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Quality Assurance in Additive Manufacturing

At Stratasys Direct Manufacturing, we maintain strict quality assurance guidelines to ensure that every part we produce fulfills customer needs and represents our industry-leading standards. We hold international certifications, AS9100 and ISO 9001, which demonstrate our ability to consistently provide parts that meet customer and regulatory requirements. We aim to enhance customer satisfaction through the effective application of a stringent system that ensures superb security and traceability of all parts produced in our facilities.

Quality assurance occurs during the incoming, in-process and final production stages of production for every part. The typical process a prototype may go through is detailed below:


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Control from the Beginning

Quality assurance begins when a design is still a digital 3D model in CAD. Our expert project engineers help customers prioritize the elements of part quality they’re expecting while examining CAD 3D models. Project engineers may determine that there are elements of the preliminary design that need to be adjusted for an optimized build. This could include adjusting build orientation in order to avoid harsh layer lines or changing wall thickness to prevent warp.

Customer requirements are defined when an order is formalized. The level of quality assurance delivered to the customer is determined by the project’s application and the customer’s prioritization of cost, aesthetics, strength and materials. Once the part is approved for build, it’s tracked throughout the manufacturing process via a work order that holds all the pertinent details for the part.

 

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Initial and Final Inspections

Post-build, every part is given an initial quality control (IQC) inspection. The standard six-point inspection includes measurement of the X, Y and Z dimensions, a visual inspection of the surface finish (overall aesthetics and intact features), a flatness or warp check, and a FOD (foreign objects or debris) check. This usually occurs before the part is post-processed (ex. painted or plated) and before it’s shipped.

After post-processing and before shipment, all parts are given final inspections from the Quality Control team. The six-point inspection is used again to ensure correct measurements and specifications. If the result of these inspections are aligned with the customer’s defined needs, the parts are packaged and shipped. If needed, we can include in the shipment a certificate of conformance, which certifies the parts meet customer specifications, and/or a material certificate to confirm the material type, composition and relevant manufacturing data.

Solutions for Your Custom Needs

Because so many of the parts built with our 3D printing technologies are custom designs, they often hold custom quality assurance requirements. This is where our team shines; our quality assurance expertise lends to the development of custom quality checks and inspections perfectly suited to your application and needs.

Outside of our typical offerings we can provide complete inspection to engineering drawings, 3D laser scanning, measurement via coordinate measuring machine (CMM), verification using a fit check fixture, alternate measurement verification for specific features, like diameter and hole-to-hole, and first article inspections.

3D printing has the benefit of speed – our production processes get you to market faster than other conventional methods. However, the reduction in lead times doesn’t sacrifice the quality delivered. Our certified systems ensure you receive your part within the parameters customized to your unique requirements.

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