Generation and evaluation of automation concepts of additive process chains with Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF)
Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF) is an additive manufacturing (AM) technology that plays a major role in the production of mass customized metal components and products. A significant disadvantage of AM is the required post-processing of the additive manufactured parts, which is necessary to remove auxiliary structures, separate the workpieces from the substrate plate and achieve high precision as well as low surface roughness. Automation of these post-processes is a crucial factor for increasing productivity and thus for further industrialization of L-PBF. This paper presents a methodology to model and evaluate the manufacturing process chain of post-processing with regard to automation. For this purpose, a uniform notation is introduced to model the sequence of manufacturing processes and handling operations. The notation allows the representation of different automation concepts and integrates typical post-processes for L-PBF manufactured parts. A reference scale is used to evaluate different concepts with regard to their level of automation. The focus on lead time estimation enables the methodology to generate and evaluate different automation concepts.