7/29/2019 | 3 MINUTE READ

Video: What is Directed Energy Deposition?

DED is an additive manufacturing process that builds features or parts in metal by placing material where needed.


Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

Directed energy deposition (DED) is a metal additive manufacturing (AM) process in which there is no powder bed, but instead metal is precisely applied where it’s needed. I talked about DED with Tim Bell of Siemens, who was with BeAM when this video was filmed. Also seen here is Gene Granata of CGTech—hear him talk about simulation in DED in this related video.


Peter Zelinski, Additive Manufacturing
Directed Energy Deposition (DED) is a metal additive process often applied on the machine, very much like a CNC machine tool. That means it can use technology that aids CNC machining.

I recently had a conversation about an example of this simulation software.

Tim Bell, Siemens
We have a part in our booth today that has 11 million lines of G code. Parts about 11 inches in diameter, about 12 inches tall. It's a simulated rocket nozzle with a dual wall that allows structures inside of it. It's a very small part. If you go to the rocket engine manufacturers, they're going to want to build a very large one of these. It can easily be 500 million lines of code. Then it becomes very dicey.

Peter Zelinski  
How did you first recognize the value, the need for simulation?

Tim Bell  
We wrote a program; we didn't have simulation software; we drove the nozzle into the part at the end of the program. So the programmer didn't notice that, when he built the part, the very last line said ‘go back to Z zero.’ And that's what it tried to do. Had we had Vericut, we wouldn't have lost $20,000 – $30,000 in hardware and Lord knows how many hours of time we lost.

Peter Zelinski  
First, describe what Vericut is, simply from the machine tool world.

Gene Granata, CG Tech 
Vericut is a CNC software that takes the G-code file that Tim was just talking about, and using a digital twin of that machine, it simply executes the code. The machine kinematics are built-in.

Peter Zelinski  
CG Tech began adapting this for additive about how long ago?

Gene Granata  
Oh, I would say 10-15 years ago we started off into the light tape world and the tape lane technologies. In many ways, this technology that we're talking about with directed energy deposition is similar. It's got similar patterns and profiles in process sheet and controlling directions. So, not that big of a step for us. We've been in it for a long time.

Peter Zelinski  
Are there any particular challenges to realizing accurate simulation of a DED process?

Gene Granata  
When you're applying metal to a part and you're welding beads and laying tracks down, there are some differences and variances about how that material builds up, which is one of the biggest challenges a programmer has. As he's building a part, it's changing with every well bead you're attaching to it. So keeping track of where everything is and the more complex the part, the more challenging that is. As it builds, it will build at different rates, [and] there are different problems, problems completely unrelated in the subtractive world, that need to get incorporated into the simulation.

Peter Zelinski  
In addition to using simulation to validate the tool path or the deposition path, you're also using it to validate the parameters of the process. Talk about that a little bit.

Gene Granata  
In the additive world, the programmers got a whole new slew of codes that are controlling these high tech punches, like the laser, the wattage, the material flow, the gas flow, [and] how much has gone into the part; we call it a recipe of parameters. If the recipe is good, you'll get a good part and it'll build in a consistent way because you've got a program running around expecting it to build at a certain rate. If you don't build it fast enough, pretty soon you're getting farther and farther away from your work piece, and now material isn't sticking, and it's thinning out, and you have all kinds of problems with that. We're checking those parameters in Vericut so you know if you're within the guidelines for that particular metal. They could be different for different metals you're depositing as well. We can let programmers store that as a library and [it] helps them keep track of their process.



Hand holding a crystal ball

We’d rather send you $15 than rely on our crystal ball…

It’s Capital Spending Survey season and the manufacturing industry is counting on you to participate! Odds are that you received our 5-minute Metalworking / Plastics survey from Additive Manufacturing in your mail or email. Fill it out and we’ll email you $15 to exchange for your choice of gift card or charitable donation. Are you in the U.S. and not sure you received the survey? Contact us to access it.

Help us inform the industry and everybody benefits.