Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New market opportunities for the European tooling industry by automated polishing

16.09.2010
Automated polishing processes can reduce the processing time of manual polishing by a factor of at least 10. Therefore an international consortium of companies and R&D centers coordinated by Fraunhofer has launched a 3.9 Million Euro project called poliMATIC.

The goal of the 3 years R&D project funded by the European Commission is to reduce the manufacturing costs of tools and to overcome the problem of missing skilled and experienced workers for manual polishing. The project partners thereby aim to open new market opportunities for the European tooling industry.

The tooling industry in Europe represents an annual turnover of 13 billion Euros. For the manufacturing of injection and die casting moulds 12 to 15 % of the manufacturing costs and 30 to 50 % of the manufacturing time fall upon to the polishing. The predominantly small and medium sized European companies specialized in polishing dies and moulds are currently facing a low-cost competition with Asia. Furthermore moving the surface finishing of the tools out of Europe is often only the first step - frequently the whole added value of the tool manufacturing is moving in a second step.

To eliminate these drawbacks a European consortium of innovative companies and R&D centers launched a 3.9 Million Euro project called poliMATIC in June 2010. This SME targeted collaborative project is funded for 3 years by the European Commission and coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT and the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in Aachen, Germany.

The overall objective of poliMATIC is the development of two automated polishing techniques with a significant shorter processing time than manual polishing (between 10 to 30 times shorter) and full CAD/CAM compatibility. With these techniques the experienced workers in SME´s specialized in polishing can focus on the more complex parts of a tool.

The roughness of the surface of dies and moulds is a crucial factor to meet the requirements of various applications. Therefore in the European tooling industry polishing techniques are widely used to achieve a suitable low surface roughness. However, the current automated techniques are predominantly based on large-area abrasion, such as electro polishing, electro-chemical polishing or drag finishing. They typically present a non-uniform polishing quality on the moulds and dies and lead to edge rounding and geometrical deviations. Furthermore deeper cavities are hardly to process. Therefore the current automated techniques are almost not applicable on parts with free-form surfaces and function relevant edges like most tools feature.

Thus polishing in the tooling industry is mostly done manually. The quality of manual polishing strongly depends on the worker’s skills and experiences to execute a very demanding but monotone work. The scarce presence of skilled craftsmen on the market generates problems to companies all over Europe to recruit suitable employees. Due to the low processing speed (typically in the range of 10 to 30 min/cm²) and the sequential workflow, the production of moulds and dies with manual polishing is time-consuming and cost-intensive.

Having outstanding advantages, the two proposed technological approaches in the project poliMATIC, both laser polishing (LP) and force-controlled robot polishing (FCRP), offer the prospect of strengthening the competitiveness of the European tooling industry by shorter process times for surface finishing. The project partners - 3 institutes and 12 companies from 8 countries - intend to implement with LP and FCRP automated polishing techniques in the production of high added value products.

During the project poliMATIC processing strategies for 3D parts and a knowledge-based CAx-framework will be developed. Another task of the project is the long time test of automated polished tools. In order to assess the automated polishing techniques in comparison to manual polishing, new measurable surface quality criteria will also be investigated. The results of the poliMATIC project will be demonstrated by automated polished complex shaped moulds and dies from industrial partners.

Contacts:
If you have any questions regarding this topic, please feel free to contact our experts:
Dr.-Ing. Edgar Willenborg
Laser Polishing
Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT
Steinbachstraße 15, 52074 Aachen, Germany
Phone +49 241 8906-213
edgar.willenborg@ilt.fraunhofer.de
M.Sc. André Drimeyer Wilbert
Robot Polishing
Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT
Steinbachstraße 17, 52074 Aachen, Germany
Phone +49 241 8904-441
andre.wilbert@ipt.fraunhofer.de

Axel Bauer | Fraunhofer-Institut
Further information:
http://www.ilt.fraunhofer.de
http://www.ipt.fraunhofer.de

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht New manufacturing process for SiC power devices opens market to more competition
14.09.2017 | North Carolina State University

nachricht Quick, Precise, but not Cold
17.05.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>