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 CeGlaFlex project: wafer-thin, unbreakable and flexible ceramic and glass
25.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Additive manufacturing, from macro to nano
11.04.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>