Abstract

Production efficiency and product quality need to be addressed simultaneously to ensure the reliability of large scale additive manufacturing. Specifically, print surface temperature plays a critical role in determining the quality characteristics of the product. Moreover, heat transfer via conduction as a result of spatial correlation between locations on the surface of large and complex geometries necessitates the employment of more robust methodologies to extract and monitor the data. In this paper, we propose a framework for real-time data extraction from thermal images as well as a novel method for controlling layer time during the printing process. A FLIR thermal camera captures and stores the stream of images from the print surface temperature while the Thermwood Large Scale Additive Manufacturing (LSAM) machine is printing components. A set of digital image processing tasks were performed to extract the thermal data. Separate regression models based on real-time thermal imaging data are built on each location on the surface to predict the associated temperatures. Subsequently, a control method is proposed to find the best time for printing the next layer given the predictions. Finally, several scenarios based on the cooling dynamics of surface structure were defined and analyzed, and the results were compared to the current fixed layer time policy. It was concluded that the proposed method can significantly increase the efficiency by reducing the overall printing time while preserving the quality.

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