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LASERFIT Report Summary

Project ID: 717922

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - LASERFIT (Laser cladding for the recovery of critical toolsdies)

Reporting period: 2016-03-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Car manufacturers have developed and incorporated new materials that guarantee mechanical properties to modern cars, such as greater impact resistance. The most remarkable ones are the Higher Strength Steels (HSS). As an example, Chrysler’s Gran Cherokee’s 29% weight was due to HSS parts and pieces in 2005, and currently latest models the ratio is 68% of HSS.
HHSs are widely used in critical pieces like body-in-white structural parts and in skin pieces, produced by cold and hot mechanical stamping. The use of HSSs requires a greater deformation force into those pieces, and for that reason, stamping dies must be more robust and deterioration rates are much higher because of the increased effort, especially in the curved an complex areas of the pieces. In this extent, currently hegemonic tendencies in vehicle design include style lines in sharp edges instead of lines with radius. These shape complexity increases even more the complexity of stamping process and dies’ wear. Skin pieces are a paradigmatic example of these problems: highly relevant for success in sales of each model but a first line source of production cost increases.
Thus, currently stamping dies suffer much greater wear rates than before, in part due to the use of new materials and in part due to the markets taste for complex shapes. Stamping Companies face the diatribe of dismissing the worn dies of try to repair them to reduce production costs on the risk of producing defective part or not achieving the required die strength. Stamping dies, throughout its useful life, are subjected to different processes which could be solved in the near future thanks to present project: restoration and repair of broken or damaged tools; renovation of damaged sharp edges by dents, for example in cutting tools; adjust mechanized errors during tool manufacturing; design changes.
GNC LASER has developed LASERFIT technology and built a pilot production cell for the reparation of stamping dies.

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

> Priority market segments have been identified taking into account the requirements of the applications and features of LASERFIT.
> Priority market segments structure has been analysed.
> Potential business model has been determined.
> LASERFIT proposal value has been analyses taking into account efficiency improvements scenarios for each market segment target.
> A business forecast analysis has been carried out. Sales scenario has been established according to a similar technology market introduction model. Additionally, investment cost for production needs have been determined.

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 work done during the 6 months of the project has thoroughly been following the work plan signed in the Grant Agreement. In the following lines, the work plan is explained and detailed:

Objective: Perform a deep market search on international automotive and aircraft tool&dies market, acquiring a deep comprehension of the particular dynamics of the market, key stakeholders, prescribers and distributors; identify and involve stakeholders for each demonstrator.
Tasks: Four different tasks have been implemented during the project execution:
- Task 1: Market study
- Task 2: Involvement of key stakeholders and demonstrators
- Task 3: Freedom to operate, value proposition and business model
- Task 4: Cost, revenues and funding scheme

As a result of the feasibility study, it can be concluded that the business related to the LASERFIT commercialization is feasible.
The LASERFIT project will go on according to the action plan defined in this feasibility study, developing a demonstration project that will help demonstrating and overcoming existing market barriers.
Thanks to the SME Instrument support, GNC LASER will develop a greater scope demonstration project, including activities of demonstration and dissemination of the product in the main global market.
The SME Instrument will also help to support the financial needs of the project, making it possible to reach the market, what is a market key to achieve a significant position.
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