Effect of Powder Reuse on DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) Product Integrity: Why Honeywell Believes the Future is Additive Manufacturing
Honeywell is currently extending the reach of additive manufacturing (AM) in its product line and expects to produce as much as 40% of its inventory through AM in five years. Additive manufacturing itself is expected to grow into a $3.1 billion dollar industry in the next 5 to 10 years. Reusing IN 718 powder, a nickel-based super alloy metal powder, is an ideal option to reduce costs as well as reduce waste because it can be used with additive manufacturing, but the main obstacles are lack of procedure standardization and product quality assurances from this process. The goal of the capstone project, "Effect of Powder Reuse on DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) Product Integrity," is to create a powder characterization protocol in order to determine if the IN 718 powder can be reused and what effect the IN 718 reused powder has on the mechanical properties of the products Honeywell fabricates. To provide context and impact of this capstone project, this paper serves to identify the benefits of AM for Honeywell and the cost effectiveness of reusing the powder versus using virgin powder every time. It was found that Honeywell's investment in AM is due to the cost effectiveness of AM, versatility in product design, and to ensure Honeywell remains competitive in the future. In terms of reducing expenses, reusing powder enables costs to be approximately 45% less than using virgin powder. With these key pieces of information, the motivations for this capstone project are understood to a fuller and more profound degree.