Machining and cutting technologies

To benefit economically from the promising potentials of lightweight construction in high-volume productions, processing costs for lightweight materials need to be cut significantly. Machining technologies and processes require improvement and modification because lightweight materials are processed in a different way from conventional metals. Examples of lightweight materials include fiber-reinforced plastics, such as CFRP and GRP, aluminium and titanium alloys, and also stack materials and composites.

The damage mechanisms affecting these materials and the requirements of tools, machine technologies and machining processes differ considerably. As a result, now and in the future, new concepts need to be developed along the complete machining process chain in order to realize cost-effective solutions for processing materials.

That is why the Department of Lightweight Construction Technologies at Fraunhofer IPA develops special machining and cutting technologies for these relatively new materials. In addition to machining processes and tool design, the department also focuses on coating technologies for tools, the implementation of cooling and lubrication systems as well as on simulating machining and cutting processes. Other key areas include the use of industrial robots in machining processes as well as ultrasonic-assisted cutting.

 

Coating technology

The challenges of machining lightweight materials, such as CFRP and GRP, are high tool wear and material-specific processing errors. Therefore, one of the solution strategies employed at Fraunhofer IPA is to develop innovative tool coatings.

 

Cooling and lubrication systems

Tool wear, processing times and dust emission can be reduced and machining qualities improved if a cooling lubricant is used when machining fiber-reinforced plastics.

 

Robot-assisted machining

In addition to the machine tools currently available on the market, industrial robots are increasingly being implemented as a cost-effective, flexible and automated manufacturing solution to process components. The challenges associated with this development call for new end-to-end solution concepts.

 

Ultrasonic-assisted machining

Ultrasonic-assisted machining extends process limits, enhances machining results and improves cost-effectiveness. This calls for the development of new machine components and innovative machining processes.

 

Machining processes for lightweight materials

Extensive product knowledge is required in order to devise cost-efficient tool concepts and machining strategies as well as quality control methods.

 

Simulation of machining processes

Modern lightweight construction technologies call for in-depth understanding of the mechanical behavior of single materials and composites. By simulating machining processes instead of performing experimental tests, development times can be shortened and resources accurately planned.