Quality assurance in laser beam welding of additively manufactured thermoplastic components

Theme Additive Manufacturing
Project title Quality assurance in laser beam welding of additively manufactured thermoplastic components (QualLa)
Project duration 01.01.2021 – 31.12.2022
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Press release

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is a subfield of additive manufacturing that can be used to produce components from thermoplastics. The method is particularly suitable for prototyping, the production of small batches and for personalized products. In contrast to conventional methods like injection molding, there is no requirement for upstream processes such as the production of tools. Larger and more complex assemblies result in the need to join additively manufactured components. A flexible and industrially established joining process for thermoplastics is through transmission laser welding. In practice, the laser process needs to be individually adapted to the component shape, the transmission behavior and the melting point of the respective plastic.

The way in which components manufactured using FDM are built up layer by layer results in local changes in the transmission of the laser through the transparent joining partner. As a result, the joining process must be controlled locally depending on the degree of transmission.

The objective of the QualLa research project is to develop a procedure that enables through transmission laser welding of components manufactured by FDM. Building up process knowledge can be a challenge for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) due to financial and personnel limitations. For this reason, an expert system is to be developed for process support as part of the project. The expert system is intended to capture the necessary expertise to allow quality-assured use, so that the employees of SMEs can use the technology without complete knowledge of the process technology.

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  • 23.03.2021
  • Online-Meeting

Publications about the project

How can additively manufactured components be laser welded? Their layered structure makes the welding process more complicated than for conventionally produced parts. IPH and LZH are jointly researching how components can nevertheless be joined in a quality-assured manner.

Additive manufacturing, 3D printing, laser transmission welding, joining, quality

In order to enable even complex processes such as the joining of additively manufactured components by laser in production in a quality-assured way, the existence of specialist knowledge in companies is absolutely essential. To bundle this knowledge for process control and monitoring independently of personnel, an expert system is being developed in the IGF research project of FQS - Forschungsgemeinschaft Qualität e.V. entitled "Quality assurance in laser beam welding of additively manufactured thermoplastic components (QualLa)". By integrating specialist knowledge into the expert system, this knowledge can be secured in companies in the long term and processes can continuously be carried out with high qualitative standards.

additive manufacturing, 3D printing, FDM, laser transmission welding, laser beam welding

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Sponsor

The IGF project 21571 N/2 of the Research Association Quality (FQS) is funded via the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF) in the programme of Industrial Collective Research (IGF) by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) based on a decision of the German Bundestag.

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