Project: Measurement of complex and freeform shaped parts at elevated temperature

The geometrical distortion of workpieces is one of the most significant and common phenomena limiting the capabilities of manufacturing processes. The causes of distortion can be found in every step of the manufacturing cycle of metallic and non-metallic products and the costs of eliminating or correcting their effects are incredibly high. In particular, processes conducted at elevated temperatures and followed by cooling till room temperature can induce significant distortions especially on components characterized by thin sections. The possibility to measure the component at elevated temperature and to predict in-line its geometry after cooling would represent a significant enhancement in the process control. As well known, a quick setup of forging equipment is today required for small batch productions._x000D__x000D_The aim of the project is the development and validation of a measuring system capable to identify the shape and the dimensions of a component immediately after being processed at elevated temperatures, and to monitor its geometrical evolution during cooling in calm air. The addressed components can be characterized by complex geometrical features, such as hot forged blades with thin airfoil sections, hot rolled freeform profiles, glass formed components, etc. _x000D_The system should be applicable for the measurement of medium-sized parts in different industries; as a reference for the system specification, the project consortium has selected the hot forging process for turbine blades since it represents one of the most complex manufacturing processes in terms of part geometry (freeform thin profiles), material (Ti and Ni superalloys), temperatures (up to 1100 °C) and batch size (50 or less). _x000D__x000D_The measurement system to be developed during this project is a profile measuring system with a scanning operation along the third dimension. The system will be composed of the following CO parts_x000D_- modular measurement heads with laser devices, sensor cameras and integrated cooling circuits_x000D_- Measurement frame hosting the measurement heads, with heat shields and cooling circuits_x000D_- Scanning motion platform for moving the hot object along a direction perpendicular to the measurement plane created by the laser devices_x000D_- Measurement device for sampling the temperature during the cooling phase_x000D_- Computing platform with on-line measurement processing algorithms_x000D__x000D_The new product will be an “enabling technology” for entirely new applications in the forging industry and other manufacturing processes for complex freeform parts processed at elevated temperature, including:_x000D_a) identification of geometrical distortions due to phase transformation and other material-related phenomena during cooling_x000D_b) identification of geometrical distortions due to die misalignments or non-optimal settings of process parameters_x000D_c) first part inspection, quicker setup of the process (towards lean manufacturing, “SMED - single minute exchange of dies”). In some processes, 30% or more of production may result scrap due to the delay between process parameter setting and inspection._x000D__x000D_The availability of the new measuring system on the market, after its engineering, will enable:_x000D_- new process control capabilities for the forging process_x000D_- reduction of machining processes and additional operations after forging_x000D_- cleaner and more efficient manufacturing process for complex freeform shaped parts _x000D__x000D_

Acronym HOTGAUGE (Reference Number: 6692)
Duration 01/10/2011 - 31/12/2014
Project Topic The project will develop a new measuring system for the inspection of freeform shaped parts at elevated temperature, enabling on-line control of geometrical distortions during the production process of high added-value products (e.g. forging of superalloy turbine blades).
Project Results
(after finalisation)
_x000D_Design and construction of the moving table._x000D_Integration of the table with the measurement system._x000D_Installation and commissioning of the whole system, including the safety features._x000D_Design and construction of special fixtures for cooling and translation of parts._x000D_Experimental activities- DoE and full execution, synchronization with existing production environment._x000D_Quantification of the effect of different cooling-down strategies on part distortion._x000D_Joint scientific publications on international journals and proceedings of international conferences with Padua University.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 6

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
4 Zumbach Electronic AG Coordinator Switzerland
4 Università degli Studi di Padova - Dipartimento di Innovazione Meccanica e Gestionale Partner Italy
4 PIETRO ROSA TBM S.r.l. Partner Italy
4 Interstaatliche Hochschule für Technik Buchs - Institut für Produktionsmesstechnik, Werkstoffe und Optik Partner Switzerland