DigiTool’s £1.2 million to cut the cost of damaged tools and dies
4 Jun 2019
The humble die may be an often-overlooked part of the industrial production process but the wear and tear it receives adds a substantial cost for British manufacturing.
But aided by £1.2 million with part of the funding from Innovate UK, a leading university and six industry collaborators are seeking to counter the high price of replacement and repair.
At the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), the DigiTool project plans to extend the lifespan of tools and dies and improve their performance.
The goal is to provide organisations with the ability to remanufacture parts with a combination of additive manufacturing (AM), adaptive machinery and industry 4.0 approaches.
The consortium led by Toolroom Technology Limited (TTL), working with Applied Tech Systems (ATS), Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies (HMT), Insphere Ltd and Kimber Mills International will use additive manufacturing and adaptive solutions for remanufacturing the damaged areas on dies using a retrofitted legacy machine tool.
Worn areas are identified using scanning and metrology before AM techniques, such as laser metal deposition, remanufacture the required die form.
Designed for easy integration within one digital platform, the DigiTool framework aims to provide an affordable solution for SMEs looking to adopt new technologies without purchasing a brand-new machine.
The centre’s recently-installed LMD Hybrid that integrates AM and machining will provide a single platform for the manufacturing techniques, designed to provide a cost-effective methods for SMEs.
AFRC machining and additive manufacturing team lead at the AFRC, Stephen Fitzpatrick, said: “The consortium is all bringing different areas of expertise to the project, which is hoped to enhance competition across the industry through the uptake of innovation and new technology.
“Investment has been slow across the tool and die sector, which has made it difficult for organisations with limited resources to rethink their manufacturing process. Through our additive manufacturing digital framework, we’ll provide these companies with access to new research, technology and insight.”