Flex-Tool

An integral process value chain based on Hybrid Manufacturing process for a flexible and reconfigurable production of high complexity tooling

Project start: Apr 2019

Project end: Mar 2021

Funding agency

EUREKA
Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

Details

The Flex-Tool project will tackle a global solution for an innovative hybrid manufacturing process that wil combine Laser Material Deposition additive manufacturing technique with 5 axis milling, in order to produce medium-large-scale forming tooling. The solution combines two antithetical processes: the additive manufacturing by LMD (Laser Metal Depostion) and the machining by chip removal. The approach allows building complex die and molds, repairing damaged tools or even building internal cooling channels by means of the LMD process. On the other hand, the subsequent machining of the part in the same machine enables to obtain the final accuracy and roughness requirements without changing the fixture of the part. Moreover, only one machine-tool is required for the whole process instead of a separate cell for LMD and a finishing milling machine.

The project focuses on the tooling industry, which is a key sector within the European economy due to its proximity to the automotive sector. In this way, a high impact of the project is expected in this industry, considering the additive manufacturing as a real game changer in the design and manufacturing process of this type of components. Therefore, the project will finish with a global and specific solution for the implementation of new-concept hybrid machine tools in the tooling industry, including a specific CAD/CAM/CAE solution and a final validation of the system.

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