The overall aim of the proposed project is a significant reduction of the time and costs involved in the development of sheet metal forming parts, by the application of laser sintered functional prototyping deep drawing tools and dies.
The laser sintering technique will be further enhanced by an improved process control and the application of newly developed materials. This laser sintering process will then be applied for the direct manufacturing of functional tool sets. These tool sets will provide the basis to develop an industry ready rapid metal forming product development chain which covers the entire development process of metal forming products.
The first sequence of the development process is the CAD design of the prototyping tool set. To support the designer, the CAD system has a knowledge base with rules for the design of elements creatable by laser sintering. This tool set will be manufactured by the enhanced laser sintering process and be compared to a conventionally manufactured reference tool set. Based on these practical tests, a set of guidelines will be composed, describing the needs for the implementation of the investigated rapid product development chain in an industrial environment.
The results should lead to an improved and enlarged applicability of this technology in the short term thereby significantly enhancing the competitiveness of the industrial sector employing prototypes in their design process. In the long term, it can be speculated that fabrication by laser sintering may become a segment of the modern day machine tool industry.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts