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Content archived on 2024-04-30

Rapid and accurate manufacturing of moulds and dies - using pre-hardened materials and innovative hexapod machine tools


The Technical Objective of this proposed RTD is to develop new rapid and highly accurate technologies for the manufacture of hardened steel tooling for the SME based tooling industry. There are more than 1O,OOO mould and die manufacturers in Europe of which at least 90% are SMEs. These small enterprises are encountering increasing compebbon particularly from pacific Rim countries such as Japan, Taiwan and China. To adapt to these pressures the European Mould and Die Sector has in recent years seen a growth in the use of electronic data transfer, computer assisted modelling and rapid prototyping techniques. The manufacture of hardened steel product on tooling has also improved with the introduction of CNC machining technology and enhanced cuffing tools and tool coatings However, the basic manufacturing methodology used by these companies has not changed significantly and during the production of hardened steel tooling one will typically find: -Machining on limited 3 or 4 axis machinery Multiple machine setups The utilisation of relatively low speeds and feeds Poor cutter orientation to the workpiece Complex process sequencing Inter process hardening (often on a subcontract basis) Extensive hand finishing and polishing of surfaces. Considerable scope exists to improve manufacturing performance by the introduction of novel machine and processing methodology. Promising areas of research include the evolution of a new generation of high speed. multi axis contouring machines with 5 or more axis of motion including revolutionary parallel linked
traditional machines. Further benefits can also be achieved by machining dies from pre hardened materials using state of the art tooling and extreme high speed cuffing conditions. The Industrial objectives of the proposed project will be to demonstrate: - The benefits of using 5 axis machining over 3 axis machining thus allowing greater geometric complexity. This will give an insight into the capabilities of such processes and open up new design opportunities for end users. -Rapid and reliable manufacture using multiple axis, high speed machining increasing productivity for die makers and reducing cost for end users. Simplified process routing by the use of pre hardened materials giving greater productivity for die makers and lowered cost for end users. The project will focus on Hexapod machinery which in development testing has proven to be more rugged, accurate and agile than conventional machine tools. These machines are simpler and lighter in constructor and provide significant improvements in rigidity. Hexapod machines should also be cheaper to manufacture, due to the use of simple modular components which do not use precision linear guide way technology. However, this cost potential will not be realised without wide scale application following market interest and improved confidence in the technology. This project aims to provide both of these stimulation factors.

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Vetab I Skelleftea AB
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Hyvelgatan 2
931 36 Skelleftea

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Participants (10)