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Case Study: Control and Metrology System for a laser sintering machine

We are developing a control and metrology system for a laser sintering machine.

The metrology project uses an advanced digitally controlled scan head to direct a laser onto the target area, where the laser position and quality can be analysed by a range of sensor’s. These include a beam profiler which can be dynamically moved under PC control within the working area to evaluate the beam shape and intensity. In addition we also use an array of Position Sensing Diode’s (PSD) to track the position and repeatability of the laser spot as directed by the scan head. The PSD outputs are calibrated into a real word co-ordinate system via a high resolution GigE camera which in positioned to monitor the laser position across the working area.

In addition to the metrology aspect of the project we are also looking into the control software required to operate a laser sintering machine which is used to produce complex 3D metallic parts. The software has to control the laser head as the part is built layer by layer over many hours. The process requires precise control of the laser and process parameters required to successfully build a quality part.

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