The Yorkshire-based company believes it is the first company in the UK to receive such a qualification for an additive manufacturing facility. LR granted TWI the qualification, which covers everything design and manufacture to post-processing and inspection, after an extensive audit.
TWI, or The Welding Institute, is a a research and technology organisation, traditionally specialising in the welding of components, and in recent years expanding into metal additive manufacturing. The company works with a wealth of companies ion industries like automotive, aerospace, defence, oil and gas, and medical.
It has previously collaborated with LR to establish a framework for additively manufacturing metal parts and has now been granted certification to produce components in stainless steel 316L on its EOS 3D printing system.
“Laser powder bed fusion (PBF-LB) is increasingly being used in industry, but its uptake has been hindered by a lack of understanding of the process, particularly in terms of controlling the quality and reproducibility of the parts made and how to qualify and certify these parts for use,” commented Paul Goodwin, Powder Bed Fusion Lead at TWI. “The achievement of the facility qualification allows TWI to support industry on their journey towards part qualification and pre-audit facility checks for additively manufactured parts. We are now engaging with stakeholders regarding future work and additional developments to strengthen the facility qualification, including the addition of other materials and PBF-LB systems.”
“An LR qualification provides independent third-party assurance to an AM facility and demonstrates a real commitment to the highest levels of consistent quality and safety,” added Lead Specialist David Hardacre.