Voices from the metal AM industry

Racing for industrialization with Dr.-Ing. Tobias Gustmann

Interview with Dr.-Ing. Tobias Gustmann, Head of Additive Manufacturing Technologies, Alloy Design and Processing Department, Institute for Complex Materials, Leibniz IFW Dresden

Who are you?
In a nutshell: A keen material scientist, postdoctoral researcher, and powder bed fusion enthusiast with a strong focus on manipulating and shaping material properties directly during the fabrication process.

What is IFW?
The Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden (Leibniz IFW) is a legally independent, non-university research institution and member of the Leibniz Association. It is a creative place in which scientists and engineers (more than 500 employees, approximately 130 junior scientist) work closely together. They explore the physics and chemistry of materials that might be suitable for new functionalities, devices and applications. Many disciplines come together at IFW: experimental physics, theoretical solid-state physics, chemistry, materials research, materials synthesis and electrical as well as mechanical engineering.

What is your role at IFW?
At IFW, I am responsible for the development of our powder bed fusion and atomization laboratory. Both disciplines need to be closely connected to obtain a stable process, exceptional parts and to explore the alloys of the future. Conventional fabrication processes like casting or forging and modern characterization techniques are fruitful tools and, over all, create a unique working background for Metal AM. As a materials scientist and researcher, there are basically no limits at our site.

What research topics are you/your group currently working with?
Our devision ist quite diverse. Regarding Metal AM topics, we are generelly focused on the investigation of the influence of the powder bed fusion process (furthermore: laser cladding, repair welding) on the corresponding microstructure and material properties. The alloys we are working with span from biomedical and biodegradable alloys, to high-strength materials (crystalline, amorphous) for tooling and hard facing as well as to functional materials.

What would you say are the most important barriers for industrialization to overcome for the metal AM industry as whole?
There are quite a few: process complexity, a limited material portfolio, missing post-processing automation capabilities, relative high costs and, most of the time, too much “fear” regarding the utilization of AM for new products and design approaches . However, the AM community is one of the fastest growing communities worldwide and never stops developing necessary improvements or standards.

You are one of the first groups in the world getting access to AM Explorer. Why did you enter the AM Explorer early access program?
The potential I saw in the AM explorer was simply amazing. A software easy to use and powerful enough to handle tons of machine data. Most software tools address the part quality and help to better monitor the complex fusion process. By becoming part of the early access program, I feel, I can share my ideas with other enthusiast in order to push the limits of AM.

How do you plan to use AM Explorer in your work?
We are experimentally based scientists and cannot wait to connect our process data with the results we gather in our laboratories. As the AM Explorer is open for different data types (CT, microscopical sectioning), we see many possibilities to speed up our evaluation processes and, thus, save valuable time which will be used to dive deeper into the material.

What would you like to see from us in the future?
The field we are working in is very dynamic. From a material scientists’ point of view, I would be pleased to have the possibility to link material properties and its corresponding data with local part characteristics that can be analyzed by the AM Explorer in no time. This can also work vice versa, viz. proposing suitable, material related processing strategies. This would enable the freedom to create unique parts with a locally adapted behavior.

Learn more about the work at IFW Dresden:

IFW Dresden – Additive Manufacturing

Tobias Gustmann at Research gate

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