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Effect of Powder Re-use on DMLS Product Integrity

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The purpose of this honors project is to analyze the difference between different powder separation techniques, and their suitability for my capstone project – ‘Effect of Powder Reuse on DMLS

The purpose of this honors project is to analyze the difference between different powder separation techniques, and their suitability for my capstone project – ‘Effect of Powder Reuse on DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) Product Integrity’. Due to the nature of my capstone project, my group needs to characterize foreign contaminants in IN 718 (Ni-based superalloy) powder with a mean diameter around 40um. In order to clearly analyze the contaminants and recycle useful IN 718 powders, powder separation is favorable since the filtered samples will be much easier to characterize rather than inspect all the powders at once under microscope. By conducting literature review, I found that powder separation is commonly used in Geology, and Chemistry department. To screen which combination of techniques could be the best for my project, I have consulted several research specialists, obtained adequate knowledge about powder separation. Accordingly, I will summarize the pros and cons of each method with regard the specific project that I am working on, and further explore the impacts of each method under economical, societal, and environmental considerations. Several powder separation techniques will be discussed in details in the following sections, including water elutriation, settling column, magnetic separation and centrifugation. In addition to these methods, sieving, water tabling and panning will be briefly introduced. After detailed comparison, I found that water elutriation is the most efficient way to purity IN718 powder for reuse purpose, and recovery rate is as high as 70%, which could result in a significant reduction in the manufacturing cost for Honeywell since currently Honeywell only use virgin powders to build parts, and 90% of the leftover powders are discarded.

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  • 2016-05

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Effect of Powder Reuse on DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) Product Integrity: Why Honeywell Believes the Future is Additive Manufacturing

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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.

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.

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  • 2016-05