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Innovative inspection techniques for laser powder deposition quality control (INTRAPID)
Start date: Sep 1, 2011, End date: Aug 31, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Laser Powder Deposition is a recently developed technology for manufacture of small intricate metal parts such as thoseused in aerospace and automobile engines. This technology has significant potential advantages over conventionalcasting methods in that small parts with internal features can be built, enabling special processes and light structures to beconstructed.The powder deposition process works by melting a layer of powder in a pattern determined by the path of a laser. The layersare either 500 μm or 20-50 μm thick depending on the process used.To take full advantage of the intricacy of form enabled by these additive technology approaches in these applicationscommensurate non-destructive inspection capability is needed which can support the cycle times needed in Rapid Agilemanufacture of high performance, high loading efficiency structures. This requires an inspection process capable of handlingthe complex evolving forms, in cycle with a processing environment with a feature resolution on a scale relevant to thecomponent structural elements. This project aims to address this problem and provide non-destructive testing techniques withknown capabilities for the process.Objectives:• To provide inspection methods for the laser powder deposition process with known capability.• To manufacture a prototype laser powder deposition manufacturing system with known inspection capabilities and todemonstrate these capabilities.Candidate inspection technologies have been identified that have potential to provide the inspection capability. Note thatthese will probably need to be robotically deployed and remotely operated within the laser cell between the deposition of eachlayer.Eddy current, ultrasound signals generated by lasers, thermal patterns and optical methods for surface distortionmeasurement technologies will be evaluated, developed and the performance established for the range of defects and sizesrequired."

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