Metal additive manufacturing is the process of creating a 3D object from a CAD model by building it up from metal powder, layer by layer. This technology can produce complex shapes that are not possible with traditional manufacturing methods, as well as reducing material waste and simplifying the production process.
The most common industries to commission production of specific components are aerospace, defence and transport, so reducing the chances of oxidization of the metal during the build process is essential as this can lead to a build failure, stress test failure or also a density test failure due to low quality standards. Interstitial absorption of any oxide embrittles the weld and may render the component useless.
In addition to the risk of oxidisation, moisture contamination is now recognised as a potential quality issue that affects the integrity of the product. Traditional metallurgical process – such as sintering – require dry, inert atmospheres to ensure strength and reliability, and metal additive manufacturing is no different.
The future adoption of this technology in many industries depends on the measurement and control of oxygen concentration and moisture within the manufacturing process.