The increased design freedom and potential to reduce manufacturing time has made additive manufacturing (AM) technology an area of great interest to industry. However, there is relatively little data about the properties and potential service performance of AM materials.
TWI launches collaborative project to spread the use of additive manufacturing
This has created a need to generate information to allow compliance with regulations and codes such as ASME, API and PED. As a result, TWI Ltd has embarked on a joint industry project alongside Lloyd’s Register, AECC BIAM, AVIC MTI, Chevron, and Sellafield with a view to introducing new data and guidance.
With years of experience in AM technologies, TWI is leading the additive manufacturing aspect of the project, including the process development, materials characterisation, testing and inspection. The project aims to improve AM knowledge and allow for the widespread adoption of the process within key industries.
Lloyd’s Register will also assist on the project by providing third-party inspection and validation of the design, facilities, manufacturing methods and testing programme defined by the sponsor group. They will also offer an additional link to TWI for relevant Standard organisations and committees, which are required to ensure a real-world focus on safety, quality, and compliance.
The project will see an investigation into the deposition of 316L stainless steel through selective laser melting (SLM) and wire plus arc additive manufacturing (WAAM). This will allow for the production of a database detailing the material properties including and tensile strength, fracture toughness and corrosion resistance of 316L when manufactured by these AM processes. The project will target achieving acceptance of AM deposited 316L in Standards selected by the sponsor companies where possible and identification of the ‘path to acceptance’ in other cases.
Where additive manufacturing has previously been used primarily for rapid prototyping and non-critical service components, it is hoped that this project will create a path for AM material to be fit-for-use for final components.
The benefits of this include increased design freedom, reduced material cost and lead time, security of supply, greater manufacturing flexibility, and the manufacture of legacy spares, plant and critical engineering structures and a multi-material capability for functionally tailored properties.
By showing that adequate material properties can be reliably obtained through AM, the process will be able to be used for critical applications in line with the relevant Codes and Standards.
This ground-breaking work aims to allow for the increased, reliable use of additive manufactured components in a variety of industries.
Image: Microstructure of 316L stainless steel deposited by SLM.
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TWI is a world leading research and technology organisation with a focus on materials, engineering and manufacturing.