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3D Printing & Additive Manufacturing

Monitoring and regulation of temperatures during every process stage of 3D Printing & Additive Manufacturing is critical to ensure high quality parts production.  Optris provides a full family of infrared temperature sensors and three short-wavelength IR cameras optimized for temperature measurements on metal targets.  Short wave infrared cameras are becoming increasingly popular for temperature monitoring in additive manufacturing because they can easily monitor temperatures on the entire weld pool and track temperature data on the hottest spot eliminating the need to precisely target a single spot sensor.  Optris IR cameras are now used in many additive manufacturing applications as an integral tool to increase both production yield and product quality.

Laser Metal Deposition (LMD)

Laser Metal Deposition (LMD)
©Zyabich - stock.adobe.com


The Laser Metal Deposition is an additive production process that uses a laser beam to form a pool of molten metal on a metallic substrate. The metal powder is brought into that melt pool continuously via a nozzle.  The sensor for temperature measurement must withstand the high energy density of the laser or its reflections. Mostly a solid laser working at 1064nm or sometimes a CO2-Laser (10.6 µm ) is used. The heat distribution behind the beam is an indication of a good or bad welding quality. For that reason imagers like the PI 08M give the most information of the process compared to a single point pyrometer where one spot temperature is given only.

Recommended devices:

Thermal imager optris PI 08M, optris PI 05M or optris PI 1M

Selective Laser Melting (SLM)

Selective Laser Melting (SLM)

The Selective Laser Melting is an additive manufacturing technique developed to melt and fuse metallic powder via a high power density laser. The body of the designed 3D part is built by selective melting and re-solidifying metallic powders in each layer. The building platform is lowered by a tiny fraction and a new layer of powder is deposited.
The powder bed typically is preheated to reduce the needed energy to reach the melting temperature of the powder. An equal heat distribution is necessary and important for a good quality object with homogenous metal structure. An Optris IR Imager, e.g. PI 640i can measure the bed temperature and this is an important information for the machine if it’s in good or bad condition. Additionally the single areas of laser melting can be measured by a short wavelength camera, such as the PI 08M.

Recommended devices:

Laser Power:  optris PI 05M or optris PI 08M
Powderbed: PI / Xi / Pyrometer LT


Cladding / Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM)


The Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing is a combination of two processes: Gas Metal Arc Welding and additive manufacturing. The metal wire is melted by using an electric arc and deposited layer by layer until a desired 3D shape is created. The heat of the former layer may influence the shape of the next layer. A temperature monitoring during the cladding process and the information of the heat distribution gives feedback of the quality of the welding process.

Recommended devices:

Thermal imager optris PI 08M or optris PI 05M

Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF/FDM)

Fused Filament Fabrication

The Fused Filament Fabrication is a form of additive manufacturing where filament is fused together to fabricate a solid part. It is an extrusion process where the object is built by depositing molten material layer-by-layer and frequently makes use of Carbon Fiber Composites. The building platform is raised by a small distance and a new layer of filament is deposited. One issue for a good 3D printed product is the heat distribution of the base. Uneven temperature distribution may lead to unwanted shrinking effects, especially for large scale objects. Measuring the nozzle of the extruder gives feedback of the function itself, if the filament is still moving and it can also provide the control of extruder temperature for steady and even filament flow.

Recommended devices:

Thermal imager optris PI 640i or Pyrometer LT


©josefkubes - stock.adobe.com

The filament is a certain kind of printing material used by the Fused Filament Fabrication type 3D printer. It is produced into one continuous slender plastic thread in hundred meters long which is usually spooled onto a reel. Determined by the thermal extrusion process the raw material of filament can be thermoplastic or metal.

Recommended devices:

Thermal imager optris PI 640i or Pyrometer LT

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Download Brochure 3D Printing_&_AM.pdf Application overview 3D Printing & Additive Manufacturing (2.3 MB)


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