Previously often referred to as selective laser melting, the term laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) is now increasingly gaining acceptance as the official name for the colloquially known 3D metal printing process, which can be classified as a powder bed fusion process according to the ISO/ASTM 52900:2015 standard. However, due to the still young age of this technology and the fact that the industry is one of the key drivers for the further development of this manufacturing technology, there are further terms for the SLM process that are coined by the machine manufacturers for patent and trademark law reasons. ConceptLaser refers to LaserCUSING. The company EOS describes the SLM process as Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) and since 2015 the company Trumpf has re-marketed its SLM system technology as Laser Metal Fusion (LMF) systems. Using an energy-rich focused laser beam, the volume cross-section is scanned in a previously applied powder layer. The powder is then melted, which can be consolidated with the surroundings when cooled down, thus creating a solid structure. After completion of this exposure process, the building platform is lowered by a defined height and another powder layer applied, which in turn is exposed to the focused beam. This process is repeated until the component is complete. The layer build-up takes place on a metallic base plate that acts as a heat sink within the SLM process. The number of materials to be processed using SLM is steadily increasing. Processing of Fe, Al, Ti or even Ni alloys is widely used.

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