Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

SINTERCER Report Summary

Project ID: 316232
Funded under: FP7-REGPOT
Country: Poland

Final Report Summary - SINTERCER (Development of a sintering centre and know-how exchange for non equilibrium sintering methods of advanced ceramic composite materials)

Executive Summary:
The SINTERCER project aimed at unlocking, enhancement and development of the research potential of the SINTERCER Centre, which is an integral part of the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technology (IOS), located in Krakow, Poland. This aim was achieved mainly through:
• increasing international cooperation with top-class European Research Centres (with particular emphasis put on the exchange of knowledge and know-how and practical industrial applicability of the solutions proposed) through twinning activities – within the project there have been realized more than 100 working visits of experienced scientists between IOS and 12 research groups from 11 Partnering Institution from Finland, Estonia, Poland, Germany, Austria, Romania, Italy, Spain and Portugal;
• employment of experienced scientists for conducting researches with IOS employees;
• supporting professional scientific development and enhancing the expertise of the Centre’s staff through participation in international scientific events (conferences, seminars, workshops, etc.), organisation of international conferences, seminars and workshops;
• eliminating equipment-related limitations to the scope of researches that are carried out in the Centre. This involved: (i) adapting the existing equipment to create an innovative HP-HT SPS device (to broaden the scope of research carried out in the field of obtaining materials in non-equilibrium conditions) and (ii) the purchase of an X-ray diffractometer equipment and dilatometer to broaden the range of methods that will be used in the Centre for the studies of material properties.

The activities being performed in the project enabled further development and greater scope of research with the use of non-equilibrium sintering methods for advanced ceramic composite materials. With the project investments has been retrofitted with modern devices for sintering. Modern techniques allow to connect sintering materials, the sintering of which is not possible using traditional methods. This gives enormous potential application to produce materials using these non-equilibrium sintering methods for advanced ceramic composite materials.
SINTERCER project conducted at the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technology paid important role in raising awareness in industry and society of the modern techniques used for hard and superhard materials production and shaping, as well as techniques used for investigations of developed materials.
Project Context and Objectives:
The concept of the SINTERCER project was to unlock, enhance and develop the research potential of the SINTERCER Centre, which is an integral part of the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technology (IOS), situated in Poland - one of the EU’s Convergence regions. This concept was realised mainly through:
• increasing international cooperation with top-class European Research Centres (with particular emphasis put on the exchange of knowledge and know-how and practical industrial applicability of the solutions proposed)
• supporting professional scientific development and enhancing the expertise of the Centre’s staff through twinning activities and participation in international scientific events (conferences, seminars, workshops, etc.)
• eliminating equipment-related limitations to the scope of research that can be carried out in the Centre. This involves: (i) adapting the existing equipment to create an innovative HP-HT SPS device (to broaden the scope of research carried out in the field of obtaining materials in non-equilibrium conditions) and (ii) the purchase of an X-ray diffractometer equipment and dilatometer to broaden the range of methods that will be used in the Centre for the studies of material properties.
The activities performed in the project enable further development and greater scope of research with the use of non-equilibrium sintering methods for advanced ceramic composite materials. With the investment project has been retrofitted with a few modern devices for sintering. Modern techniques allow to connect sintering materials, the sintering of which is not possible using traditional methods. This gives enormous potential application to produce materials using these non-equilibrium sintering methods for advanced ceramic composite materials.
According to the strategy, the idea of the SINTERCER project was to enhance potential in the following fields:
I. Development of the non–equilibrium sintering processes (Ultra High Pressure High Temperature (HP-HT) sintering, Spark Plasma Sintering (FAST/SPS), Microwave sintering, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)) focusing on new advanced materials obtaining such as:
• thermoelectric materials of high efficiency,
• heat absorption materials,
• nanomaterials,
• high melting-point materials with low friction coefficient,
• sintered materials with metastable phase content,
• high melting-point materials.
II. Design and development of a unique and innovative hybrid device for FAST (Spark Plasma Sintering) in ultra-high pressure.
III. Advance material properties obtained using non equilibrium methods of sintering:
• improvement of test methods for new groups of materials,
• linking the role of stress with the properties of materials derived non equilibrium techniques
The general concept of the project lead to 8 main objectives.
1 - Better integration of the SINTERCER Centre in the European Research Area (partnerships with research groups elsewhere in Europe) through: organization of twinning activities, workshops, seminars and conferences;
2 - Strengthening SINTERCER human potential through: employing top-class experienced international researchers, staff secondments
3 – Improvement of research capacity for effective contribution to regional economic and social development: including co-operation with two leading regional research institutions and organizing seminars and conferences with the participation of regional representatives of the industry, including SMEs (the Malopolska Region);
4 – Improvement of participation of SINTERCER Centre in Horizon 2020 and other important European programmes (submission of min. two EU project proposals);
5 – Improvement of the SINTERCER innovation potential through developing a new group of materials - materials for storage and conversion of thermal energy; ceramic nanomaterials;
6 – Upgrading, development or acquisition of modern research equipment (design, construction and montage of a High Pressure FAST/SPS apparatus; purchase of diffractometer equipment; purchase of high temperature dilatometer)
7 – Elaboration of a strategic Intellectual Property development plan; protection and innovation capacity building (due to cooperation and employment of specialists to the project,
8 – Dissemination and promotion of achievements of SINTERCER Centre in order to increase its visibility in society: promotional events, publications, on-line project promotion (website, promotional video etc.), promotional materials (brochures, posters, leaflets).
In order to achieve the main goal of the Project, which was to strengthen the potential of the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technology in Kraków and SINTERCER Centre to play important role in the international research in the area of materials science, six interrelated Work Packages (WP) had been planned, each consisting of several tasks. Apart 6 main WorkPackagesm, there were two additional / supporting ones planned: WP1 – Management and WP8 – evaluation. The proposed activities to be carried out by the IOS over three years (with an extra 6 month evaluation phase – WP8) were a logical strategic plan to position the IOS and SINTERCER Centre as a leading centre in materials science and materials machining technology.
The whole Project duration was divided in 3 reporting periods:
1st June, 2013 – 30th November, 2014;
1st December, 2014 – 31st May, 2016 and
1st June, 2016 – 30th November, 2016.
A dedicated project International Advisory Board (IAB) was formed in order to ensure high impact and sustainability of the Project results and to strengthen its European components. IAB gathered internationally renowned scientists but also representatives of Polish government, local industry and regional institutions supporting innovative companies. The following persons constituted the SINTERCER IAB:
- Prof. Horst Hahn, Technische Universitat Darmstadt, Germany,
- Prof. José Manuel Torralba, IMDEA-Materials, Madrid, Spain,
- Prof. Giacomo Cao, University of Cagliari, Italy,
- Prof. Joseph A. McGeough, The Edinburgh University, United Kingdom,
- Prof. Paola Palmero, Politecnico di Torino, Italy,
- Prof. Eberhard Burkel, University of Rostock, Germany,
- Prof. Zbigniew Pedzich, President of the Polish Ceramic Society,
- Rafał Solecki, President of the Malopolska Centre of Entrepreneurship, Poland,
- Mariusz Tomecki, Traxelectronic Cracow, Poland,
- Henryk Nastalski, Polish Ministry of Economy, Head of the Department of Supervised and Subordinate Units, Poland.
- Dr Miguel A. Rodríguez, Institute of Ceramics and Glass (ICV-CSIC), Madrid, Spain
- Dr Jesús Tartaj, Institute of Ceramics and Glass (ICV-CSIC), Madrid, Spain
- Dr Nicoletta Popescu Pogrion, National Institute of Materials Physics (NIMP), Bucharest
- Prof. Simo-Pekka Hannula, Aalto University School of Chemical Technology, Espoo, Finland
- Dr Erich Neubauer, RHP-Technology GmbH & Co. KG (RHP), Seibersdorf, Austria
- Prof. Robertt Valente, Universidade de Aveiro(UA), Aveiro, Portugal
- Prof. Tomasz Czeppe, Institute of Metallurgy and Materials Science of Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków, Poland
- Prof. Krzysztof Wojciechowski, AGH University of Science and Technology, Kraków, Poland
- Dr Carolina Clausell-Terol, Universitat Jaume I, Spain
- Prof. Antonio Barba-Juan, Universitat Jaume I, Spain
- Prof. Irina Hussainova, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia
Work Package 1 (Management) was devoted to coordination and management of the activities performed under the project. Overall project coordination and management, which includes also all tasks concerning managerial activities in separate WP’s was gathered in WP1. SINERCER project was managed by the Steering Committee (consisting of coordinator, WP leaders and Institute authorities) with help of the Institute administrative staff in accordance with its internal rules and regulations, compliant and consistent with Polish law and EC guidelines for FP7 projects.
WP2 (Reinforcing SINTERCER human resources potential by recruitment of experienced researchers) aimed at building capacity by attracting and retaining top-level scientists. Within the project there were 3 persons employed for a period longer than 12 months (1 person responsible for finite element method modelling of sintering processes and 2 crystallographers).
SINTERCER project allowed also employment of 10 experienced researchers from abroad (Japan, Bellarus, Russia, Germany, France, Slovakia, Ukraine).
WP3 (Capacity building through acquisition, development and upgrading of research equipment) involved purchase of modern equipment (2 main items) and upgrade of equipment which is already in use of the SINTERCER team (1 item). Main purchases were realized in the first period of project realisation. In the second period, device for new sintering technique (HP-HT SPS) was developed. Savings on the main purchases allowed also to build and purchase additional devices (3 items). To provide appropriate conditions for scientist and to meet requirements of purchased equipment, selected SINTERCER laboratories were renovated.
WP4 (Mutual exchange of knowledge with partnering organizations) allowed scientific exchange with 11 European research institutions (12 research groups participated in twinning activities, originally 10 groups were planned):
- Politecnico di Torino (POLITO), Torino, Italy
- Institute of Ceramics and Glass (ICV-CSIC), Madrid, Spain (2 research groups),
- University Institute of Ceramic Technology of the Jaume I University of Castellón (IUTC), Castellón, Spain
- University of Rostock (UR), Rostock, Germany
- National Institute of Materials Physics (NIMP), Bucharest – Măgurele, Romania
- Aalto University School of Chemical Technology, Espoo, Finland
- RHP-Technology GmbH & Co. KG (RHP), Seibersdorf, Austria
- Universidade de Aveiro(UA), Aveiro, Portugal
- Tallinn University of Technology (TUT), Tallinn, Estonia
- University of Science and Technology (AGH), Cracow, Poland
- Institute of Metallurgy and Materials Science of Polish Academy of Sciences (IMIM), Cracow, Poland
During 40 months of WP4 realization 43 outgoing from Institute and 61 incoming to Institute secondments have been performed. Performed secondments assured transfer of know-how in research methods. Outcome of this work package involved joint publications and research grants applications.
WP5 (Enhancing expertise and advances in scientific knowledge through workshops,seminars and conferences) involved organization of
- 4 workshops (materials used for thermal energy storage and conversion; HP-HT and SPS sintering of ceramics; HP-HT and SPS sintering of nanomaterials; programming of parameters for SPS sintering) – gathering 169 participants ;
- 4 seminars (materials for energy storage; advanced pressure methods of materials sintering; properties of nanomaterials; field assisted sintering) – gathering 211 participants;
- 2 international conferences on innovative manufacturing technologies – gathering 156 participants;
Within WP5 there was also provided financial support to 53 Institute employees (including SINTERCER) to facilitate their participation in international conferences, workshops and seminars.
WP6 (Increasing of SINTERCER visibility in Europe) aimed at increasing awareness of the society about materials science, SINTERCER Centre and the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technology. Within the SINTERCER project, promotional movie, papers in general newspapers, brochures and leaflets about Institute and SINTERCER Centre were prepared. All promotional materials are available on the SINTERCER project website and youtube channel. WP6 provided also financial support for participation of Institute employees in invention shows and international trade fairs (4 events). Within the WP6 there were also organized Institute Open Days (3 times) and Małopolska Scientists Night (2 times), gathering altogether ~350 visitors in the Institute labs).
WP7 (Protection of intellectual property) allowed organization of trainings for SINTERCER and Institute employees in the area of IP protection and invention commercialization. There were organized two courses on IP protection regulations and preparation of patent application with hands-on workshop. Third course concerned commercialization of invention, including methods of invention value evaluation, as well as presentation of research / invention – elevator pitch.
WP8 (Evaluation of SINTERCER/Institute research potential) The impact of SINTERCER project on the Institute and its research potential have been evaluated by a team of independent experts after the completion of all other activities. .
Within the SINTERCER project lifetime, in organization of events within the project, as well as day to day work, group of 32 members of Institute staff were involved (of which 18 were women).
Within the project all of the 5 milestones were achieved and 28 Deliverables were submitted on time or with minor delays.
Total estimated staff effort for the Project was 149 person-months. Actual staff effort was recorded at 154 person-months.

Project Results:
SINTERCER project was scheduled for 42 months. Within this time we have successfully realized all of the planned tasks. Activities carried out throughout the project significantly improved the scientific potential and international recognition in the scientific society of materials science of Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technology and particularly SINTERCER Centre. All of the project objectives and goals were achieved. For the needs of project realization evaluation, set of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) was designed, reflecting to project objectives – list of KPI’s is presented in Attachment 1.
WP 1 - Management
SINTERCER Project management was performed within the Work Package 1, which was devoted to coordination and management of the activities performed under the project. Overall project coordination and management, which included also all tasks concerning managerial activities in separate WP’s was gathered in WP1.
The main activities concerning management and coordination of the project:
- planning, coordination and control the technical, exploitation and administrative tasks;
- ensuring quality of processes, results and deliverables;
- project progress monitoring and reporting;
- ensuring the successful performance of the project and fulfilment of all tasks on schedule;
- organization of Steering Committee and International Advisory Board Meetings;
- management and control of project finances and resources.
The management of the SINTERCER Project was distributed according to different levels of activities. It was structured and procedures have been established basing on our know- how and previous experience gained during management and coordination of activities in previous and on-going projects. The managerial structure of the SINTERCER project consisted of 3 levels:
Level 1 - reffering to the overall project management, coordination and control. It gathered:
Project Coordinator (PC) – responsible for overseeing the execution of the overall scientific goals of the project,
Project Manager (PM) – responsible for overall day-to-day management of SINTERCER, ensuring quality and time keeping of deliverables; communicating with EC and external contacts of the project, assisting work package leaders in their tasks; organization of Project meetings; organization of work and communication with Advisory Board members and External Evaluators;
Project Financial Manager (PFM) – responsible for legal, contractual and financial management of the project
Level 2 - consisting of Work Package Leaders. This group was responsible for:
- execution of works in the respective Work Packages;
- monitoring of the progress of achievement of respective milestones;
- reporting to the Project Coordinator on work progress and deliverables achieved.
Level 3 – consisted of Task Leaders. Their main responsibility was ensuring timely and effective execution of individual tasks, as well as cooperation with the research groups from Partnering Organizations (when necessary) and other activities defined in each Work Package at the task level.
Important role in the project for reaching the project objectives paid Partnering Institutions, without whose involvement it would be impossible to reach the objectives. Representatives of the leading European research Centres, but also representatives of Polish government and local industry formed a project International Advisory Board (IAB). During the project realisation period, there were organised 3 IAB meeting, during which we got positive but also constructive criticism feedback concerning crucial aspects of for meeting the project objectives (i.e.: secondment workplan and schedule, implementation of inventions in industry, cooperation in the area of project applications, participation in international scientific and research societies and organizations).
Among tasks realized within WP1 was organization of IAB, Experts and internal Project / Steering Committee meetings. During 42 months of project realization following meetings were organized:
- SINTERCER Project kick-off meeting: (M3) 29.08.2013;
- 1st Meeting of International Advisory Board: (M3) 29-30.08.2013;
- 2nd Meeting of International Advisory Board: (M19) 03.12.2014;
- 3rd Meeting of International Advisory Board: (M35) 13.04.2016;
- Working Meeting with External Experts: (M40) 15-16.09.2016
- Round Table / Evaluation Meeting (IAB + External Experts): (M42) 24.11.2016
19 Steering Committee Meetings (SCM):
- 1st Steering Committee Meeting: (M1) 14.06.2013
- 2nd Steering Committee Meeting: (M5) 04.10.2013
- 3rd Steering Committee Meeting: (M7) 12.12.2013
- 4th Steering Committee Meeting: (M9) 11.02.2014
- 5th Steering Committee Meeting: (M11) 08.04.2014
- 6th Steering Committee Meeting: (M14) 04.07.2014
- 7th Steering Committee Meeting: (M17) 08.10.2014
- 8th Steering Committee Meeting: (M18) 24.11.2014
- 9th Steering Committee Meeting: (M20) 15.01.2015
- 10th Steering Committee Meeting: (M22) 16.03.2015
- 11th Steering Committee Meeting: (M25) 30.06.2015
- 12th Steering Committee Meeting: (M28) 08.09.2015
- 13th Steering Committee Meeting: (M31) 15.12.2015
- 14th Steering Committee Meeting: (M33) 02.02.2016
- 15th Steering Committee Meeting: (M35) 05.04.2016
- 16th Steering Committee Meeting: (M36) 24.05.2016
- 17th Steering Committee Meeting: (M39) 24.08.2016
- 18th Steering Committee Meeting: (M40) 24.09.2016
- 19th Steering Committee Meeting: (M42) 14.11.2016
Meeting of the SINTERCER Steering Committee were held on the regular basis, for the needs of summarizing works performed and plan of workplan for the following period. In case of important event organized within the project (IAB meeting, Seminar, Conference etc.) there were additional SCM meetings devoted to these events with other Institute employees, who were cooperating in the event organization.
SINTERCER project was planned for 42 months (36 months for realization of WP2-WP7 plus 6 months for evaluation – WP8). Due to planned secondments and conferences in months 37-40, it was agreed, in annex to grant agreement, with Commission to extend WP2, WP4, and WP5 by 4 months (they ended in 09.2016 vs initially planned 05.2016).
Another aspect of the WP1 realization was reporting. Periodic reports (scientific and financial) have been prepared within WP1. All reporting duties were under responsibility of the Project Coordinator and Project Manager – with support from workpackage leaders and other persons involved in project realisation. Apart from periodic reporting 28 Deliverables (reports) were submitted to the EC. Within this workpackage there have been scheduled 3 deliverables referring directly to the WP1 concerning action plans and reports of their realisation prepared periodically every 3 months.
All of the 5 Project Milestones were achieved. All the 28 Deliverables were completed and submitted to the EC, some with minor delays

WP 2 - Reinforcing SINTERCER human resources potential by recruitment of experienced researchers
Workackage 2 was divided into 2 tasks:
Task 2.1 Non-equilibrium sintering proceses
Task 2.2 Advance material properties obtained using non-equilibrium methods of sintering
For the vacancies within the project three persons were employed covering 1 year FTE (position of Finite Element Method Modeller) and 2 years FTE (position of crystallographer).
Within the task 2.1 there were conducted actions concerning employee market penetration in the positions of crystallographer and FEM modeller. Discussions in the IOS and with academia people concerning minimal requirements for these positions resulted in the job advertisements published online (IOS web page and recruitment agency portal) as well as newspapers – details are described in D2.1. Due to lack of the potential employees for the full time for position of crystallographer, it was agreed to employ 2 persons without any changes to the total budget of WP2.
Employment of crystallographers allowed to perform hands on, long term training of the SINTERCER employees involved in diffractometer and SEM analysis of materials. Experienced crystallographers conducted also series of courses in the field of crystallography and x-ray diffraction for the young employees incorporating basics of crystallography and crystallo-chemistry. These experienced scientists were also involved in phase analysis of materials, measurements of the crystallites size in materials sintered using non-equilibrium methods (SPS and HPHT); measurement of residual stress in ceramic materials sintered using non-equilibrium methods: SPS, HPHT and conventional methods; Study of the phase transformations occurring in the Ta-B system (Ta+B mixtures and sintered materials) in an oxidizing atmosphere, at high temperatures and during the heating to the high temperatures.
During his work for IOS, FEM modeller, specialist in mathematical and FEM modelling of material properties, focused on: Development of theoretical assumptions of the model describing the state of thermal stresses in ceramic materials after sintering non-equilibrium methods; Creation of mathematical model and performing of calculations using suitable computer programs; Development of research plan to allow experimental verification of the mathematical model; Modification of the developed mathematical model based on experimental results; Determination of the effect of thermal stress on the properties of sintered materials, developed basing on a theoretical model. Developed models were passed to IOS scientists. They are currently used for simulating the sintering (especially HP-HT) of materials. Simulations of sintering conditions allow to reduce number of experiments and simplify process of choosing parameters for proper process conditions.
Within the WP2 there was also employed group of 10 scientists from abroad for the period of 1-6 months. The second task (2.2) of WP2 allowed us to employ specialists for the modernization of HP-HT system from Belarus and Ukraine. During their work for SINTERCER project, modifications to the electrics and control system of the HP-HT equipment were performed. There were upgrades of the control and safety system hardware mainly referring to the implementation of the modern PLC controller with HMI based on the touch screen enabling precise and save control of the HP-HT equipment. The modified system enables precise definition and execution of heating curves for various sintered materials. Applied safety features reduce number of hazards for HP-HT operators, what is especially important for working with scientists from partnering institutions coming for secondments to IOS.
Important part of works performed by specialists from Belarus (specializing in the HP-HT process) concerned teaching the SINTERCER people how to calibrate the temperature and heating current of the HP-HT equipment. They were also testing gaskets that could be applied to the ultra high pressure apparatus.
Experienced scientists who joined the SINTERCER team brought in touch some modern techniques of obtaining materials, especially engaged in sintering of nanomaterials and development of test methods for new groups of materials. There were introduced the latest tendency in the field of non-equilibrium preparation of sintering materials under high. Presented methodology and detailed results of the experiments showed behaviour of various materials under the influence of strong gravitational field and shock compression process. Sedimentation processes of the various elements atoms under the influence of strong gravitational field and formation of gradient and laminar structures were also discussed.
During their work for IOS, altogether 21 Person months, experienced scientists from abroad played important role of mentors for the young researchers from IOS. Their expertise and engagement allowed to bring new research ideas and enhanced researchers for conducting experiments exceeding currently known limits.

WP 3 - Capacity building through acquisition, development and upgrading of research equipment
WP3 aimed at improvement of SINTERCER research potential by upgrading SINTERCER research equipment with specialized units: dilatometer and diffractometer. Also High Pressure-High Temperature apparatus was adapted to the High Pressure SPS. For effective realization of tasks, and reaching the project objectives, WP3 was divided into 3 tasks:
Task 3.1 Sintering Processes and Research Department
Task 3.2 Surface Engineering and Tribology Laboratory
Task 3.3 Section L2 Accredited Testing Laboratory
The first task (3.1) of WP3 concerned modernization of the high-pressure high temperature press at the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technology. Standard HP-HT equipment allows to sinter materials using direct current flowing through the punches and sintered material. The roles of the insulator between the punches act ceramic containers. Modernization of this unit focused at combining the advantages of high-pressure techniques and technology of sintering by FAST/SPS, during which the material is sintered by the pulse current flowing. The FAST/SPS heating of materials improves material diffusion and the same, sinterability of materials is also improved. The modernization included the design and execution of an innovative and unique device for sintering technique using both the HP-HT and FAST/SPS. Works performed for the needs of modernisation of HP-HT unit concerned:
- Modification of the HP-HT direct current supply and control system - Former controller based on the industrial PC equipped with I/O interface cards was exchanged with PLC (VIPA/SIEMENS PLC with touch panel as the HMI interface;
- Revamping of the press cooling system – cooling system was changed from open circuit using tap water to closed circuit cooling system with chiller and buffer tank for coolant
- Application of pulsed current power supply for the HP-HT system - new process energy source was connected to already existing power tracks. It allows to apply current pulses with following parameters: Impulse duration (1 - 500ms), Pause duration (1 - 500ms); Impulse package (number of pulses: 1 – 500); Pause between packages (1 - 500ms). The system was modernized in such way, that it also allows to use the 50Hz AC current for sintering process of materials.
The second task (3.2) of WP3 concerned purchase of high-temperature dilatometer for laboratory of sintering processes engineering. High temperature dilatometer allows to study phenomena related to the process of sintering, the expansion coefficient and the effects of temperature with a change in phase composition. It is used at the laboratory for accurate programming of the sintering process of new materials including multiphase nonequilibrium materials. Purchase of dilatometer was performed in accordance with the public procurement requirements. As a result of the organized public tender, the dilatometer from NETSCH - DIL 402E was chosen for purchase. It allows performing measurements at Max heating / working temperature of 2800°C. Elongation measurement range in the whole temperature range >= 500μm, and in the temperature up to 1600°C >= 5000μm. It allows to measure various materials: sintered materials, powders, liquids, pastes, molten metals. As proper functioning of dilatometer requires room with stabilized floor and good ventilation, to install the dilatometer it was necessary to adapt the old laboratory room. Adaptation works among others included: maintenance of the room floor (including stabilization of cellar under the room for reducing vibrations on the measuring equipment); adaptation of electrical and water connection for dilatometer connection; design and construction of external ventilation system to the room; renewal of floor and room walls.
The last task (Task 3.3) was related to to purchase of X-ray diffractometer equipment. As this is because of the large research capability it is a valuable tool in the laboratory of electron microscopy included in the SINTERCER. It is possible to determine the phase composition after sintering materials using the free and unconventional methods (HP-HT, FAST/SPS, microwave sintering). In the case of non-equilibrium materials important issue is the use of diffraction methods to characterize the constituent materials. Purchase of the equipment increased research capacity of SINTERCER Centre, allowing performance of precise qualitative and quantitative analysis of phase composition of materials produced in the laboratory of sintering. Within the task was purchased from PANALYTICAL, additional equipment for x-Ray diffractometer:
• high-temperature chamber HTK 2000N, with controlled z-axis and possibility of heating samples within the range of 25°C – 2000°C in both vacuum or inert gas atmosphere;
• CHI-PHI-XYZ CRADLE 240MM – 5-axis CNC controlled movable table / cradle with movement in: X, Y,Z, Chi, Phi axes.
Realization of tasks within WP 3, concerning purchase and upgrade of equipment brought savings on expenditures. Thanks to this fact it was possible to buy and build additional equipment, which was not originally planned. Two additional devices were bought:
- glovebox chamber – used for storage of powders and for the preparation of powder mixtures In a protective gas atmosphere.
- homogenizer for mixing and homogenization of mixtures of solid phases, pastes and slurries, together with a stand for the preparation of mixtures
Additionally there was designed and built oxyacetylene torch test rig. It allows to test the resistance of ceramic materials to high temperatures (max. 3000°C).
List of purchased equipment:
- Dilatometer NETSCH DIL 402E;
- Equipment for diffractometer (from PANALYTICAL):
o HTK 2000N chamber for diffraction investigation
o Five-axes Cradle (Phi-Chi-X,Y,Z)
- GS073815 from GS Glovebox Systemtechnik GmbH;
- Homogenizer: SpeedMixer SpeedMixerTM DAC 400.1 FVZ.
- HP-HT modernization:
o HWI 2816W (Analog 0100) analogue inventer
o HWT 2109-8,3V-6/2 transformator with a block of rectifier diodes
o VIPA/SIEMENS PLC;
o Pulsed current supply (DACPOL);
Details of the procurement were described in the Deliverable 3.1 and Deliverable 3.2, whilst detailed description of all purchased equipment and upgrades is described in Deliverable D3.3.

WP 4 - Mutual exchange of knowledge with partnering organizations
WP 4 aimed at reinforcement of cooperation with 11 high level research institutions in Europe (12 partner units/laboratories). Within the project there were planned and executed short term (up to 1 month) and mid-term (1-3 months) visits incoming to IOS and outgoing from IOS. SINTERCER researchers had opportunity to learn new techniques as well as to create a network of contacts during their visits with the partnering organizations. The partners chosen for the project stated their relevant areas of scientific interest in letters of intent. The activities that were carried out in the project closely follow the scope stated in the letters. The researchers proposed for secondment by the partner organizations are experienced staff of the respective institutions.
Transferring and implementing the best research standards, new research methods and techniques from the European Research Centres collaborating with the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technology in Kraków throughout 3 years (June 2013 – September 2016) was executed via:
a) 61 incoming visits of the Partnering Institutions’ representatives to IOS (16 months in total),
b) 43 outgoing visits of the IOS staff to Partnering Institutions (16 months in total).
Visits were performed mainly by experienced researchers:
- Incoming to IOS: 24 scientists (among them research group / project leaders);
- Outgoing from IOS: 14 scientists (12 experienced and 2 young researchers).
WP 4 Leader successfully coordinated the twinning activities between IOS and Partnering Institutions. The main topics and special interests related to the research issues were defined before the project and visits themselves. During visits of experienced researchers at IOS there was usually organized short seminar, during which scientists from Partnering Institutions showed their results but also best practices in the execution of research and organization of laboratories and their work. Also IOS employees disseminated the knowledge they gained during internal workshops and meetings. During the first period of project realization, we came across several problems which required changes in the initial planning of visits duration and organization:
- visits were rescheduled for shorter time – the number of visits significantly increased on one hand causing more administrative and organizational work connected with it, but on the other allowed us to intensify twinning in the second period of the project duration and to successfully implement all visits;
- it occurred that one of the Partnering Institutions was not interested in realization of secondments / visits – we managed to organize another Institutions and to reschedule planned visits among new and already active Partners.
Researchers actively participating in the realization of WP4 gained practical training in modern and new technologies. They also established interpersonal network of cooperation and collaboration, which resulted in:
- 10 publications prepared with scientists from Partnering Institutions;
- 5 project proposals submitted by consortia consisting of Institutions involved in SINTERCER project realization.
Secondments performed within WP4 during the SINTERCER project gave opportunity to researchers from IOS to gain know-how from Partnering Institutions. Additional purchases realized within WP3 were partially resulting from discussions and observation of lab equipment at foreign research centres. Realization of twinning visits within WP4 allowed scientists to widen the scope of their scientific projects. It is worth to notice, that built network of contacts and awareness of lab equipment among the scientists participating in secondments is beneficial for future collaboration, especially in preparing comparative samples with methods which are unavailable at ones laboratory.
WP 4 - Mutual exchange of knowledge with partnering organizations
WP 4 aimed at reinforcement of cooperation with 11 high level research institutions in Europe (12 partner units/laboratories). Within the project there were planned and executed short term (up to 1 month) and mid-term (1-3 months) visits incoming to IOS and outgoing from IOS. SINTERCER researchers had opportunity to learn new techniques as well as to create a network of contacts during their visits with the partnering organizations. The partners chosen for the project stated their relevant areas of scientific interest in letters of intent. The activities that were carried out in the project closely follow the scope stated in the letters. The researchers proposed for secondment by the partner organizations are experienced staff of the respective institutions.
Transferring and implementing the best research standards, new research methods and techniques from the European Research Centres collaborating with the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technology in Kraków throughout 3 years (June 2013 – September 2016) was executed via:
a) 61 incoming visits of the Partnering Institutions’ representatives to IOS (16 months in total),
b) 43 outgoing visits of the IOS staff to Partnering Institutions (16 months in total).
Visits were performed mainly by experienced researchers:
- Incoming to IOS: 24 scientists (among them research group / project leaders);
- Outgoing from IOS: 14 scientists (12 experienced and 2 young researchers).
WP 4 Leader successfully coordinated the twinning activities between IOS and Partnering Institutions. The main topics and special interests related to the research issues were defined before the project and visits themselves. During visits of experienced researchers at IOS there was usually organized short seminar, during which scientists from Partnering Institutions showed their results but also best practices in the execution of research and organization of laboratories and their work. Also IOS employees disseminated the knowledge they gained during internal workshops and meetings. During the first period of project realization, we came across several problems which required changes in the initial planning of visits duration and organization:
- visits were rescheduled for shorter time – the number of visits significantly increased on one hand causing more administrative and organizational work connected with it, but on the other allowed us to intensify twinning in the second period of the project duration and to successfully implement all visits;
- it occurred that one of the Partnering Institutions was not interested in realization of secondments / visits – we managed to organize another Institutions and to reschedule planned visits among new and already active Partners.
Researchers actively participating in the realization of WP4 gained practical training in modern and new technologies. They also established interpersonal network of cooperation and collaboration, which resulted in:
- 10 publications prepared with scientists from Partnering Institutions;
- 5 project proposals submitted by consortia consisting of Institutions involved in SINTERCER project realization.
Secondments performed within WP4 during the SINTERCER project gave opportunity to researchers from IOS to gain know-how from Partnering Institutions. Additional purchases realized within WP3 were partially resulting from discussions and observation of lab equipment at foreign research centres. Realization of twinning visits within WP4 allowed scientists to widen the scope of their scientific projects. It is worth to notice, that built network of contacts and awareness of lab equipment among the scientists participating in secondments is beneficial for future collaboration, especially in preparing comparative samples with methods which are unavailable at ones laboratory.
It is worth to mention that the SINTERCER project covered only the costs of visits (flight, accommodation, daily allowance), the research activities were covered by own funds of each partnering institutions.
Detailed description of the activity within WP4 is presented in the Deliverables D4.1.
WP 5 – Enhancing expertise and advances in scientific knowledge through workshops,seminars and conferences
WP 5 concerned increase of the SINTERCER‘s visibility in the scientific environment through the organization of 4 seminars, 4 workshops, 2 conferences. Among participants of organized events were representatives of the regional and national industry. Invited lecturers were performed by top-level experts from Europe and the world, specialising in research areas closely related to the seminar and conference topics. Invited speakers represented leading research institutions as well as representatives of the leading, innovative companies working in the field of material science and material development. This workpackage concerned also participation of SINTERCER researchers in key European and intercontinental conferences on powder metallurgy, materials science, dedicated area of groups of materials to improve knowledge in their research area, as well as to promote the SINTERCER Centre and integrate with the wider scientific community.
Works within WP5 were divided into 7 tasks referring to organization of conferences (2 tasks), thematic workshops and seminars (4 tasks) and participation in conferences / seminars (1 task).
First task (5.1) concerned organization of workshop (1 day) and seminar (2 days) in the field of innovative and non-conventional sintering techniques for power engineering materials. Workshop dedicated to characterization of microstructure, thermal and mechanical properties of materials for storage and conversion of thermal energy was organized in Zakopane on 19th September 2013. Organized workshop gathered 2 invited speakers and 46 attendants – altogether 48 participants from 4 countries, 13 presentations were given. Within task 5.1 there was also organized seminar “New materials for storage and conversion of thermal energy”. Seminar dedicated to the development of materials for storage and conversion of thermal energy was organized in Zakopane on 20-21st September 2013. Organized seminar gathered 5 invited speakers and 43 attendants – altogether 48 participants 50 participants from 9 countries, 14 presentations were given.
The second task (5.2) concerned organization of 3 day international conference: “Innovative manufacturing technology IMT2013”. The conference was dedicated to various methods of manufacturing technologies as well as to material science. Each day of the conference was devoted to other problems, methodological issues, new technologies, methods of machining, measurement methods and systems, advanced materials and their applications. Leading, well-known researchers participated in the conference making a forum for knowledge and know-how exchange, as well as providing the opportunity to conduct informed scientific discussions. In the course of the conference, research results presented dealt with advanced materials and technologies as well as with the measurement and modelling of mechanical material properties. The needs of the tool industry, expressed by their representatives have been reflected in the presentations related to the field of machining and grinding. Presentations and discussions on innovative, unconventional and hybrid manufacturing methods have provided motivation for further co-operative research. Conference dedicated to innovative manufacturing technology IMT2013 was held in Krakow from 18-20th November 2013. During the conference there were standard sessions/presentations, interactive videoconference and poster session. IMT 2013 gathered 84 participants from 9 countries. Including videoconference sessions, there were presented 44 presentations.
The second workshop (task 5.3) on “Sintering of ceramics by means of High pressure-high temperature (HP-HT) methods and SPS technique” was organized at the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technology in Krakow on 11th June 2014. The main objective of the workshop included fundamental aspects of sintering materials under pressure like: modeling of sintering at multiple scales, microstructural observations in sintering processes, novel sintering processes and other sintering related topics. The point of interest was also cross-checking and comparison of methods, validation and characterization of material properties obtained by means of different methods of pressure. Workshop was divided on two parts: theoretical and practical. In the first part of the meeting 3 speeches on sintering methods were presented. The second part of the workshop concerned the hands-on visit to IOS laboratories and performance of experiments using SPS and HP-HT sintering equipment. Workshop gathered 49 participants.
The second seminar (task 5.3) on “Using of advanced pressure methods for sintering materials” was held at the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technology on 4th and 5th September 2014. Presented speeches (16 scientific speeches) were devoted to using of advanced pressure methods for sintering materials. by using high-pressure high-temperature (HP-HT) method and SPS ( Spark Plasma Sintering) technique. There was additional topic concerning application of Selective Laser Sintering / Melting for building components of complicated 3D shapes. The Seminar enabled to gather academia and industry based world-wide recognized specialists from the material science. Seminar gathered altogether 61 participants from 9 countries.
Task 5.4 concerned organization of second conference (during project realization) on Innovative Manufacturing Technology – IMT 2014. The Conference was held in Zakopane on 3-5th December 2014. Among others conference covered topics concerning: preparation, structure and properties of ceramic matrix composites (also with graphene additives), and their use as structural and functional materials in clean technology, medicine, aviation and microproduction. Other related topics included increasing wear resistance of tools and other equipment in an environmentally-friendly way, surface quality monitoring, and practical applications of knowledge about ceramics and composites to improve the quality and reliability of products based on these materials. It is worth to notice that important group of participants during the conference was not only academia people but also representatives of the industry. The research presented during this conference was an inspiration for further experience exchange and discussions, resulting in increased co-operation between research centres and industrial partners, in order to create effective strategies of developing innovative industrial products and processes. The conference gathered 72 participants from 13 countries. During 3 days of conference, 51 presentations were given and poster session was organized.
Task 5.5 concerned organization of workshop entitled: “Nanomaterials sintering with the use of SPS and HP-HT techniques” and seminar on “Influence of advanced techniques of sintering on the microstructure and physico-mechanical properties of nanomaterials”.
The main objective of the workshop which topic was related with the sintering of nanomaterials by means of advanced methods like SPS and HP-HT covered: SPS sintering of silicon nitride-CNT composites, spark plasma sintering and texturing of thermoelectric materials for energy conversion and nanoceramics used in intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cells (IT-SOFTs). Workshop dedicated to sintering of nanomaterials by means of advanced techniques like SPS and HP-HT was organized in Zakopane on the 17th September 2015. It gathered 32 participants from 9 countries. During workshop apart the practical aspect of preparation of material for sintering and choice of parameters, 3 lectures were given.
The seminar on nanomaterials was held on the 17th and 18th September 2015 in Zakopane. The main objective of the seminar concerned two-stage sintering, influence of synthesis conditions on formation of coreshell titanate-ferrite particles and processing of composite ceramics, processing of hydroxyapatite obtained by combustion synthesis, superhard nanocrystalline coatings: processing and characterization, tribological properties of silicon nitride based composites with graphene and boron nitride nanoparticles, titanium nitride-titanium diboride materials obtained by the SPS method, and micro-mechanical testing of tungsten carbide, silicon nitride and zirconium boride ceramics. Seminar during which, 8 presentations were given, gathered 46 participants from 9 countries.
Sixth task (5.6) of WP5 concerned organization of workshop entitled: “Programming and selection of process sintering parameters for: multiphase, high melting-point and non-equilibrium ceramics” and seminar on: “Field Assistant Sintering Technology”
The main objective of the workshop which topic was to bring closer to the potential users problem of programming and selection of process sintering parameters for multiphase, high-melting point and non-equillibrium. The exchange of the experience methods used to simulation of different alloys machining with respect to the modified material model, and an investigation of synthesis and sintering parameters for a reaction heat utilization was essential aim of this meeting. Lectures of the best specialists and consultations of the presenting research results at the poster session allowed solving many problems which appear during investigations. This workshop lasted one day on 14th April 2016 in Krynica–Zdrój. It gathered 40 participants from 9 countries, who listened to 3 lectures.
The main objective of the Seminar which topic was related with field assistant sintering technology and advanced materials new materials was to improve diverse community of scientists ( e.g. materials scientists, chemists and physicists) and engineers involved in development of sintering methods of novel materials production by advanced techniques. It is addressed emergent materials, modeling properties and fundamental processes relevant in the context of new materials production. The topic range of the Seminar included very important issues like: functional materials processed by spark plasma sintering, sintering of stainless steel powder, high pressure forms of ceramics, spark plasma and high pressure sintering of composite materials, superhard materials. Seminar was held on 14-15th April 2016 in Krynica Zdrój The seminar gathered altogether 69 participants from 9 countries. There were presented 13 presentations / papers (5 during first day and 8 during second day)
The last task of WP5 - task 5.7 concerned participation of staff members in international scientific conferences and short term training events. It aimed at increase of the possibilities for knowledge transfer, as well as on the development of research cooperation resulting in increased submission of research projects. SINTERCER researchers participate in the European conferences including the most prestigious events in sintering materials sciences. As the European events do not cover entire thematic diversity of Sintering Sciences therefore SINTERCER employees participated also in conferences and seminars all over the world.
During the 40 months of WP5 realization, 20 persons employed in the IOS/SINTERCER participated and presented research results during 53 (28 in Europe) conferences/seminars/workshops – there were 51 (22 in Europe) presentations given by IOS participants.
Organization of Seminars/Workshops/Conferences gathered 536 participants from 18 countries. During organized events, 172 presentations were given. Organization of above mentioned events allowed us to raise awareness among European research institutions about manufacturing possibilities in the Institute and research being done at our laboratories. It allowed us also to create a platform for exchange of know-how with representatives of industry from Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and Sweden on techniques developed by IOS and Partnering Institutions involved in SINTERCER project realization. It resulted in preparation of project consortia and submission of 5 project proposals within Horizon 2020.
Participation of IOS scientists in conferences and seminars organized around the world, allowed them to present research results to the wider forum and gain world-wide contacts for future cooperation (one project for bilateral cooperation with university from Taiwan was prepared) as well as to communicate directly with Asian suppliers of various raw materials (powders) used during manufacturing of cutting tools.
WP 6 - Increasing of SINTERCER visibility in Europe
WP6 aimed at increasing awareness of the society about materials science, SINTERCER Centre and the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technology. It was divided into 6 main tasks concerning promotion in the internet, mass-media, participation in the fairs and organization of open days in the Institute.
Within the SINTERCER project, promotional movie, papers in general newspapers, brochures and leaflets about Institute and SINTERCER Centre were prepared. All promotional materials are available on the SINTERCER project website and youtube channel. WP6 provided also financial support for participation of Institute employees in invention shows and international trade fairs (4 events). Within the WP6 there were also organized Institute Open Days (3 times) and Małopolska Scientists Night (2 times), gathering altogether ~350 visitors in the Institute labs).
One the main goals of WP6 was dissemination and promotion of the SINTERCER project and results of researchers achieved at IOS among the general publicity and representatives of industry, WP6 was divided into tasks referring to specific actions to reach this goal. The first task (6.1) concerned creation and maintenance of the project website throughout the project lifecycle. Logo of the project and website were created in the first 3 months of the project realization. Project website was launched in July 2013. All published information are be available in two languages: English (EN) and Polish (PL). There are available all information concerning events organized within the SINTERCER project, as well as information concerning equipment purchases and public tenders organized within SINTERCER Project.
Another important way of getting in contact with general publicity was performed via mass media (task 6.2). Numerous articles were prepared and published in general newspapers and magazines, but also in branch magazines and journals addressed to industry sector. During SINTERER Project articles about project, research results and offer of the SINTERCER and IOS were published in:
- Branch journals / magazines:
o MECHANIK (5 articles): no. 8-9/2014, September, 2014, no. 11/2014, November, 2014, no. 3/2015, March, 2015, no. 4/2016, April, 2016, no. 5-6/2015, May, 2016
o Ceramic Materials no. 2/2014 – June, 2014;
o ”KOMPOZYT-EXPO”, Cracow, 20-21 November 2014
- General newspapers and magaiznes:
o „Dziennik Polski” newspaper, January, 2016
o “Economic facts” magazine, January/February 2016
o Promotional catalog „Innovative start" distributed during European Researchers’ Night in Cracow in September 2015
Dissemination of SINTERCER project results and offer specific for scientific society was performed within WP5 during organized seminars and conferences, as well as by participation of IOS employees in the international events. During various events leaflets and brochures about SINTERCER, IOS and developed techniques were distributed. Within the task 6.3, there were prepared leaflets and brochures for successful promotion of the SINTERCER Project. Brochure was prepared in two languages (Polish and English). It contains information on :
- SINTERCER project;
- Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technology activities and its facilities.
Important aspect of promoting SINTERCER project and centre is the detailed information on its research activities and research equipment. There were prepared detailed leaflets about SINTERCER Centre equipment in the area of:
- materials research;
- tribological research;
- microanalysis SEM;
- X-ray analysis;
- sintering methods: High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS).
Both, SINTERCER Leaflet and Brochure (Attachment 3 & 4)can be downloaded from: http://www.ios.krakow.pl/sintercer/856,a,promotional-materials.htm
As SINTERCER staff often participates in the scientific conferences and trade fairs, for the needs of project promotion there have been prepared posters and roll-ups about SINTERCER project containing information on partnering institutions and range of the project. Important activity concerning promotion and dissemination of information on the SINTERCER Project and Centre achievements was the preparation of samples of materials using the techniques developed by the SINTERCER staff. Samples of various materials were prepared using available at SINTERCER Centre sintering equipment: microwave sintering technique, HP-HT sintering, SPS sintering and free (pressure-less) sintering in the inert gas atmosphere
Effective and important way of getting in touch with representatives of industry leads via exhibitions during trade fairs. Task 6.4 concerned participation of staff members in the national and international trade fairs as well as in the exhibitions of inventions. SINTERCER Staff participated in trade fairs organized in Poland, presenting products and materials developed at SINTERCER Centre:
- EUROTOOL 2013 & 2014 & 2015 & 2016 (Krakow);
- KOMPOZYT EXPO 2013 & 2014 & 2015 & 2016 (Krakow);
- TOOLEX 2014 & 2015 & 2016 (Sosnowiec);
- STOM 2014 & 2015 & 2016 (Kielce).
Inventions worked out by SINTERCER staff have been presented and awarded during international innovation shows around the world:
- Brussels Eureka 2013 & 2014 & 2015 (Brussels, Belgium);
- EUROINVENT 2014 (Iasi, Romania);
- Taipei International Invention Show & Technomart 2014 (Taipei, Taiwan);
- The British Innovation Show BIS 2014 (London, UK);
- INOVA CROATIA 2014 - International Invention Show, (Osijek, Croatia).
- INTARG 2015 - International Exhibition of Economic and Scientific Innovations – 26th June 2015, Cracow, Poland
On the other hand IOS and SINTERCER Centre were also open for the general publicity. During project realization there have been organized open days. Institute and SINTERCER Centre participated also in the Malopolska Scientists Night in 2015 and 2016, these events were organized within task 6.5.
On 13th November 2014, IOS held an open day. Our specialists presented modern technologies and equipment used for research and for services at IOS.
Among others there were presented:
- apparatus used for Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) and microwave sintering techniques;
- Ultra High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) technology;
- selective laser sintering / melting (SLS/SLM) technology,
- electrodischarge machining technology (wire EDM, sinking EDM micro EDM);
- CNC machine tools (milling and turning).
During the open day 40 persons visited SINTERCER and IOS laboratories. Among them were students from Cracow universities and representatives of local industry sector (SMEs).
Another Open Day at IOS and SINTERCER Centre was organized on 14th January 2016. It gathered 2 groups of ~25 persons each (interested in the Institute’s research activities visited our Laboratories.
On the 25th September 2015, the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technology (IOS) took part in Małopolska Researchers Night as a partner for the first time. Researchers Night in the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technology was the opportunity to familiarize visitors with research works concerning modern materials, metal and hard-to-machine materials machining, technical metrology, noise measurements and electromagnetic compatibility tests. Institute researchers and their inventions gained the approval in the international arena, as reflected in many prestigious awards. In that one night a year the Institute enabled visitors to observe unique equipment operating and even carrying out own tests and measurements by use of apparatus usually available only for qualified scientific staff. Presentations in groups had been held since 6 p.m. and had finished late in the evening at about 10.30 p.m. Total number of visitors was 80.
The second time we participated in the Małopolska Researchers Night was on 30.09.2016. This time we gathered 120 visitors during tours showing various technologies and machining methods developed at IOS and SINTERCER Centre.
In parallel to conventional methods of advertising and dissemination of information, for the needs of social media and promotion in internet, there was also prepared movie about SINTERCER and IOS (task 6.6). Film presents the research work of SINTERCER staff, including original material from field workshops as well as every-day activities of the Centre. Film consists of clips which conclude:
- general information about IOS;
- SINTERCER Centre activities: SPS technology, HPHT technology, SLS technology, materials research
- achievements of the IOS.
Similarly to promoting leaflet and brochure, prepared movie is available in two languages: Polish and English. The movie / clips are available at SINTERCER website:
http://www.ios.krakow.pl/sintercer/855,a,video.htm . Additionally, there is also prepared youtube channel providing access to the SINTERCER movie independently from the IOS/SINTERCER website: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMgqe6j2R4S8LVBbNxduGSQ .
Summarizing the dissemination and promotional activities within SINTERCER project we managed to invite and host in our laboratories more than 300 persons from general publicity. Participation in trade fairs allowed us to gain more than 100 new industrial contacts resulting in numerous inquiries and works done for companies. With new companies we managed to prepare several successful proposals for conducting research works. Prepared publications and promotional materials raised awareness in the Małopolska and southern Poland about possibilities and potential of the Institute and SINTERCER Centre. SINTERCER Centre has the most complementary lab equipment for development and tests of hard and superhard materials in southern Poland.
WP 7 - Protection of intellectual property
Work Package 7 aimed at raising awareness and improving knowledge of the SINTERCER staff in the area of protection of intellectual property. Within WP7 there were organized 3 courses for the staff regarding: legal tools to protect intellectual property in Poland, in the European Union and in the world, objects of intellectual property, types of protection, limitations of exclusive rights, basic IPR principles (patents, utility models, industrial designs, copyrights, know-how), patent application procedures (national and international patents), the basics of commercial law – civil law contracts, commercial contracts and contracts for the implementation of research, etc. One of the courses was devoted to technology commercialisation and evaluation. The courses were conducted by professionals (patent attorneys and technology transfer centre employees).
First two courses within WP7 (tasks 7.1 & 7.2) were conducted by patent attorney, having over 20 years of experience in the practical aspects related to the protection of intellectual property, former president of the Polish Chamber of Patent Attorneys. The first course, which gathered 28 participants, was held on 18th and 20th March 2014. It dealt with the following issues:
- objects of intellectual property, types of protection, limitations of exclusive rights, the basic principles (patents, utility models, industrial designs vs copyrights, know-how);
- comparison of various types of protection and their suitability to inventions, methodologies etc;
- patent procedures (Polish Patent Office, European Patent Office, United States Patent and Trademark Office);
- sources and access to patent information – the content, possibilities (online databases – hands-on workshop on Polish Patent Office, EPO and USPTO database search).
Second training concerned “Invention protection – patent application”. It took place over two days of 20 January and 30 January 2015, gathering 25 SINTERCER and IOS employees.
During the course, the participants had the chance to systematise their knowledge regarding patent application preparation and procedures, as well as to acquire new knowledge in this field. After the presentation and practical exercises of Day 1 of the course, the participants prepared in groups 3 patent application proposals of their actual inventions. These proposals were submitted to the expert speaker, and were subsequently analysed and discussed in the course of Day 2 meeting.
Apart from the clear advantage of new knowledge and know-how acquired by SINTERCER staff, the course provided an additional opportunity for further team building among the staff (group work on patent application proposals). It also enabled SINTERCER staff and the expert speaker to meet and work together.
The third training (task 7.3) concerned basic knowledge and techniques used for presenting inventions. This was two-day course on 7-8 April 2016, covering:
• evaluation of intellectual property: market, competitors (benchmarking), etc.
• commercialization costs
• commercial law and civil law contracts
• “selling” invention to industry: SWOT analysis, elevator pitch (invention, potential market, potential costs)
During this training participants had the opportunity to apply the newly-gained knowledge in a practical exercise. They divided into groups, and each group prepared a presentation of an actual product developed and patented by the Institute. A group representative demonstrated how the group would intend to interest potential industrial buyers and/or investors in the so-called elevator pitch.
At the end of each presentation, more feedback was offered by the course participants and by the lecturer. The course gathered 22 SINTERCER staff employees.
Altogether, in prepared coursed participated 31 SINTERCER / IOS employees. During the courses, participants had the chance to systematise their existing knowledge regarding patent search, patent applications and invention commercialization, as well as to acquire new knowledge in this field. They also had the opportunity to practically apply the newly-gained knowledge in a group exercise that allowed them to analyse how to protect know-how and inventions, as well as how their inventions could be best presented to potential investors and/or buyers and that provided feedback on their presentations from other course participants and the lecturer.
It was particularly beneficial that the participants worked on their own actual inventions, which additionally showed how important and practical the knowledge gained from the course is for their work environment.
It is worth to notice that after courses further follow-up meetings were arranged 2015, with the intention to prepare and submit 3 patent applications by SINTERCER staff. Moreover, apart from the 3 proposals prepared and analysed, 2 further SINTERCER staff patent ideas were presented and analysed during patent application courses, and successfully submitted to Polish Patent Office. Altogether during the SINTERCER project there were 7 patent applications filed by SINTERCER employees.

WP 8 - Evaluation of SINTERCER research potential
Work Package 8 aimed at the ex-post evaluation of the SINTERCER project impact on the Institute and its potential as well as to analyse the research capacity of the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies (IOS). The experts committee visited the facilities of IOS on 15-16.09.2016. They discussed with the members of SINTERCER project steering committee about the project and the activities the IOS and SINTERCER centre. During the visit to the laboratories, the equipments and singular facilities were shown. The evaluators have performed a remote analysis of all the information supplied by the IOS about the SINTERCER project and the Institute itself. This analysis has been carried out on the basis of the guidance note for the ex-post evaluation issued by the European Commission. According to this guideline, 9 different areas have been analysed in detail. In addition, a SWOT analysis has been carried out and a final set of recommendations given. Where possible the impact of the SINTERCER project in the analysed areas has been assessed.
After the analysis of the information given by the beneficiary, the evaluators come to the conclusion that overall, the IOS has reached a considerable research capacity. The analysis carried out in most of the investigated areas resulted positive; showing well experienced and skilled staff, appropriate equipment and facilities, good number and quality of the publications, well established links with stakeholders (at national and international level), acceptable visibility at international level, and adequate organisational structure. Nevertheless, the analysis has also given place to some recommendations that the IOS should try to implement to ensure this research excellence and capacity in the future.
Regarding the impact of the SINTERCER project in the research capacity of the IOS, it can be said that the project has boosted the research activity of the IOS in many different areas: staff expertise, equipment acquisition, national and international links and new research areas.
Finally, the evaluators agree that the research capacity of the centre has been enhanced over the last few years. This is something that should be constantly developed using a “continuous improvement” methodology. The given set of recommendations will help to maintain the observed positive trend and enable further improvement of the research capacity.
Evaluators presented their report and recommendations during the Round Table Meeting with SINTERCER International Advisory Board Members, SINTERCER Steering Committee and representatives of the IOS authorities.
In conclusion, the evaluation has drawn satisfactory results regarding the research capacity of the IOS and the impact of the SINTERCER project in this research capacity. The analysis of the different nine key areas has shown that the overall IOS situation is good with many strength and good practices. Nevertheless, some actions and measures should be adopted to ensure the smooth running of the centre in the coming years. SINTERCER project has clearly impacted positively, strengthening some existing weak areas of the institute and creating a solid ground for new ones. Now it is important to ensure that these are consolidated at the IOS by implementing the new improvements in the day to day work and in the management structure. The institute should move towards the research excellence aligned with industrial demands and needs. The IOS has very well defined the key research areas, covering from materials development up to the components manufacturing (hard materials for the tooling sector). Therefore this should be enhanced and kept updated in the coming years. Other emerging research lines on functional ceramics should not be forgotten, since those will also be part of the future of the IOS.
Potential Impact:
Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technology and SINTERCER Centre in particular, have used opportunities that were brought by the SINTERCER project. During the project we hired 10 experienced scientists from abroad for the period from 1-6 months. It was also possible to employ Polish experts on crystallography and Finite Element Method modelling. Expertise of employed scientists fitted the needs and lack of competences in the IOS / SINTERCER. Each of the recruited persons brought knowledge and competences which, as much as possible, were transferred to IOS employees, especially young scientists. Cooperation with world-wide known specialists strongly influenced the careers of young researchers from SINTERCER Centre. With the help of newly hired researchers we have started novel, very promising research projects and young SINTERCER employees gained new mentors for their scientific careers. During the project there were 2 persons finishing their PhD’s. There is also another group of 5 researchers who started their PhD during the SINTERCER project realisation. It is worth to emphasize that one of the recruited for period of 3 months experienced scientists, decided to stay in Krakow and work at IOS permanently – she gained project from the Foundation for Polish Science.
Another important social aspect of the SINTERCER project concerns the change of mindset of SINTERCER and IOS employees in the aspect of mobility, know-how exchange and international collaboration. On one hand twinning activities with the Partnering Organizations allowed exchange of know-how, tightening of research contacts, increase in research potential and development of novel research projects whilst on the other, numerous secondments (altogether more than 100 secondments were performed), both incoming and outgoing, convinced people for more openness despite the initial resistance. Possibilities of international cooperation are not only visible among the group directly involved in secondment realisation but also other employees of the IOS. Now people are looking for opportunities for using Marie Curie Programme or other Polish government programmes for conducting researches at foreign research centres. In this case there is visible synergic effect of secondments being performed, foreign researchers working at the IOS premises and participation in international scientific society through conferences and seminars. Performed secondments are of high value not only for soft skill of for young SINTERCER and IOS employees, but they have also direct influence of scientists work – thanks to the international secondments, young scientists are better reviewed by the experts from National Science Centre (NCN) in Poland (one of young scientists involved in SINTERCER project got the research project from NCN in Poland – the first NCN project at IOS);
Purchase of modern equipment increased significantly research capabilities of SINTERCER Centre. Equipment purchased and modernised during the project is being extensively used. It is also good basis for the future collaborative initiatives with researches from Partnering Institutions, to whom, this new equipment is complementary. Although project is already finished there are being done common researches using the modern systems. Additional equipment for diffractometer, together with crystallographers, who decided to join IOS for part time job, and young adepts of crystallography creates good team for phase analyses of materials sintered with already known methods and developed within the SITNERCER HP-HT SPS (High Pressure High Temperature Spark Plasma Sintering).
Huge added value of the performed project is raising knowledge on intellectual property instruments among SINTERCER and IOS employees. As a result of performed training several patent applications have been prepared. Before SINTERCER project there was on average 2 patent applications submitted yearly by IOS employees. In 2015, after second training on patenting inventions, there were 5 patent applications submitted. It is worth to notice that IOS is a research institute working for the needs of industry and reflecting to the problems raised by the industry. We are mainly focusing on the applied research, not basic research.
SINERCER Project is one of the biggest scale projects at IOS. Due to scale of the project and amount of resources engaged into its implementation we encountered a number of organizational problems. This brings another aspect of positive impact of the SINTERCER project on human resources of IOS – gaining experience in large projects management and solving problems and obstacles appearing in multinational environment. For the needs of SINTERCER project sooth realization, number of procedures aiming at achieving project goals. Procedures worked out for the SINTERCER are being implemented to other IOS projects (both national and international cooperation).
During the project realization, WP6 leader developed on-line and off-line tools to increase the project and IOS recognition among society and scientists. Promotional activities applied for dissemination of the research results and information on current activities of SINTERCER Centre and IOS allow to increase awareness of decision makers, stakeholders and general public on the materials science and modern manufacturing technology. Right choice of applied tools might be proven by increasing number of people visiting IOS and SINTERCER laboratories during open days and Małopolska Scientists Night. As a result of visits during organized events we often get inquires and questions from private persons concerning technology and services using modern apparatus available at IOS labs.
The other aspect of dissemination of information on SINERCER project and IOS concerns the members of scientific society. During project we organized 2 international conferences, 4 seminars and 4 workshops, which altogether gathered more than 500 participants and more than 170 presentations by researchers from leading Polish and world centres in the area of materials science. SINTERCER employees participated in conferences and seminars around the world, giving more than 50 presentations (oral and posters) on the research results achieved in IOS. Moreover, SINTERCER staff published around 200 articles/papers, and submitted 5 patent applications.
During 3 years of SINTERCER project realization we applied for 5 EU projects (2 applications were successful), the other applications with consortia based on the SINTERCER Partnering Institutions are being prepared. Researchers involved in SINERCER project applied also for research grants financed by the Polish government and institutions – 3 applications were successful
It might be stated that SINTERCER project had significant impact on the functioning of IOS and the SITERCER Centre itself. The activities that have be undertaken within the project will be sustained after its completion. We expect to play important role in the development of technological awareness in the southern Poland region, where important investments are being placed, concerning aviation industry. Technologies being developed at IOS and SINTERCER Centre allow bring to industry modern techniques and research/test procedures for the needs of practical implementation in the mass scale.

List of Websites:
http://sintercer.ios.krakow.pl/

Related information

Contact

Lucyna Jaworska, (Head)
Tel.: +48 126317321
Fax: +48 126339490
E-mail
Record Number: 199737 / Last updated on: 2017-06-20
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