An in-house analysis laboratory to ensure the highest quality of additive manufacturing productions

The complete mastery of the production process, with continuous tests and checks, is an indispensable element in the additive sector to guarantee the maximum quality of the productions; for this reason, Zare has decided to equip itself with an in-house analysis laboratory with the aim of controlling the production process in a timely and precise manner. A high number of tests allows evaluations to be carried out both at the level of mechanical properties and at the level of morphology, ensuring compliance with each customer's own standards.

Additive manufacturing belongs to the class of special processes and therefore requires careful control of both process and quality. Furthermore, when a new material is developed or parameterised in this context, it is necessary to use specific techniques to evaluate its mechanical and microstructural properties.

Having an in-house analysis laboratory available to the company allows the necessary analysis and tests to be carried out quickly.

The function of the laboratory

The analysis laboratory supports two complementary areas within the company: quality control and the research and development department.

The laboratory makes it possible to continuously evaluate the characteristics of the products and pieces produced and therefore to verify and refine the production process accurately and precisely. Carrying out the checks internally reduces the response times of the tests, thus maintaining the rapidity typical of additive manufacturing systems.

Always having the equipment on hand has a positive effect also in the field of Research and Development: in this way it is possible to guarantee maximum confidentiality on the parameterisation of new materials and new alloys.

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The tests carried out

The Zare analysis laboratory carries out analysis on both mechanical and microstructural properties.
Tests carried out in the laboratory include:

  • Tensile tests.
  • Macro-hardness testing (Rockwell C and Brinnell).
  • Density measurements with hydrostatic weighing.
  • Micrographic analysis.
  • Microstructural analysis with metallographic etching.

More generally, we perform:

  • material development tests to collect data and define the best process parameters;
  • ttests to check the process parameters used;
  • tests for the development and verification of heat treatments and production processes;
  • quality control tests.
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The materials and sectors that benefit most from the work of the analysis laboratory

Within the new laboratory it is possible to carry out tests on materials obtained both by traditional means (mechanical processing) and by additive manufacturing.
The classes of materials that can be investigated include metallic materials and some polymers obtained by additive manufacturing; for example, for loaded polymers, tests are carried out to evaluate the distribution of the fraction of reinforcement.

The tests carried out by the analysis laboratory, which are important for each sector, are absolutely necessary in critical sectors such as the aeronautical industry, aerospace and the biomedical sector.

In these areas, the requirements are no longer related to prototypes, but to production; tests and analysis guarantee compliance with the mechanical requirements, indicated by the designers or the supply specifications, for the parts produced that can be directly used as final functional elements.

Such strict control of mechanical and general properties can only be achieved by carrying out a high number of tests efficiently and quickly. An in-house analysis laboratory is indispensable for every service specialised in additive manufacturing which, like Zare, wants to maintain the strictest confidentiality with customer projects.

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Why we have opted for an in-house analysis laboratory

The in-house laboratory fully exploits the specific know-how that Zare has gained in the additive field and allows a complete and direct control of the entire production process, which becomes even faster and more efficient.

Moreover, the laboratory allows us to carry out, in a short period of time, a very high number of tests during all the phases of the process, be it production or research and development.

The in-house analysis laboratory and research and development centre work in synergy to offer new solutions designed for an ever-evolving additive technology. Thanks to this combination it has been possible, for example, to parameterise materials such as PA6GB40 and Aluminium HTA.

Offering new solutions to customers, making the most of the potential of additive technologies and obtaining functional crucial products are the reasons that led Zare to set up an in-house analysis laboratory.