OPORTO NETWORK OVERVIEW:
The OPORTO Network - 'Optimisation of Routing Operations' is a consortium of partners from machine tool, tooling, wood working industry and academia including universities and research institutes. The consortium is involved in the exchange of information, practical and scientific knowledge and data in the field of wood, wood derivatives and composite cutting. The aim of the network is to increase the knowledge of all the network participants, in the first instance, and of the European Woodworking industry in general with regards to the technical, socio-economic and environmental issues that currently face the industry and will affect its competitive position globally in the future. These issues include many factors, mainly those affecting the performance of machine tools, tools and finished products. Practical skills and scientific knowhow in the fields of machine dynamics, vibration monitoring, tool design, structural integrity, tribology, surface technology and material science are collected in the network. The network has a coherent plan for co-ordination of research and development activities of its membership that include specific objectives and close interaction of its participants both clusters as well as across them.
Research and development activities include complex continuous real-time condition monitoring of multi-axis machining process, wear analysis of tools and surface coating assessment using scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction methods (among a host of scientific material assessment techniques) and tribological and structural characterisation of physical and chemical vapour deposited state-of-the-art coatings. In addition to the above up to date numerical modelling techniques will be employed in the assessment of vibration performance of machine spindles as an aid in configuration sizing and re-design of high speed spindle routers. A large number of tests are planned between the partners and extensive links have been established with the aim of minimising the need for secondary arduous and costly corrective operations, thus enhancing both the economic competitive advantage of the European woodworking industry as well as the creation of a more socially acceptable working environment. The optimisation of the process is also envisaged to bring about a reduction in waste vis-a-vis both the workpiece material and tool materials thus contributing to environmental conservation. The findings of the network will be compiled in the form of a booklet of recommendations that will be disseminated to the interested partners in line with the Commissions directives and it is hoped that it will contribute in the setting of standards for future developments in the woodworking industry.
EUROPEAN DIMENSION AND PARTNERSHIP:
The OPORTO NETWORK groups eight industrial organisations, five national research institutes and two universities from four EU countries and from Switzerland. The geographic distribution includes two partners in Scandinavia, eight in Central/Western Europe and five in the Iberian Peninsula. The industrialists are: one from the machine tool sector, three from tool making (including surface modification) sector and four end users: in Portugal, Belgium and Sweden. All the industrial partners SMEs. Apart from participating partners several companies and research institutes situated in Italy and Switzerland have stated their interest in the network. OPORTO comprises representatives of all relevant industrial sectors which aim to enhance the performance of Tools and machine tools, by minimising vibrations of machine elements and optimising the tool-workpiece interactions (minimisation of shatter) to increase speed and improve surface finish. The manufacturers come mainly from the Centre and the end users from the North and South of the Union; the cohesion and interdependence of the various members of the Community will be strengthened by the collaboration.
The aim of the network is to investigate and propose methods that would enhance the surface quality of machined products by CNC routers and spindle routers. It is envisaged that the following three major areas need to be examined and their interactions taken into account: - Machine spindles; - Cutting tools; - Tool material. Through a better quality of machined surface the need for standard subsequent sanding operation would be diminished. Sanding operations create dust particles that have found to be hazardous to personnel and can amount to unacceptable environmental damage. There are currently no EU guidelines for this. An objective of OPORTO is to provide pointers to the possible implications of this industry as environmental issues are becoming progressively more significant in the management of technology.
Funding SchemeTHN - Thematic network contracts
HP11 2JZ High Wycombe
RM7 7PJ Romford
114 86 Stockholm
10128 Torino (Turin)
3680 Oliveira De Frades
HP12 3TR High Wycombe
937 32 Burträsk
BD7 1DP Bradford