TWI, a UK-based independent research and technology organization, has been awarded an Additive Manufacturing facility qualification from Lloyd’s Register for the TWI Technology Centre in Yorkshire, UK. The certification was granted after an independent audit at TWI’s 3D printing facility and is the first of its kind to be given to a UK-based AM facility.
Lloyd’s Register, a provider of classification, compliance and consultancy services, assessed several factors in its audit, all associated with 3D printing stainless steel components using powder bed fusion technology. Specifically, the company analyzed the design, materials, manufacturing, post-processing and inspection processes for the production of stainless steel 316L components made using TWI’s EOS M290 metal 3D printer (PBF-LB). The facility qualification covers each step of the end-to-end process.
“PBF-LB is increasingly being used in industry, but its uptake has been hindered by a lack of understanding of the process, particularly in terms of controlling the quality and reproducibility of the parts made and how to qualify and certify these parts for use,” commented Paul Goodwin, PPL and PBF Lead at TWI. “The achievement of the facility qualification allows TWI to support industry on their journey towards part qualification and pre-audit facility checks for additively manufactured parts. We are now engaging with stakeholders regarding future work and additional developments to strengthen the facility qualification, including the addition of other materials and PBF-LB systems.”
The TWI Technology Centre is located at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham and is focused primarily on laser additive manufacturing and friction stir welding. In the case of the former, TWI uses its facility to complete one-off manufacturing contracts as well as to offer guidance to businesses interested in adopting additive manufacturing.