Yet, even as the technology matures, a disparity grows between leading organisations and new comers setting out to build profitable businesses. SLM is not the easy plug-and-play technology portrayed by the media to the general public – at least not for industrial metallic components anyway. And being unaware of that can be costly.
Yet this is still a very different expertise skill-set than that involved in finding suitable laser processing parameters to create usable aerospace components. An exhaustive knowledge and understanding of the machine operation must be coupled with fundamentals scientific knowledge.
To highlight the importance and challenges of process and parameters development, it is important to emphasize the extent and range of expertise required to achieve high-yield production of reliable sound parts.
Thankfully, more and more proofs emerge that prove that not only slm can produce reliable components, but that the mechanical properties can also equal or exceed those achieved with conventional manufacturing methods.
The good news is that instead of spending money on non-optimal heat post treatment, you can probably spend this money on processing parameters developments and end up with superior properties.
Of course if your application doesn’t require any stringent mechanical characteristics (jewellery, etc…), you’re off the hook. For the rest of us, process parameters and understanding of their impact on metallurgy and mechanical properties is still a critical research area.