Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS


IC2 Informe resumido

Project ID: 246172
Financiado con arreglo a: FP7-NMP
País: Norway

Final Report Summary - IC2 (Intelligent and Customized Tooling)

Executive Summary:

The European tooling industry experience that price-based competition is making it increasingly difficult to maintain production in Europe. To be competitive there is a need to develop new and smarter tooling concepts and reorganize the tool makers supply chain based on new emerging enabling technologies. The main goal of IC2 has been to increase the competitiveness of European tooling industry through development of new technologies and organizational and business model. IC2 has addressed the tool cost and time-to-customers, as well as quality, performance and higher value added tools utilizing a combination of (i) wear resistant coatings with friction control, (ii) surface embedded sensors, (iii) hybrid manufacturing, and iv) novel organizational and business models. The main focus has been on injection moulding tools in research and technology development, as well as making real demonstrators. However, the results are to a large extent applicable to other tools, dies and moulds.

The main result of IC2 is a new concept for Knowledge Intensive Tooling for the benefit of European manufacturing competiveness, with demonstrated increased tool life and expected reduction in process tact times and total tooling/manufacturing and maintenance costs. Through the integration of additive manufacturing technology with conventional processes IC2 has exploited the features of an integrated conformal cooling system. One feature brought by the integration of conformal cooling is a reduced thermal impact and more uniform temperature in the tool, demonstrated in the main demonstrator "Knowledge Intensive Tooling". This is known to reduce stress in the mould and thereby increase the lifetime and reduce maintenance costs, which results from the main demonstrator also confirm. An additional expected results is reduced temperature induced expansion and shrinkage during the moulding cycle, which allows the application of coatings of different materials with even better lubrication, wear and other surface properties. This will further improve insert lifetime and reduce maintenance, as well as enable improved product quality through improved surface properties.

Through optimized wear resistance and tribology control IC2 has also demonstrated increased product quality. Furthermore, several developed application tests will ensure acceptance of the solutions in the industry. Some of the developed tests are now state of the art, and offered by the partners to the industry. Further improvements of insulating coatings are expected, and exploitation will be made in other segments than sensor embedding. Collaboration between some of the partners in the consortium on establishing new projects has already started.

The embedded sensors, applied in prototype and bridge tooling, has shown to provide information about the temperature and other conditions in the mould cavity which can be used (for instance in simulations) to optimize the design of the full scale production tools. This especially includes the configuration of the conformal cooling channels. The possibility to pattern 3D substrates with good dimension control and repeatability is only partly demonstrated. However, further development and exploitation of novel sensors that can be deposited on a wide range of shapes and materials with a functional insulation layer has been done.

An integrated control system for the combined manufacturing process is also a result of the hybrid manufacturing activities. The project has also provided a prototype system for optimizing the manufacturing operational sequence based on defined product features.

Finally, IC2 has also provided ambitious, innovative toolmakers with guidelines and tools to set the right direction for them to be sustainable competitive through purposeful alignment of capabilities and resources to create superior customer value, within the organization and across organizational boundaries. IC2 has contributed in closing the gap between the need to adapt existing company structures and process structures in the supply chain and the ability to perform the changes by providing a decision support kit for SME toolmakers.

The project has demonstrated many of the RTD results in real-life business applications at the different industrial partners. The industrial demonstrators have been related to hybrid manufacturing, bridge tooling and mother tools, surface treatment and resistant coatings and organisational model.

Project Context and Objectives:

IC2 has addressed the tool cost and time-to-customers, as well as quality, performance and higher value added tools utilizing a combination of (i) wear resistant coatings with friction control, (ii) surface embedded sensors, (iii) hybrid manufacturing, and iv) novel organizational and business models. The main focus has been on injection moulding tools in research and technology development, as well as making real demonstrators. However, the results are to a large extent applicable to other tools, dies and moulds.

The RTD activities in IC2 have been structured in five work packages (WPs), with the following main objectives:

• Tribological coatings and surfaces (WP2): Establish new knowledge on ductility, tribological, wear and thermo mechanical properties of coating layers as well as coating adhesion on tool surfaces. Establish new knowledge on the combination of optimized surface roughness and coatings for improved tribological control.
• Embedded sensors (WP3): New micro and nano-structured surface embedded sensors in tools, establishing new knowledge on the manufacturing of surface embedded sensors
• Hybrid Manufacturing (WP4): Prototype hybrid manufacturing cell with a combination of additive and subtractive processes including control methods and process planning.
• Organizational and business models (WP5 and 8): Development of new business and organizational models for tooling industry utilizing the new technologies and providing hybrid manufacturing and tool condition monitoring and management.

In addition to those, the project consisted of two Demonstration WPs, with the following main objectives:

• Industrial demonstrators (WP6): To place the project R&D results into real-life demonstrators located at the industrial partners plants.
• Knowledge intensive tooling (WP7): Develop a system demonstrator for a new generation of high performance tooling, based on better knowledge of the process parameters during the actual moulding process.

Finally, the project included a WP for "Dissemination and Training" (WP9), as well as a WP for "Management" (WP1).

The sub-objectives for the respective work packages were:

WP1: Management

• Overall legal, contractual, ethical, financial and administrative management of the consortium
• Effective management of the activities and exchange of information and results with good interaction within the project and towards the EC
• Ensure compliance with project plans and that the project activities and deliverables meet the appropriate quality levels
• Establish and manage quality assurance plan
• Coordinate intellectual property rights (IPR) and other innovation-related activities at the consortium level together with the Business Development Group (BDG) in WP8.

WP2: Tribological coatings and surfaces

• Development of electrically insulating (dielectric) pinhole-free coatings suitable for sensor applications
• Deposition of functionally optimized wear-resistant protective coatings in connection with sensor embedding
• Deposition of insulating and protecting coatings on bridge- and hybrid manufactured tools
• Tribological tests of coatings, tribological surfaces with embedded sensor systems, coated additive manufactured hybrid tools and bridge tools

WP3: Embedded sensors

• Develop technology for patterning 3D substrates with industrially viable dimension control
• Identification and evaluation of possible sensor structures and materials to achieve optimal sensor performance
• Surface embedded sensors on machine parts with increasing complexity level
• Sensors on knowledge intensive tooling systems

WP4: Hybrid Manufacturing

• Integration of additive and subtractive (for example: CNC, milling, EDM, & polishing) manufacturing equipment into a hybrid manufacturing cell
• Development of a prototype system for optimising the manufacturing operational sequence based on defined product features
• Development of a prototype integrated control system for the combined manufacturing process

WP5: Organizational models

• Enable tool manufacturers to organize fast tool repair and maintenance
• Improve tool development in partner networks
• Optimize communication channels and knowledge transfer in the partner network
• Strengthen cooperation between tool maker and tool user
• Solution for close customer integration in tool development
• Approach for networked tool development with embedded sensors and surface coatings

WP6: Industrial demonstrators

• Specification of the Industrial Demonstrators (ID) in form of two prototypes (one before the middle and one before to the end of the project) for every toolmaker based on the available equipment of the toolmakers and the technical solutions from WP2, WP3 and WP4.
• Implementation of the two ID prototypes at the industrial partners
• Demonstration of Organizational and business models
• Running the ID prototypes, testing of solutions and elaboration of proposals for the optimization of the R&D activities for the second or the exploitation after the project

WP7: Knowledge intensive tooling

• Demonstrate the tooling concept of IC2 by development of knowledge intensive tooling system, based on simulations and high quality in-data from surface embedded sensors
• Develop a generic tooling platform with interchangeable core and cavity inserts
• Development of bridge tooling with embedded sensors
• Process monitoring and control based on in-data fed from surface embedded sensors in tooling
• Simulation of injection molding based on in-data from sensors in bridge tooling
• Development of optimized high performance tooling inserts based on simulations

WP8: Business models

• Implementation of tool life time services
• Improved Product-Service Systems for tooling industry
• New business models for the tooling industry
• Cross-sectional transfer of knowledge about Product-Service Systems
• Service bundles and business opportunities for hybrid manufacturing
• Business model for remote tool condition monitoring and management

W9: Dissemination and Training

• Ensure an effective dissemination and industrial exploitation of the knowledge and results generated throughout the project period all over Europe
• Facilitating state-of-the-art knowledge flow integrated over Europe
• Finding new and novel applications of the generated results through a dedicated and effective dissemination
• Training of personnel in SME’s in the possibilities of applying hybrid manufacturing including potential of advanced embedded sensing systems

Project Results:

RTD - Research and technology development activities:

Within the research and technology area/WP “Tribology coatings and surfaces” a series of tests have been made to determine the insulating capability of Al2O3 for varying thicknesses, different substrate roughness preparations and the insulating capability around edges. Samples have been milled and eroded by Recon, polished by Polérteknik, coated by DTI and tested by VTT (non-destructive) and Acreo (destructive). The data from the tests have been analysed and several results and conclusions found. For instance the tests concluded that polished surfaces are better suited for sensor embedding, hereafter milled and spark eroded. Other conclusions were also drawn related to how varying coating thicknesses and edges affect the insulation performance. These results are described in public deliverables and partly also in publications.

An additional test for defect determination in the insulating layer was developed by Baldur. In this test a Cu plating technique was developed, where current is running through the defects. The defects can be located by an optical microscope. This technique may be used to gain a better knowledge of the defect origin and thereby optimize the coating performance. Based on the concept of running current through the defects, an activity has been initiated with Aarhus University where it is investigated if it is possible to detect defects by a thermal camera. If this succeeds it will be possible to make a functioning sensor on a substrate with defects.

As wear-resistant coatings DLC coatings have been pursued by DIARC. At DTI, CrN coating solutions have been used. Results show that both coatings obtain good adhesion in all interfaces. The adhesion between the Al2O3 and the sensor material has for a long time been the weakest point. In order to improve this, a new version of the insulting layer was developed by DTI. This layer contains a graduated layer where the Al2O3 layer is doped with Ti in the deposition process forming a TiO2 rich top layer. This layer has shown to give better adhesion to the Ti layer which has been deposited by evaporation before the Pt sensor layer was added by Acreo. Another attempt was to deposit the Pt layer by arc deposition at Diarc. This also shows good adhesion directly on Al2O3. Here the benefit originates from a higher kinetic energy in the deposition process of the deposited Pt atoms compared to the evaporation process which is made in the clean room.

Several application oriented tribological tests have been performed in the project. These are tape testing, Rockwell C testing and scratch testing. By scratch testing the adhesion between Al2O3 and Al2O3 coatings made by DTI has been tested by VTT. In this test it was not possible to provoke any delamination even with a load of 30 N, a result that corresponds well with results from the Rockwell C test at DTI, performed on the same layered system.

In mechanical tests performed at VTT it was shown that the entire embedded system had good mechanical properties after the new Ti doped top layer was introduced on the first insulating Al2O3 layer.

Coating of Al2O3 has been performed by DTI on AM samples produced by SINTEF, and polished by Polérteknik. The adhesion of the Al2O3 coating to the AM sample was good, and no process problems as e.g. excessive degassing was observed. It is concluded that AM samples can be coated in a comparable manner to regular steel.

In the area/WP “Embedded sensors” the results of the calibration of the Pt100-like sensors done by DTI provided valuable information for further improvement of the sensors structure, and as a result the final sensor structure includes an additional top Ti layer. The sensitivity of the sensor is about half of a “standard” Pt-based temperature sensor. However, the sensitivity is still at a functional level and most there are no obvious problems out of a practical point of view. DIARC has further developed their temperature sensor fabrication method consisting of deposition of Ti + Pt + Ti on steel substrates and adding a protective top coating of Al2O3/AlTiOx. The wear resistant top coating has been developed to have a good adhesion to the sensor layer, and this has also been confirmed with good test results. DTI has also performed similar work based on the sensors fabricated at Acreo and studying the adhesion of wear resistant coatings on these structures. VTT has developed their sensor fabrication technique using Direct Write Thermal Spray (DWTS) and embedding them with wear resistant coatings deposited using the same technology. The sensors have been characterized and the effect of the relatively thick layers fabricated by this technique has been assessed in order to give proper instructions to the industrial demonstrators how the substrate is affected by these added layers in terms of surface topography. Acreo has been investigating the use of laser ablation for patterning 3D tool parts, and the sensor readout system has been further developed to match the criteria for the demonstrator at the industrial partner Plasto. DIARC has developed a novel piezoresistive nanocarbon material with ultra high sensitivity for temperature and strain. The sensor can be integrated on 3D surfaces of metal, polymer and ceramic components.

In the area/WP “Hybrid manufacturing” a generic pallet system for clamping and positioning has been evaluated. The palette system shows satisfactory stability for machining at reasonable milling speeds. Further, a practical evaluation of the properties of three different potential steels for base part material in hybrid manufacturing of injection moulding tool inserts has been executed. Based on the results from the evaluation together with the fact that Marlok has the advantage of sharing the hardening properties with the AM tool steel, Marlok has been found to be the preferable material for the base part in the hybrid tooling insert. The tests also gave machined surface roughness within the limits of the substrate (starting surface) for AM building with a powder bed system. A practical solution to preparation of the building surface within the hybrid cell has been developed, that reduces the number of required manual process steps.

A conceptual prototype of the OMOS system (Optimized Manufacturing Operation Sequence) has been developed. It is based on a software that analyze the 3D CAD insert geometry and determines the separation line between the sections that should be produced by AM and CNC milling, respectively. This piece of software has finally been implemented in the application programming interface of SolidWorks CAD system. Further, an improved probing sequence in the CNC milling unit (DM) has enabled an exact position of the base part work piece and determination of the coordinate system. The position of the base part in the coordinate system can then be transformed to the coordinate system in the Additive Machine (ConceptLaser, M2). In combination with the fact that the exact position of the substrate surface for AM building also can be determined in the CNC unit, this enables a significantly higher accuracy in positioning the AM-part onto the base part. Further, an operator interface has been developed and implemented in the hybrid cell, which simplifies the operation and facilitates making the right decisions during the process.

In addition to the tasks defined in the DoW, some investigations which became very relevant due to results achieved during this project have been conducted. ConceptLaser's standard tool steel (CL50WS) has been built onto a substrate that had been prepared with the novel CNC based procedure. Tensile test bars have been prepared from the samples produced, and the tensile tests have shown no weakness in neither the joint between base part and the AM produced section nor in the AM produced material. On the contrary - the fracture was ductile and placed within the base part material for all samples. Primary investigations of Marlok C1650 for AM-building have also been performed with no apparent porosity and a ductile fracture in the base part material. The same powder has been used for several builds with apparently good results.

In area/WP5 "Organizational models" several workshops with involved partners were carried out during the first months, to gather information, analyze and aggregate the toolmaker requirements, specifications and challenges regarding organization models related to implementation of hybrid manufacturing and intelligent knowledge based tooling. A consolidation of the results and deduction of scenarios has been done. Further, detailed generic value chains for prototype/bridge and series tools have been developed and documented. It is possible to apply both generic value chains independent from each other as well as to interconnect them. This important aspect was considered since trends in the tooling industry show that in the nearer future a close collaboration between prototype toolmakers and toolmakers for series tools is necessary and furthermore the customer market will request partners in Europe that master both.

A concept for project debriefing has been developed. Project evaluation will enable toolmakers to quantify the overall project success in the sense of a critical review and capture lessons learned (potentials for improvement) for upcoming development activities in the future.

The technological progress achieved in the IC2 project is only one step towards the commercialization of the technology. In addition, adaptions of the value chain and partner network have to be recognized early by the toolmakers and, to ensure the entrepreneurial success of the new technology, the value chain and partner have to be designed according to the needs of for instance surface embedded sensors. In the research area/WP5 "Business models" work was done to describe the business model of a partner network offering tools with surface embedded sensors on the market and the methodology for describing and detailing the business model and the configuration of the partner network. The main focus of this research work was the definition of roles in the partner network, the description of the interaction scheme between the partners and the determination of information exchange necessary to ensure high quality and high performance tools. Furthermore, the developments concerning organizational models and business models done in IC2 have been gathered and presented in a toolbox. The toolbox guides SMEs through the complex and difficult process of business model development and evolution. The different methods, which are decribed in detail in public deliverables from WP8, are generally based on existing strategic management approaches. However, they have been adapted, where necessary, towards the needs of the IC2 partners. Since the industrial partners of IC2 are SMEs of the toolmakers, the value chain with high technological competency and expertise and the presented approach should be applicable for all innovative SMEs in the tooling sector.

Further results concerning the future development of each companies business have been summarized in company-individual case studies. The different market segments and potential customers have been identified and reported in a description of company-individual business models. Each company have described their value proposition including complementary services and further business opportunities, and the first discussions with potential clients were done and their feedback reported.

Demonstration activites:

In the first demonstration work package WP6: “Industrial Demonstrators (IDs)” the processes for testing and evaluation of RTD results for the first Industrial Demonstrators (IDs) have been installed at the plants of the different industrial partners, and these processes were used for continuous demonstration activities until month 30. Furthermore, the demonstration activities for the second IDs for the last six months of the project were specified. In difference to the first ID prototypes, a more detailed structure of the processes for IC2 was worked out and used to describe the planned demonstration activities. The main focus of the demonstration activities has been the preparation of later exploitation activities of each partner.

Based on the new specifications the final tests and demonstration activities were done in the last 6 months of the project. New RTD results (surface embedded sensors, new coatings, etc.) have been integrated into the demonstration activities with success. A further topic was the preparation of the exploitation activities of all industrial partners, as well as exploitation activities of some RTD partners in view on direct contract applications with the industry.

Some of the main demonstrator topics and results are:

• Recon: a comparison between a conventionally produced insert and an AM insert was done to test the release properties towards various polymers.
• DIARC: has developed the wear resistant DLC coating to further improve its release properties in plastic moulds. The high hardness of a DLC coating has been combined with a novel material which gives excellent release properties for many polymer materials. In addition, they have developed and demonstrated a novel thin film sensor material. This material “DIARC® Senso has been commercialized.
• Cirp: designed two new tool inserts in order to test different additive manufacturing processes for tooling. Further, a demonstrator to compare pure aluminum inserts with diamond-like coated alumina inserts (DIARC) and an eloxadized aluminum insert have been done in a multi (4) cavity mould. Finally, examinations were conducted to variants manufactured by use of plastic sub-inserts which were manufactured in different additive manufacturing systems.
• Plasto, RIT and SINTEF: In correlation with WP7, demonstration activities on hybrid manufactured inserts with an integrated gas evacuation system was done by RIT, Plasto and SINTEF. The aim was to avoid the diesel effect during the injection moulding process, by including a porous section in the bottom of the crevice where gas can be evacuated.
• Polerteknik: Polishing of ceramic coatings and inserts made by traditional milling and hybrid manufacturing respectively (Recon and SINTEF).
• Workshops were carried out to identify the value creation potential of the individual SMEs in IC2, based on the IC2 developed technology. The service portfolio of the industrial partners has been analyzed, and different potentials have been identified. Description of IC2 business models for all partners has been completed in co-operation with WP8.
• Elos Medtech Microplast AB: a surface embedded sensor on the outside of the core pin which electrical connections at the base. So far an electrically insulating layer has been deposited and the plan is to add a sensor layer and a protective top coating.
• DTI: a number of different coatings are tested together with for instance MicroP, and based on the results a product has been launched – CrN-super slip
• VTT demonstrated their abilities with DWTS. With this technology, it is possible to print metallic and ceramic materials in fine feature patterns onto complex geometries. This enables structurally-integrated sensors, antennas & devices in 3D.
• In WP5 and WP6 the organization and business models of the industrial partners have been examined and new models have been detected and demonstrated in WP6. One example is the business model of Recon for sensor integration and additive manufactured inserts. After some changes, the model is now tested in a customer case. In September 2013: the first customer order was confirmed.
• Furthermore, new business models for the production of identical tools was developed in WP8, tested and further developed in WP6.

In the second demonstration WP, WP7: “Knowledge intensive Tooling”, the bridge tooling design has been completed and machined with basic, non-conformal cooling channels and channels for sensor wiring and gas evacuation. The first, insulating layer was applied to the insert, at DTI, and two different types of sensors were built on the surface of the bridge tooling insert: One type of thermocouples were deposited by shadow masks (Acreo) and another type was deposited by Direct Write Thermal Spray (VTT).

After some final adjustments the insert was assembled in the tool in the production facility at Plasto. Testing the sensors revealed that the shadow mask sensors did not function properly. The most probable explanation for this is that a conductive layer had been short circuited through the insulating layer. However testing of the DWTS sensors indicated full functionality, and therefore the test could proceed according to plan. Series production of approximately 30 pieces was performed, and temperature curves from three different positions on the insert were acquired. The test production showed that there is some crust left remaining either on the insert, or left as flakes inside the cavities from the pillars. This is normally an indication of insufficient cooling. This was expected since the cooling system in this insert is very similar to the cooling system in the present production tool inserts, which are made from the more conductive copper alloy and still do not have as much cooling as desirable.

A solution to gas evacuation by integration of porous sections on the critical points in the insert had been tested in an adjascent insert of the same tool. For these inserts there were no signs of wear, flakes, or material sticking. After more than 30000 cycles there were still no signs of wear in the insert, which is noteworthy since the original copper alloy production tool inserts normally would be worn out after less than 10000 cycles. Furthermore, there is no indication that the porous areas are being blocked by any deposits of material. Clearly the test of this solution has been very successful and therefore a section with porous material used for gas venting was selected in the final WP7 production grade insert.

Simulation has been used (Moldex 3D) and adjusted with results from real sensor readouts from the test series. This gave a clear picture of where cooling was needed. However, there are some practical limitations to where cooling channels can be placed inside the insert; there must be a certain amount of material between the cooling channel and the tool surface (a minimum crust thickness) and the channels cannot be too thin if it shall be possible to remove the loose powder. Therefore, the cooling channels have been designed manually to accommodate these conditions and at the same time correspond to the needs indicated by the simulations.

The design of the insert has been analyzed with respect to which part is most suitable for production by each manufacturing principle in the hybrid manufacturing cell, and the insert was separated in two sections – one for CNC and one for AM. The insert was manufactured in the hybrid cell; base part was machined in the CNC unit and the machining sequence was completed by the preparation of the upper surface as a substrate for AM building, by milling. The insert was heat treated for precipitation hardening according to specifications, and thermocouple sensors were applied to the prepared grooves by DWTS. The accuracy of the fabricated sensors was checked in the laboratory oven against commercial K-type surface thermocouple. The measured temperatures from all the sensors were within 0.1 °C range. The insert was mounted in the original production tool (see Figure 5), cooling channels fitted together and sensor wiring connected to the monitor.

22 parts were produced during the test series. The parts produced showed that the gas venting system performed as expected, and the indication from the sensors showed exceptional decrease in temperature on the surface of "fingers" as compared to the bridge tooling: from close to 100°C to barely 30°C.

Potential Impact:



The following section presents the impact of wear-resistant coating, polished tools, hybrid manufactured tools and application of surface embedded sensors on quality, time and costs.

Wear-resistant coatings

Time (Criteria: Influence on the overall solution):

• Tool development time: Consult a specialist, may take less than 1 day.
• Tool production time: Increased by 5 days + transport.
• Process cycle time:Unchanged or better.
• Ramp-up time: However, due to improved slip properties a reduced time for run-in of the tool is often seen.
• Time to SOP: Time to SOP is increased with 5-7 days + transport by adding a wear-resistant coating.
• Additional time quality assurance: Less than 1 day.
• Influence on time for MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul): The time for repair in case of a re-coating is 5 days + transportation. The improved wear-resistance due to coating leads to longer intervals between repairs.
• Time for unexpected tool changes in all life-cycle stages (adaptability of the tool design): The time for unexpected tool changes in case of a re-coating is 5 days + transportation.

Quality (Criteria: Influence on the overall solution):

• Quality of tool design (approved design, standard design): The technique is mature, well known and made on a production scale. Development of optimized coatings is continuously made leading to significantly improved wear- and slip properties.
• Tool quality (i.e. reliability, wear properties): The wear of the tool is reduced, in some cases more than a factor of 10. Additionally, the slip of the polymer can be increased significantly, especially on high quality molding.
• Production process accuracy and controllability (i.e. failure rate, cpk (process capability), ppk (process performance)): A typical coating thickness is 3-5 µm. The maximum variation is approximately 20% (10% in overall variation and 10% due to geometrical issues). Higher precision is possible but additional costs could occur. In case of errors or repair, it is possible to de-coat the sample and redeposit a new coating.
• Product quality (i.e. tolerances, reliability – only if performance limits due to the production technology will/could be reached): Due to less wear of the tool a more homogeneous quality is obtained. Improved slip properties can lead to less seizing and thereby better product quality.

Cost (Criteria: Influence on the overall solution):

• Tool development cost: Costs are very low since the development time is very short.
• Tool production cost: In the range of 1-5 % of the total tool cost.
• Additional cost for product production: There are no additional costs. For samples that are difficult to mold a reduced failure rate can be obtained due to improved slip.
• Influence on costs for MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul): A re-coating of the tool will have a similar price as the initial coating. However, due to improved wear resistance the time between repairs is increased.
• Recycling costs for the tool: No additional costs for recycling
• Disposal costs for the tool: No additional costs at disposal.
• Material costs for the product: Unchanged.

Surface embedded sensors:

Time (Criteria: Influence on the overall solution):

• Tool development time: Consult a specialist, may be less than 1 day
• Tool production time: Increased production time of a tool with surface embedded sensors (standard sensor structure).

 5 days insulation layer deposition
 5 days sensor integration
 5 days insulation and wear-resistant layer deposition

In addition, transportation time between the different partners has to be considered. Custom structures require about 4 weeks fabrication time for the shadow masks which can be fabricated in parallel to the tool fabrication and started as soon as a decision on the tool and sensor design has been made.

• Process cycle time for part production: Improved cycle times are possible as the temperature of the molded part can be measured in situ enabling optimized cooling time and decreased total process cycle time.
• Ramp-up time: No influence on the ramp-up time.
• Time to SOP: Time to SOP will increase 15-20 days + transport.
• Additional time quality assurance: Less than 1 day.
• Influence on time for MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul): If the sensors are located at the correct place, the tool condition can be monitored which leads to longer periods between needed MRO, i.e. condition based maintenance. If the sensor is damaged, all coatings need to be redone.
• Time for unexpected tool changes in all life-cycle stages (adaptability of the tool design): The placement of sensors on the tool part is custom-made and an unexpected tool change does not add more time than the normal sensor fabrication time.

Quality (Criteria: Influence on the overall solution):

• Quality of tool design (approved design, standard design): Sensor fabrication is a standard process. However, sensors on tool parts are all custom-made. This gives us a well-controlled fabrication process resulting in custom sensors that need individual calibration as the surface roughness and topography affect the result.
• Tool quality (i.e. reliability, wear properties): Due to the increased number of interfaces (insulation + sensor + top coating) there is a higher risk of delamination defects than for single layer coatings.
• Production process accuracy and controllability (i.e. failure rate, cpk (process capability), ppk (process performance)): Surface embedded sensors increase the process control as some parameters such as temperature are made available under real running conditions. This enables for example verification of flow simulations and cycle time optimization. The sensors will detect problems with partial filling, increased temperatures due to the diesel effect and other process phenomena that affect the temperature or pressure.
• Product quality (i.e. tolerances, reliability – only if performance limits due to the production technology will/could be reached): Sensors increase product quality by enabling online process control. They give the product a quality assurance as the product is fabricated under correct process conditions, e.g. by preventing the ejection of plastic parts at too high temperature.
• Visibility of the technology for the customer/ fostering of customer delight (e.g. innovate manufacturing technologies): The sensor element is embedded under a protective coating and is not visible. Connections on the tool part will be visible at some point and measurement data will be made visible for the user on a computer screen where the real value of using intelligent tool parts is made evident.

Cost (Criteria: Influence on the overall solution):

• Tool development cost: Cost of one working hour to discuss the placement of sensors on the specific tool part.
• Tool production cost: Sensors: + 1500€ (several parts might be coated simultaneously for the same cost depending on the tool size). Total cost adding sensors on tool parts will include costs for insulation coating, sensor fabrication and final top coating.
• Influence on costs for MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul): Sensors enable condition based maintenance where maintenance intervals can be increased and tool breakdown avoided. If an increased wear is observed on the top coating during maintenance inspections, there is a possibility to recoat only the top layer. In case of errors, all coatings need to be redone.
• Recycling costs for the tool: No additional costs. Very small amounts of precious metals might be recycled.
• Disposal costs for the tool: No additional costs at disposal.
• Material costs for the product: Unchanged (is already included in the tool production costs).

Polished tools:

Time (Criteria: Influence on the overall solution):

• Tool development time: If the tolerances are very small or the geometry is complex, the polishing process should be considered already during the tool design phase. Consult a specialist.
• Tool production time: Increased by 1-5 days + transport, depending on tool size and complexity.
• Time to SOP: Increased – depending on tool size and complexity
• Additional time quality assurance: Additional QA is needed to check the quality of the polished surfaces.
• Influence on time for MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul): Polished surfaces require more attention during the molding process

Quality (Criteria:Influence on the overall solution):

• Quality of tool design (approved design, standard design): Since the polishing process removes material, this should be considered in the tool design. The quality of the polished surfaces and the geometry should be clearly specified and include standard measuring methods and tolerances. If strictly planar surfaces are needed, this should be considered in the tool design phase.
• Tool quality (i.e. reliability, wear properties): In general, a smooth surface has a lower risk of corrosion.
• Production process accuracy and controllability (i.e. failure rate, cpk (process capability), ppk (process performance)): The purpose with a glossy surface of a product can generally be divided into three categories:
o 1: Optically bright surface. Small defects are more visible on a glossy surface. Control could be done by comparing with a sample.
o 2: Geometrically correct surface. In general, smaller tolerances require more attention during the molding process. The higher the demands are, the more difficult it is to check the quality.
o 3: Pore-free surface. This often requires special control equipment.
• Visibility of the technology for the customer/ fostering of customer delight (e.g. innovate manufacturing technologies): A polished surface will be visible for the customer as a glossy surface on the product.

Cost (Criteria: Influence on the overall solution):

• Tool development costs: Slightly higher, as more aspects have to be considered during the tool design.
• Tool production costs: In the range of 1-15 % of total tool costs.
• Influence on costs for MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul): Polished surfaces require more attention during the molding process and re-polishing can be needed during the tool´s life time.
• Disposal costs for the tool: No additional costs at disposal.
• Material costs for the product: Unchanged

Hybrid maufactured tools:

Time (Criteria: Influence on the overall solution):

• Tool development time: As compared to conventional tooling; Add between a few hours up to a few days for design of conformal cooling and venting channels, dependent on the complexity of the tool insert As compared to tooling with conformal cooling (made by AM); No change
• Tool production time: As compared to conventional tooling; The AM sequence is time consuming, and could easily add up to 40+ hours to the production time, -but it is not labor intensive, and the machine can work independently, for example, over nights and weekends. As compared to tooling with conformal cooling made by AM; Reduce manual labor for set-up times, and increased precision approximately 60%, decreased need for geometric offsets further reduces the time needed for post AM machining.
• Process cycle time for part production: As compared to conventional tooling; Cycle time reduction by 15-50 % dependent on the product. As compared to tooling with conformal cooling (made by AM); None
• Ramp-up time: As with any new tool insert; no change
• Time to SOP: As compared to conventional tooling; Add 2-5 days, (which however could include a weekend). As compared to tooling with conformal cooling (made by AM); Decrease by 1-6 working days
• Additional time quality assurance: Very complex tools with parallel conformal cooling channels may need some quality inspection to verify that all channels are rinsed from powder and the cooling fluid flows through the whole system. But normally this would not be necessary
• Influence on time for MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul): The use of AM in tool insert production allows for venting (gas evacuation) in critical positions. This may prolong the life of the insert significantly. -One IC2 demonstrator insert have now served for more than three times as many cycles as the expected life span of its conventionally made counterpart, and still shows no signs of wear.
• Time for unexpected tool changes in all life-cycle stages (adaptability of the tool design) See above!

Quality (Criteria:Influence on the overall solution):

• Quality of tool design (approved design, standard design): Requires a new model for design. Knowledge in designing conformal cooling and venting channels is required, and flow simulation is an additional valuable tool.
• Tool quality (i.e. reliability, wear properties): Identical to conventional tool steel, considerably stronger than copper alloy tool material which in many cases could be the alternative due to cooling needs.
• Production process accuracy and controllability (i.e. failure rate, cpk (process capability), ppk (process performance)): As compared to conventional tooling; None. As compared to tooling with conformal cooling (made by AM); Measurement and verification is integrated in the production process, enables significantly higher accuracy
• Product quality (i.e. tolerances, reliability – only if performance limits due to the production technology will/could be reached): As with conventional tools
• Visibility of the technology for the customer/ fostering of customer delight (e.g. innovate manufacturing technologies): If the customer is the injection molding company, hybrid manufactured tools will be an obvious delight

Cost (Criteria:Influence on the overall solution):

• Tool development cost: As compared to conventional tooling; Add the cost for designing conformal cooling and venting. As compared to tooling with conformal cooling (made by AM); The same
• Tool production cost: Add the cost for the use of the AM machine
• Influence on costs for MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul): If any effect, decrease of cost due to decreased need for MRO
• Recycling costs for the tool: As conventional tooling
• Disposal costs for the tool: As conventional tooling
• Material costs for the product: For the tool insert: Depends on the size of the AM part: powder has considerably higher price per weight than tool steel in a block; however the section built by AM has a smaller waste of materials during subtractive machining.
• For the final product; No change


The official project homepage has been established under the following domain:

The website contains basic information about the project, as well as news, public publications, events and similar. In addition the site has a direct link to a mailing list for those who want updates, newsletters and other information related to the project. A LinkedIn Group has also been established with a link from the website.

The 1st annual open meeting was arranged on 16th of September, 2011. The meeting took place at cirp GmBH in Stuttgart. A general presentation of the project, overall goal, objectives, consortium description etc was given in addition to the first results. The 2nd annual meeting (T9.4) was arranged as a “IC2 Conference” the 28th of September, 2012. The open meeting took place at Grundfos in Bjerringbro. The open meeting gathered up to around 80 interested attendees. The third and final open meeting was held at SINTEF and MiNaLab in Oslo, Norway, the 17th of September 2013. This meeting gathered around 50 interested attendees. In both of these conferences the main research results from IC2 were presented and the program also included relevant presentations from outside the project.

The statistics of the dissamination activites are:

- 3 scientific papers
- 11 conference papers
- 1 paper in International Trade Journal
- 15 papers in National Trade Journals
- 16 oral presentations, 2 poster presentations and 1 Newsletter delivery action in different conferences
- 13 dissemination actions in fairs and exhibitions
- 4 activities in breakage events
- 5 presentations in trade and professional association meetings
- 4 IC2 Newsletters delivered
- 3 Open meetings for industry and academia for sharing the information within the consortium.

The IC2 project and the technologies developed were also presented in some national seminars, such as “iKuben, Material technology seminar; LEARN FROM THE BEST - Invitasjon til materialteknologi-seminar” in Norway.

The major dissemination event for IC2, in addition to the open meetings, was EUROMOLD 2013, 27.-30.11.2012, in Frankfurt (Germany). The project had a stand with posters, handouts, newsletters, samples and a video. The video is available on YouTube: The project has also created other videos that are available on YouTube ( and and from the official website.


ER1: Approach to identify and evaluation business opportunities

Key aspects of the result:

• The approach enables SMEs to identify their business opportunities and assess them.
• Resource allocation to perform the assessment and cost are suitable for SMEs
• The measures considered are tailored to the needs of the tooling industry.
• The approach can be used either as self-assessment or guided assessment performed and supported by experts.

Exploitation channel:

• Consulting portfolio of USTUTT and FhG (3 day workshop, excl. preparation and follow-up), 8000€ per assessment – can be combined with the methodology for business model development – part of a method kit for business model development
• Currently cross-sectional transfer of the results (NewBEE project - construction SMEs)
• Use by IC2 partners to improve their business or other companies based on the IC2 handbook for business model development

ER2: Methodology for business model development

Key aspects of the result

• Methodology provides templates and a structured questionnaire
• Other approaches that are free available provide not the same detail level
• The approach covers specific characteristics of the tooling industry

Exploitation channel:

• Consulting portfolio of USTUTT and FhG (3 day workshop, excl. preparation and follow-up), 12000€ per assessment – can be combined with the approach to identify and evaluate business opportunities – part of a method kit for business model development
• Currently cross-sectional transfer of the results (NewBEE project - construction SMEs)
• Use by IC2 partners to improve their business or other companies based on the IC2 handbook for business model development

ER3: Interaction schemes (on network level) for hybrid manufacturing and integration of intelligent sensors into tools

Key aspects of the result:

• Interaction schemes describe the adaptions in the value network that are necessary due to the integration of surface-embedded sensors and application of hybrid manufacturing
• Interaction schemes considers information exchange between the different stakeholders in the value chain
• Visualization (network scheme, value chain and table for information exchange) can be used for discussions in cross-functional teams

Exploitation channel:

• Methodology for interaction schemes can be applied in different sectors –improvement of the approach in further research projects is necessary
• findings concerning sensors and HM are the starting point for definition of a business plan
• use by IC2 partners planning to introduce this technologies or other companies based on the IC2 handbook for business model development

ER4: Shadow masking structures/sensors

Key aspects of the result:

• Possibility to pattern 3D substrates with good dimension control
• Also possible use for shadow masking of flat substrates
• Repeatable and low cost patterning
• Material deposition often costly
• So far functional sensors have been fabricated on tool parts
• Risk: depending of functional insulation layer

Exploitation channel:

• Shadow masking can be applied on parts made of several different materials.
• Offered to customers of Acreo

ER5: Sensors by DWTS

Key aspects of the result:

• functionality of the sensors has been proven in injection molding process
• sensors can be used for temperature measurement for other application areas where durability and high temperature applicability are required

ER6: Embedded Sensors (Thin film)

Key aspects of the result:

• Not fully developed, but insulation of substrates is ok.

ER7: Novel sensor material for temperature, pressure and strain sensing

Key aspects of the result:

• A piezoresistive nanocarbon material with ultra high sensitivity for temperature and strain
• The material measures very accurately even small changes in the temperature
• The possibility to integrate sensor directly on 3D surfaces of metal, polymer and ceramic components makes it interesting for many applications

Exploitation channel:

• Available as a commercial product from DIARC

ER8: Coating for plastic moulds

Key aspects of the result:

• DIARC Cromo: Coating effectively prevents the sticking of polymers and decreases the need for mould maintenance
• Can be deposited with excellent adhesion directly on moulds or as a protective coating for sensor structures

ER9: CrN and DLC coatings for injection moulding tools

Key aspects of the result:

• Technology is available – the product is implemented in tools at Novo
• Focus is on high-end products
• Increasing the design freedom for the parts

Exploitation channel:

• CrN super-slip coatings are now sold in Scandinavia and is presently limited by ion implantation capacity. This is being increased and expected ready in 2014. After the capacity is increased it will be promoted further.
• DIARC has included the newest DLC technology in their product portfolio

ER10: Mechanical testing and adhesion test of coatings

Key aspects of the result:

• Evaluation of thin film characteristics by micro-scratch testing and determination of critical loads for crack generation on coating (LC1) and coating delamination (LC2).
• Evaluation of polymer material sticking on substrate or tool surface in simulative test in elevated temperatures.
• Tribological performance testing in sliding contact conditions (pin-on-disc or reciprocative sliding) to verify the friction and wear performance of coatings or layered structures, also integrity of layered systems under loaded sliding contact.

ER11: Insulating coatings

Key aspects of the result:

• DWTS coatings have shown to be useful for sensor embedding
• ALD coatings are being produced by Baldur – tested for e.g. corrosion protection etc.
• Thin film coatings can be used for electrical insulation in mechanical contacts, but is presently not at a production mature state for sensor embedding
• Techniques to allow for defects in the coatings are being tested

o Short-pulse laser cutting of defects
o Detection of defects by electrochemical means

Exploitation channel:

• Al2O3 coatings have been sold by DTI several times as an insulator in mechanical contact, especially on the German market

ER12: Pinhole tester

Key aspects of the result:

• A commercial setup for measuring pinhole density in thin films is developed
• 2nd round of prototype is ready
• The design of the system will be optimized for commercial sale

ER13: Mother tool modification

Key aspects of the result:

• Optimized mother tool concepts by Raufoss, Elos, Recon and cirp
• Shorter delivery time, Reduction of tooling costs, High flexibility

Exploitation channel:

• Used in daily business

ER14: Hybrid cell insert manufacturing

Key aspects of the result:

• Time benefits in comparison to normal hybrid manufacturing, shorter injection molding cycles demonstrated

Exploitation channel:

• Service by SINTEF and Recon. Technology transfer to tool makers and machine providers

ER15: Surface finishing

Key aspects of the result:

• Improved process to smooth the surface of steel and aluminum inserts

Exploitation channel:

• Core service of Polerteknik
• Sub-contracting of Polerteknik by tool makers
• First real application by cirp and Polerteknik

ER16: Plastic-Aluminum Hybrid Sub-Inserts

Key aspects of the result:

• Demonstration of principle functionality. Suitable for production of variants with less than 10 parts per variation. Represents a total new business for cirp.

Exploitation channel:

• New R&D project where cirp is a partner
• Common business model together with additive part manufacturing

ER17: The Hybrid Manufacturing cell

Key aspects of the result:

• The whole concept and/or its different parts (control software, OMOS and solutions for integration of process steps) is exploited as a prototype
• A more generic hybrid manufacturing solution would require participation of the different OEMs.

Exploitation channel:

• Master students at NTNU
• Through innovation projects in Norway
• Can be exploited by anyone with ambition to excel in hybrid manufacturing.

List of Websites:

Public website:

Contact details:

Coordinator and project manager: Lars Tore Gellein:

WP Leaders:

WP2: Tribology coatings and surfaces: Bjarke Holl-Christiensen:
WP3: Embedded sensors: (replaced
WP4: Hybrid manufacturing:
WP5: Organizational models:
WP6: Industrial demonstrators:
WP7: Knowledge intensive tooling:
WP8: Business models:
WP9: Dissemination and training:

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