Quality assurance (QA) is the new watchword in additive manufacturing (AM). How can manufacturers improve the quality of powder metal parts made using this relatively new, unregulated technology? Liz Nickels spoke to Joseph Weilhammer, Product Manager Metal, EOS Krailling, from EOS GmbH, who considers QA to the vital next step in the development of AM.

EOS, one of the earliest providers of additive manufacturing (AM) technology, was established in 1989 by Dr. Hans J. Langer. It soon became the leading player in high-end rapid prototyping (RP) technology. The company launched its first STEREOS 400 stereolithography system in 1991, while in 1994 it extended its product portfolio to laser sintering, becoming the world's first provider of both stereolithography and laser-sintering systems. A year later the EOSINT M 250 was launched, offering metal 3D printing, particularly for manufacturing metal tools for plastics injection molding.

In 1997, EOS took over the global patent rights for laser-sintering technology and now focuses exclusively on powder-based additive, layer-by-layer manufacturing processes, launching direct metal laser sintering (DMLS™) in 2004. In 2013, EOS added to its metal material offerings with a new metal material for industrial 3D printing: EOS NickelAlloy HX. Now in 2016, the company has decidedly moved away from its previous rapid-prototyping dominated portfolio to more serial manufacturing applications. With the current emphasis on industrial 3D printing solutions, quality assurance (QA) has thus become a focal point. EOSTATE MeltPool, a QA tool that can monitor the progress of multiple direct metal laser sintering (DMLS™) products across multiple interlinked laser sintering systems, provides an overview of production-related data. Status, control and reporting software can be used to monitor production on several interlinked systems at the same time. EOSTATE MeltPool evaluates data saved on the systems, prepares it in a clear format and provides an overview of all production-related information at all times.

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