Renishaw software set to improve additive manufacturing quality

Renishaw has launched its InfiniAM Sonic acoustic process monitoring software to complement the company’s existing InfiniAM suite of additive manufacturing (AM) monitoring tools. InfiniAM Sonic enables engineers to detect acoustic events within the AM build chamber and turn this data into useful information about build quality. The software is said to be the first of its kind in the AM industry.

InfiniAM Sonic is installed into the RenAM 500Q system as a factory-fit option and includes four acoustic energy sensors to detect vibration in the build. These sensors detect minute vibrations and collect sound waves so that they can be heard, viewed and analysed. Using four high-frequency sensors in different locations results in a slight time difference, due to the speed of sound. The software uses this time difference to triangulate the position of noise on the build plate. In addition, the software presents a level of certainty regarding where the noise occurred, and the magnitude. This data can then be combined graphically with other sensor data to build a comprehensive view of the part and the conditions at time of build.

InfiniAM Sonic works alongside InfiniAM Central and InfiniAM Spectral, which provide improved understanding of build quality, increased confidence in the build process and accelerated process development, reports Renishaw. The InfiniAM Central mobile app is also available, so that users can receive notifications on their build process in near real-time.

“The rapid heating and cooling that takes place during an AM build leads to residual stress in the part,” explains David Ewing, AM product manager at Renishaw. “While each laser weld results in a small amount of stress, residual stress can build up within the part, and if it increases past the strength of the metal it may lead to a fracture in the support material or part itself.

“Renishaw's InfiniAM software suite makes it a lot easier to understand what is happening during an AM build,” he continues. “Spectral and Central give manufacturers ‘eyes' inside their AM component and process; now we've launched InfiniAM Sonic as the ‘ears'. These tools help engineers to better understand their AM parts and processes, and identify the potential causes of defects early on. This is particularly useful when developing and validating parts. The more data available, the quicker it is to confirm that manufacturing is in specification. Root-cause investigation is simplified, and if necessary the build can be stopped, saving material and time.”