Last week, 3D Printing certification Industry attended the 2nd TÜV SÜD Additive Manufacturing certification Conference in the heart of Bavaria. The Munich-headquartered technical services giant, TÜV SÜD, brought together high-level AM experts to hear industry leaders and academics share their thoughts on the implementation of industrial additive manufacturing certification.
3D Printing certification Industry made the journey to Germany’s third-largest city to learn more.
The goal of the conference was to explore ways in which to predictably implement industrial AM in several areas: “small series”, “high-end components” and “regulated industries”. Additionally, speakers addressed which parameters and processes are digitizable or automatable today. With their wealth of experience in testing, certification, verification and knowledge transfer, TÜV SÜD made the perfect hosts for such a conference.
An unconventional convention
TÜV SÜD recognises that to find novel solutions, a novel approach is necessary. Five-minute idea slams in a variety of areas including process chains/products, hardware, and materials were followed by fifteen-minute challenge panels where the attendees could grill the AM pioneers on their pitches. Each topic was concluded with an interactive solution workshop where speakers and attendees could join forces to discuss common goals and how to implement them.
Challenges on the road to AM industrialisation
The conference commenced with keynote welcome speeches by Dr. Peter Havel, CEO of TÜV SÜD Product Service and Gregor Reischle, Head of Additive Manufacturing certification at TÜV SÜD.
Dr. Havel stated: “We look at additive manufacturing certification. We have here a really new disruptive technology and it’s now at the edge of becoming established but at the moment there are still things missing. So we are participating in building standards for this industry – not only for the devices but also for the processes that have to deliver products with defined qualities.”
Gregor Reischle added: “It’s all about safe, economic, and sustainable production with industrial AM readiness. There’s a lot of work to do, that’s why collaboration is key on both specific topics and openness. Together we can create a standard which makes the cake bigger for all of us.”
It is widely accepted, then, that the relative infancy of additive manufacturing certification is the root cause of its lack of industry presence. With critical industries such as aerospace and medical requiring parts and processes to adhere to exceptionally high standards, the next major hurdle that needs to be jumped seems to be the standardization of industrial AM. An area where many are actively engaging.
The benefit of standardized process chains
With 3D printed parts, post-processing is an essential segment of the print to product workflow. The removal of support material and adding high-quality surface finishing are paramount in making a product attractive and, in most cases, usable.
Munich-based finishing systems manufacturer, DyeMansion, is focussed on turning 3D printed raw parts into high-value products by offering systems that make the cleaning, surface finishing and coloring processes simple.
According to Maximilian Kraus, Sales and Business Development Manager EMEA at DyeMansion: “To truly industrialize this portion of the AM process, we must meet the requirements of conventional manufacturing technologies. Only then can we rival them.”
The standardization of process chains would allow for safety regulations to be met at a faster rate and, naturally, aid the implementation of AM industrialization.
Digital DNA of products
Part certification is a crucial step and desired result when bringing an industrial product to a market. Without part certification, manufacturers lack credibility and there is no indication as to whether their products are of a high enough quality to be used for industrial applications. This is especially true for industries such as prosthetics where patient health is at stake.
Manuel Opitz, COO and Co-Founder of Mecuris, stated: “We make sure every part we deliver has been tested both physically and in a simulation. In our industry, there is a certain level of quality assurance that is just standard, so certification and user perception is very important.”
Certified products are often marked with a sticker from the certifying body. While these stickers run the risk of being forged or removed on traditionally manufactured products, 3D printed parts can have the certification fingerprint printed directly on the part. These ‘fingerprints’ can be linked to a central database which would contain essential information such as the date of certification and even relevant supporting information such as material properties. This novel approach not only…