Additive manufacturing (AM) is a hot trend that is discussed amongst many industries. In the field of AM with metal powders the methods Laser Metal Fusion and Laser Metal Deposition are widely used. Each process offers a variety of advantages as well as limitations. LMF (commonly described as 3D printing) can produce very finely detailed structures at high resolution and surface quality at a part complexity that subtractive manufacturing cannot offer. Compared to other additive manufacturing methods it offers superior accuracy and quality.

LMD (or DMD, direct metal deposition) has higher deposition rates and can add structures to existing components, but is limited in complexity when compared to LMF. It is used in a broad range of applications, from adding hard wearing coatings, repair work to structure build-up.

Both processes are common in many industries including medical/dental, tool & die, consumer goods, energy, aerospace, R&D and automotive.

Given the high complexity of the medium used, metal powders and lasers, the complexity of the entire process chain requires users to have a broad materials, software and process knowledge to be successful and competitive. This presentation will introduce the process basics, capabilities and limitations and the required knowledge and equipment to newcomers in the additive manufacturing world.

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