Legal and Regulatory

ASTM International is developing a standard for LPBF 3D printing

Global standards developer ASTM International has announced that the F42 additive manufacturing technologies committee is currently developing a standard for the laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) 3D printing process. 

The standard has the potential to help quickly assess the quality of 3D printed parts, and the performance of the LPBF systems that manufacture them. “We are successfully working to capture variations in the laser powder bed fusion process,” explains Nima Shamsaei, a professor in the mechanical engineering department at Auburn University and the director of National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence (NCAME), a founding member of ASTM International’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence. 

“Now we need to determine the sensitivity of these variations and assess repeatability across various users, materials, and systems.”

Young woman in white lab coat working with a 3D printer. Photo via ASTM International/AM COE.

Developing standards for the additive manufacturing industry

ASTM International develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services. The organization has recently demonstrated a drive towards developing standards for additive manufacturing, key to enabling industry-wide adoption of the technology. 

The ASTM Committee F42 on Additive Manufacturing Technologies was formed in 2009. Meeting on a bi-annual basis, the committee includes over 700 expert members globally who create and revise additive manufacturing standards. All standards developed by F42 are published in the Annual Book of ASTM Standards, Volume 10.04.

The efforts of ASTM International have included the launch of the Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AM CoE) program in August 2018 in order to advance the current state of additive manufacturing. It was established alongside EWI, the UK’s Manufacturing Technology Center (MTC) and an Auburn University-NASA collective. 

Additive manufacturing at AMCOE. Photo via ASTM International/AMCoE.
Additive manufacturing at AMCOE. Photo via ASTM International/AMCoE.

The organization has also launched several rounds of funding to help support the development of standards for the additive manufacturing industry. The first round was launched in 2018, and supported projects undertaken by NASA, MTC, EWI, Auburn University and the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) at Wichita State University. In 2019, a new round of funding was launched, benefitting the same institutions and their research, with the addition of Singapore’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC).

In May 2019, ASTM International also announced a  “Request For Ideas (RFI)” from its ASTM F42 members who were in need of short-term R&D funding through its AM CoE. A subgroup of experts, known as F42.09.05, representing different sectors and organization types within the ASTM F42 committee were identified to evaluate the submitted ideas.  

Most recently, ASTM International signed an MoU with leading technical service corporation TÜV SÜD, agreeing to develop programs accelerating the adoption of additive manufacturing technologies.

The LBPF standard

F42’s proposed standard for LPBF 3D printing seeks to leverage off-the-shelf tools in order to create qualitative data related to dimensional accuracy and material strength. Both of these factors serve as indicators to the health of the 3D printer in question, as well as the part. 

The committee has invited representatives of industries, universities, and research facilities that work in additive manufacturing technology to participate in upcoming round-robin experiments to assess the robustness of the proposed standard, known as WK71395

Jonathan Pegues, a Postdoctoral Researcher at Sandia National Laboratories, is acting as the technical point of contact for the development of the LPBF standard. Pegues explains that the standard could potentially benefit manufacturers, laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders that use laser beam powder bed fusion parts in structural applications. 

In early 2019, ASTM International also revealed it was developing technical standards for the directed energy deposition (DED) additive manufacturing process, in partnership with  Innovate UK, the British Standards Institution (BSI), and the UK Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry. 

The nominations for the 2020 3D Printing Industry Awards are now open. Who do you think should make the shortlists for this year’s show? Have your say now. 

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Featured image shows Additive Manufacturing at AMCOE. Photo via ASTM International.