Powder metallurgy is the major manufacturing route for a wide range of industrial parts which are produced by cold pressing powder in a die and sintering the resulting green body in a furnace. The design of a tool, set for a new product, is made with a trial-and-error procedure that generates surplus costs and delays. The optimization of the process is time consuming, due to the lack of fast and systematic system instruments and procedures for the inspection of the material. A major concern in powder metallurgy relies on the unpredictable formation of defects on the parts. While shrinking, internal defects are hard to detect. When the applied pressure is increased, the powder movement gets restricted and shearing can occur unless the magnitude and the direction of the pressure are properly coordinated. Today there is no reliable method able to inspect parts and detect local defects in green state powder metallurgy parts. Test inspection systems have been demonstrated inaccurate and often expensive for being introduced in the industry. The widespread use of powder metallurgy parts instead of parts produced by other competing technologies is often hindered by the impossibility to ensure the absence of defects in powder metallurgy parts. A new inspection tool based on digital radiography technology will be developed for the improved assessment of green parts and enable the powder metallurgy process to expand to new markets with more reliable parts and lower manufacturing costs, which will prove affordable for SME’s. Such tool will reduce the production costs and will decrease the amount of powder used to generate the same number of parts, owing the fact that the powder of the rejected parts can be re-used. With this technology, it will be possible to detect surface and sub-surface flaws. The whole system will be designed in such a way that it will be suitable for intensive industrial operation.
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Funding SchemeBSG-SME-AG - Research for SME associations/groupings