Integrated environment for precise and net-shape forging technology

Introduce cost-effective forging methods for precise and net
or near-net shape forged products through realisation of
novel forging environment integrating pilot plant facilities
for forging/tooling preparation with new software tools

Today, forging technology offers great potential for new forging methods and types of product, mainly in the areas of precise and net or near net-shape forging. If this potential is not achieved shortly in Europe, there is the real risk that Japanese industry will achieve leadership in the most advanced forging technology, whereas more traditional applications will drift away from Europe to low labour cost countries. The demand for more precise forgings of intricate shaping comes mostly from the Automotive Industry (e.g. constant velocity type components, variable gear racks, splined gear wheels, etc.). To meet this demand, current R & D activity in the field of forging is aimed at developing and introducing in the forging industry new steels and aluminium alloys, new forming methods (such as combination of cold, warm and hot forging) and new forging systems based on innovative forging equipment, advanced die-making technology as well as simulation and computerised techniques for product and process design. At the same time, the forging industry is urged to move from high production volumes to medium and small quantity production in order to meet the diversified needs of the market. Both new machines are fitted with automatic tool changing and tool setting systems, CAD/CAE tools for process simulation and design seem to be effective, for different reasons, in increasing volume flexibility in forging. The object of this project is to develop and introduce cost-effective forging methods for precise and net or near net-shape forged products through the development by the companies playing the role of end users in the project of novel forging environments where pilot plant facilities for forging (including hot, semi-hot and cold forging) and tooling preparation are integrated with advanced software tools for product design, process planning and preparation, as well as product quality management and assurance. The set of technologies involved in the development and exploitation of such a novel environment pertain to the three areas of: (i) product design and engineering (ii) production preparation (iii) production of forging. The project team consists of: (i) three companies, each of them playing the role of end-users of separated pilot plants (ii) one research centre with the role of know-how and technology suppliers and one University Department participating in the R & D activities, managing the project and coordinating the contributions from the different partners.
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17 500 000.00€
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Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.