LAM 2016 showcases latest strides in additive manufacturing

The Laser Institute of America (LIA)'s 8th annual Laser Additive Manufacturing (LAM) Workshop (also in Orlando, FL), held March 2-3, 2016, welcomed over 170 attendees from 14 countries—over half of whom were new to the event. There, they discussed the latest developments in 3D printing, cladding, and other additive manufacturing methods.

LAM General Chair Paul Denney, along with co-chairs Ingomar Kelbassa and Jim Sears, designed the event, which featured keynote addresses, educational sessions, and exhibits to showcase the way companies are using additive manufacturing.

A dedicated session on the first day focused on technologies such as electron beam, arc, and ultrasonic welding that compete against additive manufacuring, Denney says. To begin the session, Professor Sudarsanam Suresh Babu from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville gave a keynote presentation that focused on recent advances in metal additive manufacturing, as well as the role that in situ process monitoring, computational monitoring, and advanced characterization play in the field. Babu's discussion of additive manufacturing's benefits, when compared to traditional manufacturing methods, gave way to an overview of the additive manufacturing process, from geometrical conformity and topography optimization to size-specific properties and beyond.

After gaining this background on alternative technologies, attendees learned about the selection process companies use when choosing the additive manufacturing processes for their needs. The first day also featured executives from such companies as DMG MORI, Concept Laser, and Optomec, who showcased new equipment available for additive manufacturing.

Focusing on new additive manufacturing approaches, Christoph Leyens from the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology (Fraunhofer IWS; Dresden, Germany) discussed precise laser metal deposition with wire and powder filling material, while TRUMPF's Frank Geyer compared the processes of laser metal deposition and laser metal fusion. Then, Daniel Capostagno of SPI Lasers concluded the day with his presentation on fiber laser welding and cladding using filler wire.

With a focus on bridging the gap between additive manufacturing research and application, the second day began with a keynote address given by Professor David Bourell of the University of Texas at Austin. The Director of the Laboratory for Freeform Fabrication discussed the current status of additive manufacturing.

The day's sessions also focused on both the national and global successes and challenges in AM with presenters from around the world. Tim Biermann of Fraunhofer ILT presented on LAM R&D centers in Germany, while Milan Brandt from RMIT University discussed the industry further in Australia.

"We’re looking forward to LAM 2017, when we return to Houston, TX," Denney says. "While the oil and gas industry is suffering from lower oil prices, we feel that there will still be a strong interest in laser cladding—a form of laser additive manufacturing—because it can lower production costs."

For more information and updates on LAM 2017, please visit www.lia.org/lam.



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