Evaluation of a High-Temperature Pre-Heating System Design for a Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing System

Rabelani Duncan Ramulifho, Kapil Gupta, Daniel Glaser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Additive Manufacturing (AM) of titanium (Ti6Al4V) material using Selective Laser Melting (SLM) may generate significant residual stresses of a tensile nature, which can cause premature component failure. The Aeroswift platform is a large volume AM machine where a high-temperature substrate preheating system is used to mitigate high thermal gradients. The current machine platform is unable to achieve a target build-plate temperature of 600 °C. This study focuses on the analysis of the preheating system design to determine the cause of its inefficiency, and the experimental testing of key components such as the heater and insulation materials. A Finite Element Analysis (FEA) model shows the ceramic heater achieves a maximum temperature of 395 °C, while the substrates (build-plates) only attain 374 °C. Analysis showed that having several metal components in contact and inadequate insulation around the heater caused heat loss, resulting in the preheating system’s inefficiency. Additionally, experimental testing shows that the insulation material used was 44% efficient, and a simple insulated test setup was only able to obtain a maximum temperature of 548.8 °C on a 20 mm thick stainless steel 304 plate, which illustrated some of the challenges faced by the current pre-heating design. New design options have been developed and FEA analysis indicates that a reduction in heat loss through improved sub-component configurations can obtain 650 °C degrees above the substrate without changing the heating element power. The development and challenges associated with the large-scale preheating system for AM are discussed, giving an insight into improving its performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1475
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • additive manufacturing
  • high-temperature insulation
  • residual stress
  • selective laser melting
  • thermal analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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