Report on IDMEC Institute of Mechanical Engineering visit 7.-8. August 2008 by Niels Bay
1. Introduction The undersigned, Professor Niels Bay, who has acted as member of the International Scientific Advisory Council of IDMEC in the period 2003-2005 and again in 2008 visited this year IDMEC’s Center of Advanced Production Technologies August 7-8, 2008. On the 7th of August personal discussions were held with Professor Paulo Martins on the general organisation and performance of his Center of Manufacturing and Industrial Management, CMIM, and on collaborative projects, whereas the next day was dedicated to meetings with about 10 members of his staff. In the following a review is given of the center activities based on these personal discussions and the annual reports of 2005, 2006 and 2007 provided before the visit. 2. Organisation and activities The CMIM, which is headed by Professor Paulo Martins, is organized in five thematic research groups:
1. Metal Forming Group headed by Professor Paulo Martins 2. Metal Cutting Group headed by Assistant Professor Pedro Rosa 3. Joining Technologies Group headed by Associate Professor Luisa Quintino 4. Rapid Prototyping Group headed by Assistant Professor Inês Pires 5. Industrial Management Group headed by Associate Professor Elsa Henriques
The CMIM facilities include research and training laboratories equipped with machine tools for metal forming, metal cutting and welding as well as equipment for materials testing and geometrical metrology. The staff includes 17 researchers, 1 facility engineer, 1 technician and approximately 30 students. Activities includes teaching, fundamental theoretical and experimental research and technology transfer to industry.
2.1 Metal Forming Group The Metal Forming Group was formed at the end of the 1970-es. During the later years an impressive amount of new equipment has been purchased or built implying that the laboratory is now very well equipped for R&D. Ongoing research activities include theoretical and experimental analysis of Single Point Incremental Forming, a rather new process especially suited for prototype and small quantity production. A unique theoretical model has been established proving the much larger formability in SPIF than in conventional sheet forming operation. The work is carried out in collaboration with the Technical University of Denmark. SPIF has been extended to forming of polymers and a theoretical model for SPIF in polymers including the special characteristics of these materials has been developed.
A mini-press for microforming of metals has been developed and equipment for electromagnetic forming has been obtained through collaborative work with the Technical University of Dortmund in Germany. The group’s strong involvement in development of FE programs is ongoing, supporting the above mentioned activites. As such 2D and 3D FE programs for cold forming of polymers has been developed. 2.2 Metal Cutting Group The Metal Cutting Group was formed in 2003. Fundamental research is carried out on the mechanics in metal cutting studying the mechanisms of material separation at the tool tip. A special purpose FE program modelling the metal cutting process based on ductile fracture mechanics has been developed. The work is carried out in collaboration with Professor Atkins at the University of Reading and presents a new very promising interpretation of modelling the mechanics of metal cutting. In order to obtain materials data for metal cutting analysis two high speed material characterisation facilities have been designed and constructed, i.e. an electromagnetic, split Hopkinson’s bar for high strain rates and a drop hammer for medium ones. Furthermore a special tribo-tester based on the pin-on-disk principle has been developed for measurements of friction of freshly cut workpiece surface towards a tool surface. Equipment for micro-EDM has been constructed for production of tools for the earlier mentioned microforming. For teaching purposes an industrial machine tools training laboratory and CAM teaining software has been established. 2.3 Joining Technologies Group The Joining Technologies Group was formed in the 1980-ies. The group is involved in R&D on new variants of MIG/MAG welding, health and ergonomics in welding, friction stir welding and laser welding, which is carried out at the Welding Institute in Portugal, as well as in UK at Cranfield Univ., where they have access to laser equipment due to long term collaboration in EU projects, visitng professorship etc. Topics of research are micro-laser welding and fiber laser welding of Ti, Al and steel. The group on friction stir welding is very active studying new assembly geometries, new materials and combinations (welding of metal foam, Cu-Al), welding and forming of tailored blanks, optimisation of pin tool geometry etc. The recent purchase of an ESAB friction stir welding equipment has implied new possibilities for research. 2.4 Rapid Prototyping Group The Rapid Prototyping Group was established in the early 1990-ies and restructered in 2008. It is primarily involved in rapid tooling, rapid manufacturing, virtual prototyping and reverse engineering. An interesting development is the patent on polymer tool inserts
for sheet metal forming, which are removed after forming by melting or dissolving. This patented technique has been used in an industrial project to produce hollow spheres from thin Al-tubes. 2.5 Industrial Management Group The Industrial Management Group was formed in the 1990-ies. R&D is focussed on development of new business models for the tooling industry, lean manufacturing strategies for SME’s, technology management and life cycle cost assessment for sustainable decisions, impact assessment of emergent technologies based on systematic analysis and technological cost models and stochastic models in operational research. Collaboration with the life cycle group at MIT has been established. 3. Concluding remarks
The Center of Manufacturing and Industrial Management is now established as a group of relatively young, very enthusiastic and competent researchers headed by a few senior researchers with outstanding international recognition. It is the strategy of the Center of Manufacturing and Industrial Management to possess mastership in key areas and good craftsmanship in others. This is a good strategy based on the fact, that the group with its limits of human resources wish to educate students with the competences required in industry. Key areas where the group reaches mastership of international standard is seen in bulk metal forming and welding. The research on metal cutting is on its way to reach a similar level. In general the contact to and collaboration with Portuguese industry is good.
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