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Final Report Summary - CLAREFOSS (CLean And REliable Forming Of Stainless Steel)

The ultimate goal of the CLAREFOSS project was to create a clean and reliable method for the forming of stainless steel. Clean forming includes the use of lubricants which are biodegradable and non-toxic. Many lubricants currently in use are toxic (due to chlorine and heavy metal content), and are non-biodegradable (since they are based on mineral oils). The lubricants developed in the CLAREFOSS project are eco-friendly, that is, they are both biodegradable and non-toxic.

Eco-lubricants for application in the deep drawing processes were developed by a project partner. These lubricants were characterised for lubricant properties and eco-friendliness, and compared with conventional lubricants. Further tribological characterisation showed that these lubricants were at least as good as conventional lubricants. Based on these findings, industrial tests were performed using these eco-lubricants to see whether they can replace conventional lubricants. The outcome of these tests is that Lacor is now industrially using eco-lubricants instead of conventional lubricants, commercially supplied by Brugarolas. From the cost aspect, the purchase price of the eco-lubricants is comparable to conventional lubricants, but the disposal cost is much lower. This means that there is both an environmental and an economical advantage, while maintaining a strong technical reliability.

Apart from the eco-lubricants, tests were also performed using coated tool materials. These coatings were first evaluated by TNO and Tekniker under laboratory conditions. Based on these preliminary tests, the most likely candidate coatings were selected for application by the end user. For this purpose, a separate test tool was made, which was coated by TTT, and used in production by Lacor. The application of this nitriding coating by TTT in deep drawing processes was an innovation for TTT. The applicability of hard metal inserts by Wolframcarb was also tested in the laboratory tests, as was the applicability to use ferritic materials instead of austenitic materials. Finally, the use of minimum quantity lubrication was assessed for application in deep drawing processes, with the above mentioned lubricants.

The CLAREFOSS project was presented in lectures at several conferences, and two work-shops were held with presentations of the different partners in the CLAREFOSS project. General information on the project is available on the project website.

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