Tooling plays a central role in the metal forming industry. Not only does its manufacture account for significant costs but its failure can lead to high costs when part quality suffers and machine down-time is high. In addition, the friction at the tool / part interface requires the use of costly and environmentally unfriendly lubricants which also often results in unhealthy working environment conditions. The need to reduce the production costs related to tooling is recognised by this group of SMEs as critical to maintaining competitiveness. Hard coatings are known to improve the tool performance and lower tool-related costs. This can be seen in the results of countless research projects and industrial case studies. The question is: If coated tools are so good, why doesn't every metal forming company use them where they have the potential to help? The truth is that many companies, especially SMEs, have tried coatings, and because of poor initial results, have never used them again for that particular process, or worse yet, have completely given up on the use of coatings. The reason for the failure is that companies often attempt to coat previously uncoated tools without changing their manufacturing process and surface finishing, producing poor results. The savings potential from the application of the proper coating with the proper tool manufacture is recognised by this consortium as being great, not only for the consortium members, but for the metal forming industry as a whole, a great number of vvhich are SMEs. This project will identify the relationship between the tool manufacture and the performance of a subsequent coating. This will be done by closely examining the tool manufacture parameters combined with an analysis of the metal forming and blanking processes. The tool performance will be measured in trials in end-users production. The results will be the creation of tool manufacture guidelines with respect to subsequent hard coating.
Funding SchemeCRS - Cooperative research contracts
WS10 9RF Wednesbury
CB4 5UG Cambridge