Forging of aluminium light weight alloys is a new and innovative production technology. Until today, European SMEs have not had access to this market because reliable data for the processing of these materials does not exist. In this project those problems shall be solved that still prevent industrial implementation: Which lubricant, coating, and sufface roughness should be chosen in order to eliminate galling/adhesion when forging at high deformation rates? Laboratory tests clearly show that strong adhesion occurs between workpiece and tool during Al forging. This results in process interruptions making maintenance of the tools necessary. Until now, it is not known which tribological parameters are the most responsible for the adhesion. The galling tendency increases with increasing deformation rates. SME forging shops mainly use mechanical and energy based presses and therefore forming machines with high deformation rates. It is the aim of this project to determine a tribosystem that avoids galling with these deformation rates. Comprehensive variations of lubricants, coatings, and tool roughnesses will be investigated. The galling tendency will be minimized by determining an adopted tribosystem for aluminium forging. How can time and cost intensive trials and errors be minimized if simulation tools are not available? In order to reduce trial and error runs during production, simulation must be used in the preproduction phase. At present, there are no existing simulation tools that are equipped to provide accurate Al specific tribological data. Tribological data will be determined by ring compression tests and refined by comprehensive real forging tests in industry. The tribological data will be implemented in a finite element subroutine. The forging shops will be instructed in using this tool to identify an accurate forging tool sequence and to predict central process parameters. How can stable and robust thermal and tribological conditions be achieved during production? Due to the high thermal conductivity of Al alloys and their sensitive tribological behaviour during forging, forging needs to be carried out under precise and stable thermal and tribological conditions. An automated cooling and lubrication system will be developed and installed in the shop floors making it possible to reproduce tribological conditions. By separating the cooling and lubrication sequence, the device will furthermore be used to adjust defined temperature profiles within the tools which then allows the realisation of stable thermal and tribological conditions during forging. By providing answers to these central problems, this aluminium forging technology will be accessible to European SMEs which will then enable them to take part on the increasing area of light weight components.
Funding SchemeCRS - Cooperative research contracts
B25 8LD Birmingham