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Post-Additive
Manufacturing

Concept

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is an extraordinary tool to meet the requirements of different sectors like aerospace, biomedicine or automotive as it offers the possibility to build strong, flexible and rigid structures that are still light in weight. However, one of the main challenges of these technologies is the resulting poor surface quality of the as-built components. The surface roughness influences the aesthetics and several functional properties including fatigue resistance, frictional properties and heat transfer. Consequently, surface post-processing is a necessary step in the additive process.

Development of the E-blasting process A combination between an electrochemical and a mechanical process that produces flat surfaces with high gloss

Ti6Al4V pieces produced by SLM

Reduction of surface roughness of diferent alloys produced by SLM by grit-blasting and electropolishing

Facilities

Surface-finished semi-industrial (electro)chemical pilot plant.

Allows for up to a 65% reduction of surface roughness in metal parts with relatively complex geometries produced by AM.

It is also possible to machine or form certain specific areas of a part.

Electropolishing
pilot plant


Pressure jet cabins for texturing or polishing parts produced by AM

CIDETEC has three sandblasting units that enable processing parts and components with different compositions, sizes and geometries:


LASER EQUIPMENT FOR POLISHING OR TEXTURING SPECIFIC AREAS OF PARTS PRODUCED BY AM

4 low-power laser equipment units (IR, UV, CO2 and green) that make it possible to texture the surface of a plastic or metal material or decrease surface roughness by up to 60% in specific areas.

CO2 laser (30W)

Green laser (7W)

Nd:YAG laser (25W)

UV Laser (5W)

Proyects

FRONTIERS

In the framework of Frontiers, Frontiers II and Frontiers III projects, CIDETEC is working on developing polishing processes for Ti6Al4V components produced by LORTEK using SLM. The aim is to develop a process that produces surfaces of very low roughness, regardless of manufacturing angle of inclination.

Parts, micrographs and roughness levels of Ti6Al4V parts produced by Lortek using SLM technology.

Row 1: images of parts manufactured with different angles of inclination using SLM.

Row 2: parts sandblasted using the optimised process, and Row 3: parts polished using the optimised E-blasting process.


BASQUE DIGITAL INNOVATON HUB

CIDETEC has been involved in the start-up of the connected network of advanced manufacturing assets and services promoted by the Basque government, specifically in starting up the additive manufacturing node.

CONCLUSION

Different investigations are currently under way in CIDETEC in order to demonstrate the benefits of applying surface finishing technologies such as electropolishing, blasting and laser treatments either alone or in combination to metallic parts produced by AM. For example, Ti6Al4V AM parts have been successfully polished by means of a combination of surface treatments technologies (called the E-blasting process) and the surface roughness (Ra) of this material has been decreased by 95%.



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