Selective Heat Sintering Versus Laser Sintering: Comparison of Deposition Rate, Process Energy Consumption and Cost Performance

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Baumers, M.
Tuck, C.
Hague, R.

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University of Texas at Austin


The Selective Heat Sintering (SHS) process has become available as a low cost alternative to Laser Sintering (LS) for the additive deposition of polymer objects. While both processes belong to the powder bed fusion variant of Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology, their operating principles vary significantly: SHS employs a thermal print head to selectively fuse material powder, whereas the LS approach utilizes a laser beam coupled with a galvanometer. Based on a series of build experiments, this research compares these technology variants along three dimensions of process efficiency: deposition rate (measured in cm³/h), specific process energy consumption (MJ/kg) and specific cost ($/cm³). To ensure that both platforms are assessed under the condition of efficient technology utilization, an automatic build volume packing algorithm is employed to configure a subset of build experiments. Beyond reporting absolute and relative process performance, this paper additionally investigates how sensitive the compared processes are to a variation in the degree of capacity utilization and discusses the application of different levels of indirect cost in models of low cost AM.


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