FORGE-NET PROJECT OVERVIEW:
A major contribution to the wealth and competitiveness of the EU can be made through its manufacturing industry and a core element of this industry is the production of metallic parts through forging. To maintain the main development thrusts of the forging user industries, forging companies need to enhance their take-up of new technology and in particular the use of modelling techniques for part and process design. The new technology is in principle available; what is lacking is an awareness and an implementation methodology. But, a particular problem for the forging industry throughout Europe is that it is comprised largely of SMEs with limited facilities for Research and Development work. This project proposes that a thematic network comprised of three universities, three research centres and twelve companies be developed to address this problem. The integration of the research will be driven largely by a close collaboration between the partners via shared research goals. The Network will enable the technology transfer into national industry both directly and also via the National Forging Industry Associations in the form of workshops and seminars. The NFIA s have membership and/or linkage to material suppliers and forging users thus reflecting the interests and input of the complete supply chain.
After extensive consultation with the forging industry during the Exploratory Phase of the Network, Cluster Group actions are proposed for the following areas:
- 2D-Pseudo 3D and 3D Finite Element Simulation;
- Fast simulation and perform design;
- Workpiece Properties;
- Automatic design of forged parts;
- Interface properties.
EUROPEAN DIMENSION AND PARTNERSHIP
Whereas casting involves solidification of molten metal into a mould defining the required shape, the forging process takes a piece of stock material and deforms it plastically e.g. in the solid phase using profiled dies to produce the required shape. In many cases the process requires several sets of dies to achieve the overall shape transformation. This proposal is concerned with the forging process for which there are considerable economic and environmental benefits. About 59% of forgings produced in the EU are used by the motor vehicle industry.
The proposals for the network are consistent with the following aims of the IMT programme:
- promoting the incorporation of new technologies into industry;
- promoting scientific and technological co-operation and integration between European industry, research bodies and universities.
Specifically it fits the following research areas:
- incorporation of new technologies into production systems;
- new methodologies for product design and manufacture.
POTENTIAL APPLICATIONS In the forging user industries, the main development thrusts which are required are:
- improved engine and vehicle efficiencies;
- reduced pollution from products;
- improved manufacturing efficiency and conservation of resources.
In terms of forgings this can be achieved by:
- improved strength to weight ratios of forged components;
- improved consistency of product supply;
- flexible delivery of forgings;
- the production of nearer to net shape forgings;
- reduction in material wastage.
For the forging supply industry some of the implications of this are concerned with how to achieve:
- improved efficiency by introducing flexible batch size production;
- reduced lead times from design to product and avoidance of trial & error methods;
- improved net shaping technology;
- reduced reliance on manual and experiential skills.
To meet this demand the following is required:
- improvement and take up of knowledge based systems for the tool and process design and the development of international standards for data transfer in the domain;
- improvement and take up of modelling techniques;
- better predictability of microstructure development and product properties;
- enhanced adoption of concurrent engineering methodologies.
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