Development of mechanically alloyed powders and laser processing machine for the fabrication of high performance production metal tools; HATLAS
The project aimed at integrating specially developed CAD software, new materials and laser based production techniques for the fast and economical realisation of production injection mould. To achieve this aim it merged the competencies and motivation of leading European research entities in the field of powder material development and rapid prototyping with top companies in the field of RPT software and hardware development, materials technologies, laser cutting equipment and mould manufacturing. The results of the project carried out by this group are : -Nanophased mechanically alloyed materials and production techniques displaying good sintered surface quality and usable in the Alpha HATLAS machine. -Economical compositions of mixed powders alloys usable on most of the existing sintering machines and displaying excellent wear resistance. -Laser and scanner systems using Nd:YAG and CO2 lasers have qualified for powder sintering. Optimal settings for both systems for sintering of tungsten carbide-cobalt have been found. -A unique powder deposition system has been developed that is capable of depositing fine, non-flowing metal powders in very thin 0.1 mm layers with a density close to the maximum obtainable density. -The LLCC (Laminated Laser CutCavity) concept has been developed so that it offers now interesting economic potential for practical application in mould manufacturing. -The best binding methodology for the LLCC process has been brought up to the point that good results are obtained for large moulds. -An alpha machine has been developed, built and practically finalised which integrates the former developments. Its main quality is that it is conceived as an ad-on module to an existing laser cutting machine. This is translated into very clear economical and commercial advantages. -A very powerful mould design software has been developed and finalised integrating all modules for cavity creation as well as for data preparation for the SLS machine. This software has been commercialised before the end of the project.