complexity increases, density determination of AM parts becomes more difficult using commonly used density determination technologies. Dimensionics Density’s solutions can easily determine the density of freeform parts and highly complex AM parts in production settings and can measure density repeatably to 0.001 g/cm3.”
Stefan Behlert, Head of Quality at FKM says, “As more and more of our customers look to AM as a production technology, it is increasingly important for us to optimise an array of strict quality control processes, giving confidence in outcomes, and therefore cementing customer relationships. Considering the large number of build jobs and parts that we are producing every day, the need arises for a speedy and precise non-destructive density determination testing technology for AM. After studying the report on measurement methods for density determination in AM which was conducted by the Fraunhofer IAPT in Hamburg, we decided to assess Dimensionics Density’s technology. In order to verify the technology, Dimensionics Density offered free testing of samples and the calculation of an ROI according to the number of samples FKM aims to measure each year. Both delivered convincing results which led to an order of one machine for the quality laboratory at FKM.”
For FKM, Dimensionics Density’s fast and accurate density determination technology was convincing after a thorough review. The company now offers density measurement not only for cubes, but also for tension rods and other finished products.
Automation of the 3D printing process, particularly density measurement, offers significant advantages for the use of 3D printing technology in production. Companies like FKM that invest in such technologies are positioning themselves at the
Pruesse concludes, “Automatic density determination of AM parts offers significant benefits to the utilization of 3D printing as a production technology as FKM has recognised. Our ground-breaking technology enables companies to validate significant volumes of production parts manufactured through AM by providing rapid and non-destructive quality assessment. By automating the measurement of part density, companies like FKM can ensure consistent material properties, identify defects or inconsistencies early in the production process, and maintain stringent quality standards. This capability not only reduces the need for manual inspection and testing but also enhances the reliability and confidence in using AM for volume production, ultimately accelerating time-to-market and optimizing overall manufacturing efficiency which as a company is our ultimate goal.”