This European collaboration will help maintaill and improve the competitiveness of the European hardmetal industry with respect to imports from USA and Japan, and also China in the future, through the development of products with better reliability and higher quality. The participation of Ieading industry supplies, producers and users in the network will provide an excellent dissemination route for the network output and will support the development of a common language between these different groups.
Industry members have expressed an initial desire for new methods for measuring the grain size and distribution of hardmetals. rt is proposed to set up a thematic network will have as its first objective the exploitation of current best practice and the identification of new research requirements on this subject. The core organisations initiating the activity comprise: Sandvik (Sweden) - Producer, User, Industry NPL (UK) - Research H C Starck (Germany) - Precursors, Intermediates, Industry TU Vienna (Austria) - Research
Swedish Institute for Metals Research (Sweden)
An additional company, French is being approached as a likely source of image analysis expertise.
Hardmetals are composite materials which are compacted under high pressure and sintered at high temperature. They are hard, strong and tough. They are used for metalcutting, rock-drilling and wear parts in the mechanical engilleering, machine tools, automotive and aerospace industries. Hardmetals are dominant in cutting steel and cast iron and their share in cutting and forming of non-ferrous metals, plastics, stone, coal and wood is still growing. Rockdrilling tools are used for mining, offshore oil, geological and civil engineering.
The hardmetal industry is international with strong industries in Japan and N America, as well as Europe. The proposed network contains Sandvik (Sweden), the leading hardmetal producer in the world and H C Starck (Germany), a leading European powder and precursor supplier. The group brings together two new EC member countries (Sweden and Austria) with organisatiolls in Germany and the UK.
Other measurement method requirements will be considered by the network in addition to grain size distribution.
For example, ten other European industrial companies are linked through the coordinator (NPL) to an international VAMAS bend testing exercise. The proposed network will allow the European participants in VAMAS to hold a seminar on the results of this exercise and invite wider participation.
The network has a high probability of successfully meeting its initial objectives because of the obvious self interest of the participants, a strong industrial drive, a democratic nodal structure, complementary industry, academic and RTO activities, and established performance measures and focused deliverables.
The workplan includes 8 identifiable deliverables; Workshop, State of Art Review, Identification of new research potential, Additional Membership, Newsletter, Research Invelltory, Trainillg and Exchange and Bend Test Seminar. The network is also aware of the need to look to the future and an evaluation meeting has been set up at an appropriate time.
Funding SchemeTHN - Thematic network contracts
114 28 Stockholm
126 80 Stockholm