The powder-bed fusion (PBF) process is capable of producing near-fully dense metallic parts; however, various defects — particularly thermal abnormalities — can still be observed during the process. Some of these thermal defects — cracks, distortion, delamination of layers, and microporosity — cannot be removed by post-processing operations. The majority of these abnormalities are the result of residual stress, heat accumulation, lack of inter-track /inter-layer bonding, lack of powder fusion, or a combination of these factors. Modifying the scanning strategy (the topology of scanning tracks) can efficiently mitigate these abnormalities by adjusting the process parameters and adopting proper scanning patterns.
The implementation of different scanning strategies significantly changes the ultimate quality of printed parts and manufacturing process lead time. Choosing a proper scanning strategy minimizes the residual stress and internal porosity, generates homogeneous microstructure, and avoids heat accumulation throughout the part during the printing process.
In this work, we conducted a critical review of different scanning strategies, their pros and cons, limitations, and influence on the resulting properties of fabricated parts. Furthermore, we report the latest efforts for improvement of the current scanning strategies and introduce the-state-of-the-art strategies in the multi-laser PBF (ML-PBF) process. The insights provided here can assist scholars in evaluating existing scanning strategies and scanning patterns, and in identifying ways both to overcome scanning limitations and to modify them. On the other hand, it can assist manufacturers in selecting the best scanning strategies for their products based on their designs, demands, and resources.