Lloyd’s Register, TWI release updated framework for 3D printed metal certification

Headquartered in London, Lloyd’s Register (LR) has released an updated version of its metal additive manufacturing framework. Jointly published by research and technology organization TWI, the framework hopes to encourage “safe adoption” of metal 3D printing by promoting certification of parts. LR is an engineering, technical and business services organisation that provides “compliance, risk and technical consultancy services.

According to Lloyd’s Register, the new certification framework for AM metallic components,

Provides a step-by-step approach to provide the necessary level of consistency, qualification and confidence to enable manufacturers an approach they can use alongside LR’s inspection and certification services.

The industrialization of 3D printing is gaining momentum with large enterprises implementing metal additive manufacturing both in place of, and to complement traditional manufacturing techniques.

Companies like Siemens and GE are adopting 3D printing to create engine parts, turbine blades, and many other complex parts. However, in order accelerate adoption, certification remains one of the greatest hurdles.

3D printed nickel supper alloy turbine blades. Photo via: Siemens
3D printed nickel supper alloy turbine blades. Photo via: Siemens

Certification of additive manufacturing metal parts

3D Printing Industry covered the recent Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace, Defence and Space conference during which certification of metal parts was a hot topic. Edward Herderick, GE Corporate Supply Chain and Operations, spoke about the company’s commitment to additive manufacturing and how they are approaching certification.

Furthermore, Surrey Satellite Technology Limited, a satellite manufacture, cited certification as the biggest obstacle in further implementing additive manufacturing. However, in Chris Hamar’s talk, he did state the situation was slowly improving. Developments such as this new framework are intended accelerate this change. At the AMADS event, NASA’s Dr. Raymond Clinton also referred to this issue for implementing the technology.

Work investigating this topic is underway also at academic institutions, including the University of Birmingham where we recently learned more from Professor Attallah.

TWI has been developing Laser Metal Deposition processes for the last decade. Image via TWI.
TWI has been developing Laser Metal Deposition processes for the last decade. Image via TWI.

Lloyd’s Register, TWI certification framework 

The updated framework is called, ‘Guidance Notes for the Certification of Metallic Parts made by Additive Manufacturing.’ This update means the document now “include[s] the experience both companies have gained from client assurance and certification, joint industry projects and their involvement in standards development for additive manufacturing (AM).” 

The framework breaks down certification into, “5 key areas: design, materials, manufacturing, post-processing and inspection and testing.” Dr Chris Dungey, Joining Technologies Group Manager at TWI, said,

LR and TWI’s collaborative approach is an end-to-end model that can help clients from the earliest starting line: questioning the use of AM and how to exploit its benefits, to the eventual finish line of certifying and selling AM parts into the open market. These guidance notes support that model.

While 3D printing is integrating more and more into the manufacturing industry, collaborative projects like the creation of this framework are necessary to support implementation. Claire Ruggiero, Innovation Director at LR, touches on this saying,

Along with TWI, we have created and participated in joint industry projects across the globe to help apply our expertise directly to clients and consortiums, resulting in a safer and more certifiable approach. The 2017 guidance notes continue this approach by sharing our expertise.

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Featured image shows Prof. Attallah, of the University of Birmingham stepping on a 3D printed metal lattice Photo by edwardmoss, provided by University of Birmingham.