Additive manufacturing is not an isolated production process that produces finished components in a single step. Rather, additive manufacturing is one single step in a manufacturing process chain starting from a powder to a final component and product. Even though additive manufacturing makes it possible to produce components of almost any complexity, this complexity poses a number of challenges to other steps in the manufacturing process chain. Beside others, this applies specifically to post-processing and part quality assurance.
Components are only in very few cases ready for installation in a system directly after their additive manufacturing. For example, powder residues and support structures still have to be removed from the components, and threads and fits require conventional finishing. When designing the components and setting up a process chain, the special features and limits of additive manufacturing must be taken into account. Otherwise the advantages of the AM-process will be lost due to the restrictions of the other process steps. inspire supports in the selection and design of a production chain and develops methods to take into account the manifold possibilities and restrictions of a process chain.
Additive manufacturing is a master forming process, characterized by the simultaneous generation of the material with its inherent properties, and the final component. Deviations in the raw material characteristics and in the manufacturing process can therefore lead to defects in the component. For high quality components and in safety-relevant applications, suitable quality assurance is therefore of decisive importance. Quality assurance can be carried out at all stages along the process chain from the powder to the finished component. inspire develops specifications and measurement methods for monitoring powder materials, processes and components and supports companies in establishing quality assurance for AM components.