Sigma Labs Inc, which makes quality assurance software for 3D printing, has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

NIST and Sigma say that they plan to study the effects of recycled powder and part placement on process variability and part quality using Sigma’s additive manufacturing (AM) PrintRite3D software. The study will characterize the use of recycled powder in the laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) process using both in-situ monitoring technology and post process mechanical property characterization.

According to Sigma, it is known that changes in powder characteristics and chemistry may impact the build process and resulting part quality. ‘This collaboration represents an important step forward in providing a much-awaited technical solution and understanding of powder reuse and its implicit cost savings,’ the company said in a press release. The results from this study will be available to the AM community through journal articles while the in-situ and ex-situ data will be made available via the NIST AM Material Database.

During this study, Sigma’s in-process quality assurance PrintRite3D INSPECT software will be used to quantify any process variability and part quality using its thermal energy density (TED) in process quality metric, which canquantitatively measure melt pool variation and part quality.

‘Using our PrintRite3D technology will enhance NIST’s interlaboratory round-robin studies to provide much needed and currently unavailable scientific in-situ data on the impacts that different build layouts or recycled powder have on the LPBF AM process and its variability,’ said Mark Cola, president and CTO at Sigma Labs. ‘With this knowledge, we can help to improve the efficiency and reliability of the process so that the AM community can take full advantage of its desirable material and cost savings.’

This story uses material from Sigma Labswith editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.