Additive manufacturing metrology: State of the art and needs assessment
Additive manufacturing (AM) is a technology that first emerged in 1987 with stereolithography (SL) of plastic materials from 3D Systems. It saw light use for rapid prototyping and very low volume production for a number of years. However, in the past few years AM of metallic materials has become a practical fabrication technology, use is rapidly increasing and is projected to continue with double digit growth in coming years. The promise and flexibility shown by AM has spurred efforts to begin standardization of this type of process. This paper provides an assessment of the state of the art for in-situ process monitoring of AM processes with an emphasis on the production of metallic components. It is seen that with the implementation of proper process control there is potential to create reliable and reproducible materials and geometries previously unachievable using metal removal based means of production. A reliable methodology for detection and control of microstructure and defects would be of great value in terms of enabling broader AM utilization.