Additive manufacturing (AM) has developed rapidly in the last ten years and has shown significant potential to drastically transform manufacturing norms.
However, as the AM industry and applications grow, the inability to rapidly certify AM parts remains a significant challenge, hampering widespread adoption.
This lack of certification means a manufacturer who currently designs and fabricates to recognised standards using traditional manufacturing methods is unable to fully exploit the benefits of AM because they have no feasible route to product certification. Likewise, third-party inspection authorities have no standards or guidelines to certify against.
TWI is working closely with companies and certification bodies to overcome the technological challenges associated with AM part certification and to ensure AM parts meet the strict quality, safety and consistency requirements demanded by industry.
Our close collaboration with standards organisations and knowledge of existing certification frameworks means we can offer dedicated support services towards the development of product certification:
- Standards compliance
- Assessment of specific AM materials and process needs
- Performance characteristics of AM components
- Design for AM
- Optimised part development
- Additive manufacturing production methods
- Inspection techniques for AM
Developing standards for additive manufacturing
Several standards development organisations are making efforts to build a set of standards for AM. For example, ASTM and ISO have set up joint working groups for developing standards:
These committees are examining aspects of AM including design, materials and processes through to environment, health and safety and terminology. This activity is vital in overcoming many of the challenges associated with the application and approval of AM.
However, the development of standards for a rapidly evolving technology is an extensive and complex activity which will take years to bear fruit – so far only a small number of AM-specific standards have been published.
TWI is working closely with Lloyd’s Register on a joint industry project to develop certification guidelines for additively manufactured parts, specifically for the energy and offshore sectors. The partnership has already led to the publication of Guidance Notes for Additive Manufacturing of Metallic Parts, which are available to download for free from the Lloyd’s Register website.
How to overcome certification issues with additive manufacturing now
Certification can be achieved through application of the evolving international standards on AM, and by establishing requirements that prove AM's uniformity with existing manufacturing methods, codes and standards.
We are working towards setting these requirements through dedicated research aimed at addressing specific challenges along the part certification route. This includes the identification of legal requirements, part performance metrics, design and analysis methods, inspection and characterisation procedures, quality assurance protocols, and validation tests.
Our efforts are bringing together research and development with real-world AM practices to create new industry product certification, paving the way for more widespread adoption of AM technology.
Contact us for more information on AM certification.