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New approach to the manufacture of complex shaped parts

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Complex shapes made simple

There has long been a need to apply innovative techniques to industrial manufacture. This research set its sights on developing a new approach to the manufacture of complex shaped parts and has succeeded by developing an optimal cutting strategy, one that is capable of driving down the costs of production.

Industrial Technologies

Manufacturing complex shaped engineering components is an important process for industrial production, especially within the automotive industry. Powder metallurgy is an industrial process which allows for shaping parts whilst minimising wastage and therefore reducing the costs of manufacture. This procedure however has a particular flaw; it is not capable of producing complex shapes without further treatment. In order to overcome this, careful machining procedures are needed to shape the heat-treated metal which consequently has become so hard that costly machines need to be employed. The PM-MACH project turned its attention to this problem. It developed new techniques for powder pressing, clamping and machining procedures which mean savings all round. Researchers in Switzerland developed an 'optimal cutting strategy' for milling powder metallurgy treated materials. This technology is capable of cutting complex shapes using right and left hand milling cutters and mills with cylindrical shanks. The main idea is based around always starting by cutting using the down hill milling method. The milling with the starting tool is interrupted and the tool is then changed. The second tool has the opposite orientation helix and its path finishes where the first terminated. This cutting strategy can be used for complicated 3D contours and uses minimum lubrication, which avoids high pressure coolant and also has the effect of being less harmful to the environment.

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