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Resource analysis model and validation for selective laser melting, constituting the potential of lightweight design for material efficiency

: Pfaff, Aron; Bierdel, Marius; Hoschke, Klaus; Wickert, Matthias; Riedel, Werner; Hiermaier, Stefan


Sustainable production and consumption 21 (2020), S.182-191
ISSN: 2352-5509
Fraunhofer EMI ()
selective laser melting; structure lightweight design; small batch production; sustainability; energy consumption; resource efficiency

Selective Laser Melting (SLM) offers significant potential for a sustainable way of production. Raw material in form of metallic powder can directly be reused and the selective nature of the process offers new potential for resource economization. We introduce a mathematical model, which allows conclusions about the influence of parameters like part volume (influenced by lightweight design) and exposure parameters onto the resource consumption in an SLM process. For this purpose, time and energy consumption are classified in process shares as a function of volume and process parameters. The introduced approach is validated by experimental methods under the consideration of part volume, exposure parameters and batch size. While the approach shall be independent of the manufactured material, the experiments are executed for the aluminum alloy AlSi10Mg. The measurements quantify the impact of the part volume and process parameters on the resource consumption and provide recommendations for improvements regarding an increased material efficiency. Additionally, the established model can be used to analyze manufacturing costs for single parts or series productions. The results illustrate the importance of lightweight design methods for an efficient and sustainable production by powder bed fusion methods like SLM.