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Market Research Report

Strategic Assessment of Post-Processing in Metal Additive Manufacturing

Published by SmarTech Analysis Product code 908189
Published Content info 70 Pages
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Strategic Assessment of Post-Processing in Metal Additive Manufacturing
Published: August 16, 2019 Content info: 70 Pages

Post-processing of metal 3D-printed parts is a broad category and has long been considered the most time-intensive part of the additive manufacturing workflow. It is often more expensive and time consuming than the printing process itself. It is, in one form or another, a given in metal additive manufacturing. There are various techniques that are used to improve the mechanical properties and appearance of parts, and these will vary widely between various printing technologies, equipment, and applications. But it is especially significant for serial production and highly critical applications. Ultimately, the workflow must be designed to meet all the requirements of the finished parts, both aesthetic and mechanical.

In this report, we look at the common post-processing steps, what they can achieve, and the challenges observed. We will discuss the relative cost considerations to keep in mind as well as costs that often go unaccounted for in the workflow. We will discuss many of the OEMs and service providers that are active in this space, as well as some specific case studies and research that has been recently conducted. And, often forgotten, we will discuss some of the critical considerations in the design stage that can greatly influence the post-processing stage in the overall workflow. We finish with a discussion on the future trends, to include end-to-end solutions and automation, data optimization, software solutions, and the current state of standards and regulations as they pertain to post-processing.

Table of Contents
Product Code: SMP-AM-PPM-0819

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Introduction

Chapter Two: Challenges in Post-Processing Metal Parts

  • 2.1. Powder Removal
  • 2.2. Powder Recycling
  • 2.3. Part Removal
  • 2.4. Support Removal
    • 2.4.1. Support Removal with Powder Bed Fusion
    • 2.4.2. Support Removal with Material Extrusion Systems
  • 2.5. Washing / De-Binding
  • 2.6. Thermal Post-Processing
    • 2.6.1. Sintering
    • 2.6.2. Infiltration and Impregnation
    • 2.6.3. Heat Treatment
    • 2.6.4. Solution Treatment Aging (STA)/Age Hardening
    • 2.6.5. Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP)
  • 2.7. Machining
  • 2.8. Surface Finishing
    • 2.8.1. Contact Surface Finishing
      • Sand Blasting and Shot Peening
      • Centrifugal Disc Finishing (CDF)
      • Centrifugal Barrel Finishing (CBF)
      • Reverse Drag Finishing (RDF)
    • 2.8.2. Laser Surface Finishing
      • Benefits of Laser Surface Finishing
      • Limitations of Laser Surface Finishing
      • Laser Surface Finishing Methods
    • 2.8.3. Electron Beam Polishing
    • 2.8.4. Electropolishing and Electrochemical Machining (ECM)
    • 2.8.5. Chemical Polishing
    • 2.8.6. Chemically Accelerated Vibratory Finishing
    • 2.8.7. Abrasive Flow Machining

Chapter Three: Cost Considerations for Post-Processing Metal AM Parts

  • 3.1. Relative Cost Drivers by Printer Technology
  • 3.2. Relative Cost Drivers by Process
    • 3.2.1. Part Separation and Support Removal
    • 3.2.2. Heat Treatment, HIP and Precipitation Hardening
    • 3.2.3. Surface Finishing
  • 3.3. Hidden Costs
    • 3.3.1. Underestimation of Surface Finish Time
    • 3.3.2. Inadequate Tools for Interior Finishing
    • 3.3.3. Tolerance Issues
    • 3.3.4. Process Knowledge
    • 3.3.5. Skills Gap
    • 3.3.6. Powder Recycling
  • 3.4. Comprehensive Costs
  • 3.5. A Comparison Across Common Alloys

Chapter Four: Post-processing OEMs and Service Providers

  • 4.1. Post-processing Equipment OEMs
    • 4.1.1. Powder Removal / Recycling
    • 4.1.2. Thermal Treatment / HIP
    • 4.1.3. Surface Finishing
      • Laser Surface Finishing
      • Electron Beam Polishing
      • Electropolishing
      • Electro-chemical Finishing
      • Combined Systems
    • 4.1.4. Hybrid Machining
    • 4.1.5. Sintering and Debinding
    • 4.1.6. Integrated Systems
  • 4.2. Post-processing Service Providers
  • 4.3. Summary

Chapter Five: Design Considerations to Minimize and Optimize Post-Processing

  • 5.1. Powder Removal
  • 5.2. Support Structures
  • 5.3. Orientation
  • 5.4. Internal Passages
  • 5.5. Thermal Processing
  • 5.6. Surface Finishing
  • 5.7. Machining
  • 5.8. Software

Chapter Six: Case Studies and Research

  • 6.1. Chemically Accelerated Vibratory Finishing
  • 6.2. Electropolishing and Chemical Polishing
  • 6.3. Magneto-Rheological Fluid Finishing of Copper
  • 6.4. Laser Polishing of a Superalloy
  • 6.5. Abrasive Flow Machining
  • 6.6. Heat Treatment of Ti6Al4V
  • 6.7. Heat Treatment of AlSi10Mg
  • 6.8. The Effects of Heat Treatment on the Quasi-Static Behavior and Porosity of SLM Produced Inconel 718
  • 6.9. Cracking During Thermal Treatment of PBF- Printed CM247LC Nickel Superalloy
  • 6.10. Surface Finishing of PBF Parts by AFM and Electrochemical Machining in Tandem

Chapter Seven: Future Trends

  • 7.1. End-to-End Solutions and Automation
  • 7.2. Data Optimization and Industrial IoT
  • 7.3. Software Solutions
  • 7.4. Standards and Regulations

About SmarTech Analysis

  • About the Analyst
  • Acronyms and Abbreviations Used In this Report

List of Exhibits

  • Exhibit 2-1: Common Variants in Macro Polishing and Micro Polishing by Laser
  • Exhibit 2-2: Advantages of the Various AFM Classifications
  • Exhibit 3-1: Common Heat Treatments for Frequently Used Alloys in Metal AM
  • Exhibit 4-1: Selected Post-processing Equipment and Service Providers
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