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Ecological and economical machining of magnesium based hybrid materials (ECOHYB)

Final Report Summary - ECOHYB (Ecological and economical machining of magnesium based hybrid materials)

The goal of the ECOHYB project was the development of an experimental machine prototype for a safe machining of magnesium based hybrid materials, optimised tools with suitable strategy and lubricants for use as minimum quantity lubrication (MQL).

The main target of the ECOHYB project was to make the machining of magnesium (Mg)-based hybrid materials effective, safe and environmentally friendly. That means cutting metal at conventional cutting speeds as well as in high speed cutting (HSC) conditions.

That means in detail:
- the development of an experimental machine prototype or a modified machine that is capable of safe machining of magnesium-based hybrid materials;
- optimised tools and strategies that provide safe machining conditions for Mg-hybrid- work pieces;
- development of lubricants for minimum quantity machining of magnesium hybrids and environmental friendliness.

As a necessity in the automotive industry as well as in other sectors where parts are moved, a general desire to reduce the energy exists. Mg alloys have a 33% lower density in comparison to aluminium (and 77 % compared to steel). Therefore the application of lightweight construction with hybrid material parts has been extended in the last few years.

Hybrid parts arise as the result of the combination of materials of different nature with the objective of achieving the optimum technical characteristics and reducing weight and costs. For this reason, in the last year's hybrid parts based on light alloys are appearing. However, facing machining of these hybrid parts involves a major challenge in terms of accuracy, quality and safety that has to be considered in future studies since current market is starting to ask for their machining.

The project was structured into seven work packages (WPs), as follows:

WP1: System specifications
During this WP the system specifications concerning effectiveness, safety and environmentally friendliness were defined, the industrial needs concerning machining of Mg based hybrid materials and a comparison with the separate machining of magnesium, aluminium and sintered metal. WP1 served as an input for the other WPs.

WP2: Development of an experimental machine prototype
The topic of WP WP2 was focused on the development of an experimental machine prototype for processing magnesium based hybrid materials (Mg-Al and Mg-sintered metal) including evacuation of chips, avoidance of vibrations, chattering, a fast detection of fire and machine modifications to mill flat surfaces on this materials.

WP3: Tool optimisation
The goal of WP3 was the determination and development of cutting tools for machining Mg-based hybrid materials (Mg-Al and Mg-Sint), measurement of the machining area to calculate chip temperatures and reduce this temperature to a safe area.

WP4: Lubrication optimisation
During WP4 the development and selection of cooling lubricants took place, which are suitable for minimal quantity lubrication for machining Mg-based hybrid materials.

WP5: Cutting strategy for Mg- based hybrid materials
All partners with main responsibility of Profactor and Protan have determined the ideal cutting conditions, ideal cutting tools, the ideal lubrication and suitable machine types for mass production. Suitable combinations of Mg hybrid materials and cutting materials were determined for AZ 91+AlSi12 and AZ 91+SINT D11 as well as its suitable cutting parameters. Furthermore after a lot of experiments which were done by Uni Budapest and Losonczi the optimal cutting edge geometry for machining Mg composites was listed up.

WP6: Workers' protection rules and environmental friendliness
The main target of this task was to prepare guidelines to preserve the workers protection rules when machining Magnesium-based hybrid parts. Due to hazards and risks of machining magnesium-based hybrid components, several safety aspects had to be considered in order to minimise possible hazardous situations, being necessary that machine operators and others working with residual magnesium have a good understanding of all safety aspects before starting machining.

WP7: Industrial implementation and testing
WP7 includes the results of the investigations that have been carried out of Industrial implementation and testing of the worked out information. During this WP of the ECOHYB project the main activities were focused on the machining of the selected parts by Protan by using the gained information of the previous WPs: tools for machining Mg-based hybrid parts developed by Losonczi and Uni Budapest, environmentally friendly lubricants developed by Brugarolas (suitable for being introduced in MQL systems) and characterised by Tekniker and finally a HSC machine prototype by partner Anger with help of Profactor.
All final tests were carried out on the developed Anger HCP prototype. Furthermore force, roughness and temperature measurements were undertaken to control the process and to compare the gained information during the project with the industrial implementation.

The experiences and work from the SMEs was very useful and a very important input for the trials and investigations of the RTDs. Machining of Mg-based hybrid parts with the minimum quantity lubrication strategy needs a well balanced combination of the machine tool concept, the lubrication, the tools and the cutting parameter. By considering this and the safety guidelines for machining of magnesium, an economical and environmentally friendly machining of this material could be made.
A good collaboration resulted to successful milling of the selected parts in the final part of the project. Furthermore the gained results during the project leaded to a safe process which is very important to preserve the workers health and environment.

When machining magnesium in composite with sintered steel or aluminium the measured roughness was very smooth. Additionally the temperature during the process is lower than 350 degrees Celsius and thus in a safe area.
Very important was the difference at the boundary between the two materials that no step occurs after milling. The measurements showed that the height difference was lower than 3 micrometres with recommended cutting parameters and strategy.

In conclusion all partners worked successfully together and developed a tool holder with suitable cutting inserts, ECOHYB C as minimum quantity lubrication and an experimental machine prototype for machining magnesium in composite.