Manufacturing companies in the metal working sector have to be able to react swiftly to changing circumstances – whilst maintaining low production costs and high part quality. In the case of injection molding tools or end products with optical properties, high surface quality is paramount. Since surfaces of this nature cannot be produced solely via milling or electrical discharge machining, a subsequent process step is required: Downstream operations have previously involved mainly time-consuming and expensive production methods such as manual polishing or mechanical surface hammering.
The aim of the "HGROka" research project is to come up with a tool concept for surface finishing which will provide greater flexibility in conjunction with lower production costs.
The Method: A carbide tool with a large cutting-edge radius is pressed onto the workpiece. The pressing process evens out roughness peaks on the workpiece and the subsurface hardens. The tool can be deployed in automated operations and without additional machine assemblies in conventional 5-axis machining centers, making it an economically efficient option.
On the basis of the tool concept outlined above the Fraunhofer IPT is collaborating with its partners in the HGROka Project to develop a pliable tool holder which will permit infeed whilst maintaining a constant level of force between tool and workpiece. The constant force applied, ensures that consistent workpiece surface properties can be achieved.
An additional aim in this research project is to reduce the level of wear sustained by the carbide tool via a modified tool microgeometry alongside targeted tool coating.
It is anticipated that optimization of this tool concept will help to make a pressing process capable of enhancing surface quality available for industrial application in the near future..
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Grant Code: EFRE-0801244