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  • Writer's pictureSebastian Bluemer

Hybrid Manufacturing in Additive

Updated: Feb 5, 2023

"Hybrid manufacturing in laser powder bed fusion - it seems so simple but needs in-depth preparation".

When we think of Laser Powder Bed Fusion, we usually associate this process with one-piece part manufacturing considering DFAM.

However, to reduce costs in the build process, a hybrid approach can also be interesting, as you can see in the picture below. Let's imagine the cyan structure was created in advance by a machining process and prepared for the process (machined structure). Orange shows the AM structure to be manufactured. (printed structure)

Building both structures dimensionally accurate requires a lot of patience and experience with the machine hardware. There are already approaches available in which the build plate for hybrid manufacturing has been optimized by using a zero-point clamping system - enabling simplified alignment of machined structures in the L-PBF process chamber.

Nevertheless, aligning both structures to each other is still a challenge. The material bond between both structures should also be investigated afterwards before the part goes into the application. For this reason, material qualification for the hybrid approach should also be performed.

Spare parts manufacturing can benefit from this approach and it has already been shown by leading AM companies that L-PBF machine hardware concepts can be adapted to make it possible. You use the conventional part as a baseline and print the AM structure on the top.

How do you see hybrid manufacturing? Have you already had experiences and how do they look like? Is that really a useful application for L-PBF or should we rather focus on DED processes?

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