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Relative density prognosis for directed energy deposition with the help of artificial neural networks

2021 , Marko, A. , Schafner, A. , Raute, J. , Rethmeier, M.

Additive manufacturing, and therefore directed energy deposition, is gaining more and more interest from industrial users. However, quality assurance for the components produced is still a challenge. Machine learning, especially using artificial neuronal networks, is a potential method for ensuring a high-quality standard. Based on process parameters and monitoring data, part quality can be predicted. A further advantage is the ability to constantly learn and adopt to slight process changes. First tests using artificial neural networks focus on the prediction of track geometry. The results show that even a small data set is enough to provide high accuracy in the predictions. In this work, an artificial neural network for the predictive analysis of relative density in laser powder cladding has been developed. A central composite experimental design is used to generate 19 data sets. Input variables are laser power, feed rate and powder mass flow. Cubes are built up where density is considered as a target value. Several neural networks are trained and evaluated with these data sets. Different topologies and initial weights are considered. The best network reaches a confidence level of around 90 % for the prediction of relative density based on the process parameters. Finally, the optimization of the generalization performance is investigated. To this purpose, methods of variation in error limit as well as cross-validation are applied. In this way, density is predictable by an artificial neural network with an accuracy of about 95 %.