Continuous process chains for the automated repair of moulds and tools using generative manufacturing methods
Duration: 01.08.2019 - 31.07.2021
Current economic situation and challenge
The German tool and mould making industry, a key sector for many industrial branches, is under constant pressure from competitors, especially from the Asian region. As a result, numerous customers in this sector have tried to award their orders to Asia on the basis of cost pressure. This trend is continuing due to production relocations, particularly in the automotive industry. However, it is not possible to meet the quality requirements and required delivery times.
This is where the scientific-technical and economic orientation and objectives of "Continuous process chains for the automated and resource-efficient repair of moulds and tools using inline-monitored generative manufacturing processes" (ProRepForm) come into play. One of the declared aims of the project is to develop and establish a continuous process chain for the automated and resource-efficient repair of moulds and tools by means of inline-monitored generative manufacturing processes, thus providing German tool and mould manufacturers with a proposed solution that can provide an economic advantage through the envisaged repair approach and the resource-efficient use of tools and moulds. At the same time a more efficient production in the addressed fields of tool and mould making shall be enabled.
Figure 1: Vision of the ProRepForm project
Scientific and technical work objectives
A major goal of the project is the further establishment of powder-based laser cladding for the generation, reworking or repair of tools, moulds and instruments. The innovative claim is seen particularly in the precision to be achieved and the resource-saving application of this technology, which is to be achieved by a special hybrid process approach and in situ process control in a continuous process chain. A typical continuous process chain, as successfully tested and used by the project partners, is illustrated in Figure 2.
As the degree of automation increases, the precision of the build-up welding process increases. As a result, important parameters such as the geometry to be removed for seam preparation or the allowance required for reworking can be planned precisely and resource-efficiently by using CAD/CAM systems and component digitization. For this purpose, the project partners will fall back on proven solutions, also with the support of the associated partners, due to the intended project task orientation and achievement of objectives. A central content is the data management in reverse engineering. The step from the point cloud to the CAD file is to be simplified by means of adapted, software-based solutions. By developing a plug-in for the hybrid system concept, an integrated solution for the efficient processing of point clouds is to be created via the fewest possible conversion steps.
Figure 2: process chain