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Improving confidence in additive manufacturing

We’re helping to unlock the benefits of new manufacturing techniques through standardisation

The need

Additive manufacturing, where components are built up layer-by-layer enables manufacturers to create highly complex custom objects, and has the potential to significantly reduce wastage, time and cost in manufacturing.

The technique is increasingly being used to make components in the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors and is ideally suited to making high-value parts, which is a key strength in the UK manufacturing sector. However, uptake of the process has been hampered by concerns over reliability and repeatability and due to the comparative immaturity of the technology, there is currently a lack of the standardisation needed to underpin a wider uptake.

The Impact

NPL is working to develop testing standards to improve confidence in part performance, especially for safety critical applications. 

We can provide businesses with better measurements of the input materials, in-process measurements to improve stability and quality, and non-destructive testing to validate the performance of ‘batch-of-one’ parts.

To drive improved standardisation work in the UK, NPL is working with the STFC, MTC and BSI to develop a co-ordinated approach to the development of certification and validation of additive manufacturing made parts, with industry and academia. Delivering greater standardisation of additive manufacturing, will enable industry to gain greater confidence in the safety, quality and performance of their products, and achieve the flexibility to deliver improved parts to their customers.