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TGRIP Report Summary

Project ID: 673151

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - TGRIP (Nanostructured gripping material for clamping complex workpieces)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2015-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

FRESMAK designs, manufactures and commercialises workholding fixtures and clamping systems for the machining of complex high-value workpieces. Complexity of workpiece in this project is understood as:
• Large pieces with complex geometries, requiring several consecutive clamping-machining operations and several workholding fixtures. The piece is usually clamped to the fixture outside the cutting-machine in a precision operation that could take from several minutes to more than one hour.
• Pieces in advanced materials, particularly non-ferromagnetic ones like aluminium or titanium and composites.
Complex high-value pieces are a growing field, particularly in high requirement sectors like the aeronautic, and especially in Europe, where 30-40% of worldwide manufacturing of these pieces is concentrated. Remarkable examples of these pieces are fuselage structures and complex pieces of the jet engines. FRESMAK, in collaboration with POLYMAT (University of Basque Country), has developed an alternative innovative clamping element, called TGRIP, based on the principle of adhesion. Main features of TGRIP are:
• It’s a rigid, non-residue leaving, reversible and reusable adhesive material activated and deactivated through temperature (>60⁰C) that maintains adhesion force at ambient temperature.
• Easy to manufacture, cheap material that can be machined at precisions below 0,003 mm, to create high precision fixture-workpiece contacts and unions.
• Does not compromise the cutting area, exactly like electromagnetic and vacuum clamping.
• Very high adhesion, clamping and cutting forces per unit of surface (1.000 N/cm2), between 6-12 times higher than the electromagnetic and vacuum technologies.
This principle is applicable both to ferromagnetic and non-ferromagnetic materials, and is suitable for thin wall and complex geometries. At the same union force range it is 50% cheaper than the vacuum alternative and 80% cheaper than the electromagnetic solution. At a same range piece of high complexity, due to TGRIP requires less fixture equipment and machining steps, it is 70% cheaper than the mechanical clamping systems.
The overall objective of the project is the demonstration of TGRIP technology in the market and the configuration of the first commercial range of TGRIP based clamping devices destined to be supplied the worldwide fixture and clamping system manufacturing sector.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In this action we’ve deeply analysed the business opportunity for TGRIP and we have elaborated a comprehensive business plan regarding the current and foresighted features of the market and our capacities in FRESMAK. The main conclusions of the action are:
• In the Product Acceptance test we have identified the target market segment and involved demonstrators
• We’ve performed a Marketing Analysis concluding that: the market is very large but we should focus on the European Tier 2 and Tier 3 market segments; each of these segments will consume different goods and services; we’ve got enough capacity to serve with an extension of facilities if required; we’ve already got the needed collaborators within our current distribution channels; the market is expected to double in 10 years.
• These finding has allowed us to know better the needs, motivations and potential resistances from customers and end users. We’ve defined the consequent business model and customer value proposition and the communication strategy to overcome resistances, foster the demand and materialise sales. No burdens have been identified in the Freedom to Operate study.
• In the economic study we’ve analysed the financial dimension of the business considering both the SMEI project and the foreseeable heritage of the company after the completion of the action. The profitability opportunity is large and clear and the loss risk is relatively low.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The expected final result of the action is the demonstration in the market of TGRIP technology

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