Characterization of 17-4ph single tracks produced at different parametric conditions towards increased productivity of lpbf systems—the effect of laser power and spot size upscaling

12 Oct 2018

Global industrial adoption of laser-based powder bed fusion (LPBF) technology is still limited by the production speed, the size of the build envelope, and therefore the maximum part size that can be produced. The cost of LPBF can be driven down further by improving the build rates without compromising structural integrity. A common approach is that the build rate can be improved by increasing the laser power and beam diameter to instantly melt a large area of powder, thus reducing the scanning time for each layer. The aim of this study was to investigate the aspects of upscaling LPBF processing parameters on the characteristic formation of stable single tracks, which are the primary building blocks for this technology. Two LPBF systems operating independently, using different parameter regimes, were used to produce the single tracks on a solid substrate deposited with a thin powder layer. The results obtained indicate that higher laser power and spot size can be used to produce stable tracks while the linear energy input is increased. It was also shown statistically that the geometrical characteristics of single tracks are mainly affected by the laser power and scanning speed during the scanning of a thin powder layer.