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Achieving Code Compliance in Additive Manufacturing

Tue, 20 October, 2020

As part of the joint industry project, ‘Achieving Regulatory and Code Compliance for Additively Manufactured Materials,’ TWI’s DED-Arc facility has been qualified by Lloyd’s Register. The three-year project is sponsored by AECC BIAM (Aerospace), AVIC MTI (Aerospace), Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Petrobras, Sellafield and Sulzer as part of TWI’s core research programme.

While additive manufacturing (AM) processes offer numerous benefits for the design and manufacture of components, there is still a need to fully understand the material properties when produced by different processes and when used in different operating conditions, including strength, corrosion resistance, fracture toughness, creep and fatigue. The project is investigating methodologies for the potential acceptance of AM materials to industry standards, including facilities, procedures and methods, as well as inspection and testing.

The project focuses on the compliance of stainless steel 316L deposited by powder bed fusion (PBF) and directed energy deposition (DED) AM processes, including powder bed fusion – laser beam  (PBF-LB), laser metal deposition (LMD or DED-LB) and wire plus arc additive manufacturing (WAAM or DED-arc) with selected industrial standards.

As part of the programme, each sponsor submitted a standard for which a path to acceptance and a test programme was defined. The requirements from each submitted standard were captured, which provided the design inputs that enabled the inspection and test plans and build layouts to be produced. Audits of TWI’s DED-arc and L-PBF facilities were performed by Lloyd’s Register prior to manufacture. The test pieces were non-destructively and destructively tested to generate the data against which the materials were assessed for compliance with acceptance criteria from the selected standards.

TWI’s DED-Arc facility has passed the Lloyd’s Register AM Facility Audit, becoming the second of TWI’s AM facilities to do so following the successful qualification of the PBF-LB facility earlier this year. These qualifications demonstrate competence across the full AM process, including design data development and control; material feedstock receipt, storage and handling; personnel competence; health and safety; control of the AM build process and associated variables; post-processing, including thermal treatments; inspection and testing of AM materials with subsequent analysis of the results; effective procedures for corrective and preventative actions, and the control of non-conforming items. TWI is the first DED-Arc facility in the UK and Europe to pass Lloyd’s Register’s AM facility audit.

The project has produced an AM standards assessment and material property data relevant for 316L stainless steel, including mechanical and corrosion properties as function of the AM deposition process, orientation, position in build and build thickness.

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