Methods of Marking Additively Manufactured Parts for Traceability



Additive manufacturing (AM), a process that adds material layer by layer from a 3D model to fabricate a part, enables production of highly complex functional components often unachievable by conventional manufacturing methods. AM has been making an impact in the manufacturing industry for the past 30 years, and today is a $7 billion industry that is growing at about 25% (CAGR) per year. Industries such as aerospace, medical, and automotive have shown that AM is a viable method of manufacturing, however, currently there are no standards that define how physical AM parts should be identified. Further, the generation of a readable mark on AM parts is non-trivial on account of the inherent surface features and roughness that the process generates, which makes it challenging to form the required contrast.

Invention Description

Researchers at Arizona State University have developed new methods for part-marking with different identification (ID) objects. With the use of lasers, these methods are able to scribe features smaller than what can currently be accomplished in the industry. These ID symbols are engineered to be readable using multiple viewing methods, and can alter light reflectivity of the modified surface for added visibility. As a result, this innovation allows various manufacturing systems to effectively mark a component in the post-production phase, and bridges the gap between the “digital twin” (a virtual replica) and physical component identification.

Potential Applications

• Additive manufacturing

• Laser-based engraving

Benefits and Advantages

• Delivers high-resolution marking

• Scribed symbols are readable with multiple viewing methods

• Allows humans and machines to readily verify components and associate them with their digital twin

Laboratory Homepage of Professor Dhruv Bhate

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