Boeing had 44 patents in 3D printing during Q3 2023. One patent describes a method for detecting surface imperfections in real-time during the manufacturing process. Another patent involves fabricating a workpiece from an aluminum alloy and applying a conversion coating to its surface. A coated sheet patent focuses on promoting fusion between adjacent sheets during additive manufacturing by using a coating polymer material that can be heated with electromagnetic radiation. Additionally, Boeing has patented a method for designing a test fixture for vibration tests and a gas atomized metal matrix composite (GAMMC) feedstock for cold spray additive manufacturing, which enables complex structural repairs. The GAMMC-based feedstock consists of metal particles embedded with ceramic particles, providing strength and preventing degradation of mechanical properties in repaired parts. GlobalData’s report on Boeing gives a 360-degreee view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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Boeing grant share with 3D printing as a theme is 73% in Q3 2023. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Recent Patents

Application: Automated inspection of foreign materials, cracks and other surface anomalies (Patent ID: US20230273132A1)

The patent filed by The Boeing Co. describes a method and system for real-time surface imperfection detection in additive manufacturing and 3D printing parts. The method involves directing a uniform chromatic light onto a target area of the part using one or more illumination sources. This light is then scattered or reflected by the target area and captured by one or more feedback cameras. The current image of the scattered or reflected light is analyzed using the feedback cameras and a previously acquired image to determine the presence or absence of surface imperfections.

The system described in the patent includes an additive manufacturing chamber where the part is being manufactured. It also includes one or more illumination sources that produce the uniform chromatic light, and one or more filters to condition the light. The conditioned light illuminates the target area of the part. The system further includes one or more feedback cameras that capture the scattered or reflected light and determine the presence of surface imperfections based on this light. A controller is connected to the illumination sources and feedback cameras and adjusts the illumination sources to produce a third light radiation that homogenizes the reflected light based on feedback from the cameras.

The patent also describes additional features of the system, such as the use of a noble gas introduced through a valve in the additive manufacturing chamber. The uniform chromatic light matches the background area of the target area, and the controller can stop or continue the additive manufacturing process based on the presence or absence of surface imperfections. The illumination sources can be light emitting diodes, organic light emitting diodes, or lasers, with individual control over each element to produce different hues, saturations, or colors. The surface imperfections are detected by analyzing the hue and saturation of the scattered or reflected light to distinguish between anomalies.

In summary, the patent filed by The Boeing Co. describes a method and system for real-time surface imperfection detection in additive manufacturing and 3D printing parts. The system includes an additive manufacturing chamber, illumination sources, feedback cameras, and a controller. The method involves directing uniform chromatic light onto the target area, capturing the scattered or reflected light, and analyzing it to determine the presence or absence of surface imperfections. The system has additional features such as the use of a noble gas, matching the chromatic light to the background area, and the ability to stop or continue the manufacturing process based on the imperfection detection.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.