GOM Metrology

GOM Metrology

Materials Solutions: Additively Manufactured Metal Parts with Quality Guarantee

Materials Solutions: Additively Manufactured Metal Parts with Quality Guarantee

Materials Solutions, a Siemens Energy company, is a global leader in the industrial implementation of metal-based additive manufacturing. These first-class 3D-printed metal parts are as robust as those produced using any other casting or forging process. As of 2012, quality control throughout the entire process chain is supported by optical 3D metrology from ZEISS.

Industrial 3D printing with metal revolutionizes mechanical engineering

The production facility in Worcester is one of the largest sites for 3D metal printing in England. Materials Solutions produces the 3D-printed metal parts for demanding industries – from power generation to automotive, motorsports and aerospace.The Worcester site is equipped with a large number of machines for the actual 3D printing process, the finishing process, and other intermediate processes. At its heart is the EOS M 400-4 – a multi-laser metal SLM machine. Among other things, it is used to print fuel swirlers for a Siemens Energy industrial gas turbine made of INCONEL 625, a high-temperature nickel alloy. A fuel swirler is used to mix air and fuel before combustion. For the supports of the fuel swirlers, four separate lasers initially use layers that have a thickness of 80 micrometers. The ring of the part is printed from the base in layers measuring 40 micrometers in thickness. “Once the airfoils are printed, we jump back up to 80 micrometers to speed up the process and produce as efficiently and quickly as possible,” explains Matthew Hall, head of metrology at Materials Solutions. 

The fuel swirlers are printed on the EOS M 400-4 which runs 24/7. It produces 20 parts in a span of three days.
The fuel swirlers – made of INCONEL 625 – are part of a Siemens Energy industrial gas turbine.

ScanBox accelerates quality assurance 

In 2018, ScanBox was introduced to check the geometric conformity of the fuel swirlers. Materials Solutions benefits from the fact that this 3D measuring machine is a proven standard solution that is ideally suited to inspection in production. Matthew Hall adds, “The ScanBox system allows us to inspect multiple fuel swirlers simultaneously and in an automated manner. This speeds up our quality assurance process many times over.” The 3D measuring machine can be loaded without much effort using a cart loading system. The simple and self-explanatory user interface of the ScanBox, the Kiosk Interface, is used to start the measurement. Kiosk mode reduces user input and makes it possible for Materials Solutions to involve staff without metrology training in the operation of the ScanBox during late shifts overnight.

The ScanBox optical measuring machine significantly speeds up measuring times by inspecting four fuel swirlers in just one run.

GOM Inspect Pro supports the entire process

From the simple 3D scan and its detailed evaluation to the automated inspection process, Materials Solutions is supported by the GOM Inspect Pro software. All critical surfaces are captured and visualized. Nominal-actual surface comparisons are used to compare the polygon meshes with the drawing or directly with the CAD data set so that deviations can be indicated. 

In interaction with the hardware, GOM Inspect Pro visualizes even the smallest details, such as 0.1-millimeter weld spatter on the fuel swirler. During geometric inspection, diameters, linear dimensions as well as GD&T functions, such as flatness or parallelism, are checked on the fuel swirler. The test results are documented in individual report templates. They can be shared with other sites or customers by using a reporting option that also offers fully animated PDF exports. 

Materials Solutions takes automation to the next level

To meet future market requirements, Materials Solutions will further increase its already high level of automation in metal-based additive manufacturing. Automated guided vehicle systems are planned to ensure that parts are distributed more efficiently in the plant. In addition, the company intends to combine batch processing in inspection with the developed automated handling of parts.

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In our new industry insight package, you will learn more about the challenges and opportunities of a modern production. Discover the various possibilities of the ScanBox for production-accompanying quality assurance systems by experiencing different real-life customer stories.


Materials Solutions

Material Solutions has over 15 years’ experience with laser powder-bed fusion technology and printing design optimization. As a fully integrated subsidiary of Siemens Energy AG, the company serves a multitude of high-end industries including energy, aerospace, space, automotive and motorsport. The headquarters are in Worcester and is a vital part of the global AM capabilities of Siemens Energy.