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ENgineering COMPASS

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ENCOMPASS (ENgineering COMPASS)

Reporting period: 2018-04-01 to 2020-02-29

The ENCOMPASS project principally has created a fully digital integrated design decision support (IDDS) system to cover the whole manufacturing chain for a laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) process encompassing all individual processes within in. The ENCOMPASS concept takes a comprehensive view of the L-PBF process chain through synergising and optimising the key stages.

By considering the entire AM process chain, rather than the AM machine in isolation, ENCOMPASS integrates process decision making tools and produce substantial increases in AM productivity, with clear reductions in change over times and re-design, along with increased ‘right-first time’, leading to overall reductions in production costs, materials wastage, and over-processing.

Three key process chain steps have been tackled in ENCOMPASS: the component design process; the L-PBF build process; and the post-build processes (post-processing and inspection). The links between these stages are addressed by the following five interrelations:
1. Between the design process and both the build and post-build processes in terms of manufacturing constraints / considerations to optimise overall component design.
2. Between the design process and build process component-specific L-PBF scanning strategies and parameters to optimise processing and reduce downstream processing.
3. Between the design process and the build and post-build processes in terms of adding targeted feature quality tracking to the continuous quality monitoring throughout the process chain.
4. Between the build and post-build processes by using build specific processing strategies and adaptation based on actual quality monitoring data (for inspection and post-processing).
5. Between all stages and the data management system with the integrated design decision support (IDDS) system.
Work performed since the beginning of the project is detailed by each work package thus:
WP1 – Definition of Specification and Requirements:
Four industrial use-case study parts have been identified by each end-user: two aerospace components, one medical device and one automotive component. Each of these case-study parts give a comprehensive set of features, parameters and geometries for the technology to be developed around. A high level set of requirements have been produced for the IDDS system.

WP2 – Component Design Considering L-PBF Chain:
The main objective of this work package was to integrate with an existing geometric design software solution that uses knowledge, predictive and actual data of the whole laser powder bed fusion process chain. Design rules (based on knowledge of the laser powder bed fusion process, post-processing and inspection) have been integrated with the design tool, with prompt feedback to the designer about implications of their design. A second outcome is the capability to integrate this design tool with a component scale physical simulation model to inform decisions about build and post-processing.

WP2 has established the user interface for the designer and the design assessment functionality of the IDDS system.

WP3 – Optimised Build Process Strategy:
The objectives of this WP focused on the development of process knowledge for geometry driven and feature based scanning strategies and process parameters.
In conjunction with WP2, a list of features have been collated that has major impact on part quality and developed into a ‘feature action map’ which address the four stages of AM production from design to testing. Evaluations where issues cannot be resolved through IDDS process actions have been identified.

WP4 – Strategies for Optimised Post-Build Process:
WP4 has developed tools and strategies for optimising the post laser-powder bed fusion process chain and the execution of post-build processes. This started by identifying monitoring solutions for the finishing process. The key post-process variables were identified for a range of finishing options together with an overview of post-processing capabilities for a number of features. Analysis of the use-case study parts was then undertaken with regard to post-processing to establish surface finish requirements and capabilities. of a tolerance base, rules & thresholds, features, tolerances and criticalities. These form the ‘tolerance based interrogations’.

WP5 – Integrated Data Decision Support (IDDS):
This WP has integrated the outputs and software systems produced in WP's 2 to 4. A fully integrated IDDS system has been produced and trialled by Design Engineers from each of the End-Users whereby they undertook a design for AM exercise for their case-study part (total 4 end-use cases). The IDDS system consists of a full architecture and a Graphical User Interface. Feedback has been collated for further improvements.

WP6 - Use-Case Demonstrators.
4 case study parts have been successfully manufactured using the outputs from the IDDS simulations and results. Two aerospace components have been manufactured, one automotive component and one medical device. One of the aerospace components was totally redesigned for AM manufacture. All components have been successfully manufactured as a result, right first time and with significant cost savings in design, production costs,post processing and quality.
The main output of ENCOMPASS is the creation and application of a comprehensive integrated laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) process chain design decision support system (IDDSS) which significantly improves productivity and "industrialises" laser-based AM while maintaining its flexibility for applications from low-variety-high-volume to high-variety-low-volume. Five outputs of the ENCOMPASS project which progress the state of the art are:
1. IDDS system pilot demonstrator covering AM design, build and post-processing.
2. AM simulation tool development covering post-build processes, in particular post-processing and inspection (Delivery Date: and post-build processes covering post-build processes.
3. Populated design rule database covering build, post-processing and inspection information.
4. Improved L-PBF processing using feature-specific scanning strategies and different processing regimes.
5. Improved in-process monitoring and deviation detection system for improved part quality.
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