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Objectives and research methods of the INFIBLANK Project

This project has the following objectives:

  • The increase of the general lifetime of tools for cutting and blanking operations, by means of special coatings in combination with a substrate that possesses optimal hardness and toughness.
  • The application of these coatings so that the tool is covered with a uniform and good adhesive layer
  • The selection of PVD coatings and steel substrates for cutting and blanking of high strength steel and stainless steel
  • The possibility to use DLC based coatings as well as self adapting coatings to achieve the goal
  • The study of combined heat and deep cryogenic treatment (DCT) to obtain a stable wear resistant structure for the tool substrate so that no distortion occurs after the coating operation and wear is substantially reduced after cutting operation.
  • The possibility to work with or without lubrication and to obtain a high service lifetime

The research methods which will be used are:

  • Theoretical studies,
  • Lab scale tests for initial determination of optimized coating/substrate combinations
  • Heavy duty industrial tests for concept prove of optimized combinations

Theoretical studies

All relevant data concerning the base material treatment, the coating characterization and the fine blanking technology will be gathered. The limiting factors and the failure modes will be identified. Design measures for coating/substrate combinations will be investigated which lead for example to a better efficiency, a smaller tool wear and a higher tool lifetime.

Lab scale tests

Based on initial tests of substrate/coating specimen the investigation on optimized combinations will be done. Afterwards the best combinations will be tested in real tool application on lab scale base in a general tool for small fine blanking components. The experimental work will be performed using the equipment of IWU (press). The experimental research on lab scale will focus on basic hole or triangle geometries.

Heavy duty industrial tests

The optimized Coating/Substrate combination will be tested in two complex demonstrator geometries. (one demonstrator in each Country / Region). The work pieces to be manufactured will be real production parts (within the limits of the possibilities, based on the size, complexity, and so on).

The obtained cut sheet materials and the tools can be investigated using the following techniques:

  • visual inspection,
  • 3D-geometrical measurements,
  • Metallographic investigations for quality measures
  • SEM-micrograph inspection