Tool manufacturer SANDVIK Coromant uses neutrons to simulate tool-shaping processes.
ABOVE: Bartek Kaplan, R&D Engineer in Metal cutting modeling, Hjalmar Staf, Senior R&D Engineer and Industrial PhD student in Powder compaction, and Elias Nyrot, R&D Engineer in Materials characterization are involved in using neutrons for process optimisation at SANDVIK Coromant.
The Swedish company SANDVIK Coromant supplies cutting tools and solutions to the metal cutting industry. Inserts for cutting tools are manufactured by compacting hard metal powder, followed by sintering and post treatment. During the compaction process, friction between the powder and the press tool gives rise to density gradients in the powder compact. This gradient leads to uneven shrinkage during sintering, making it difficult to predict the final shape.
By performing finite element simulations of the compaction and sintering process, the shape after sintering can be predicted. So far, it has been difficult to experimentally verify the simulated density gradient after compaction and here neutron measurements are very helpful.
- Accurate compaction and sintering simulations can have a great effect on our business. With these simulations, we are able to create the desired components much quicker and by using fewer trial runs. Using this technique can therefore help us to save not only time but also expenses, says Bartek Kaplan, R&D Engineer in Metal Cutting Modeling at SANDVIK Coromant.
Measurement of the density gradient after compaction requires radiography or tomography techniques, meaning that the beam must be able to pass through the entire thickness of the sample. This presents a challenge, since the compacted components produced by SANDVIK Coromant often contain more than 80% tungsten carbide, a material that is known to have high X-ray absorption. However, this issue is considerably reduced by using a neutron beam.
- Being able to verify our research in this way is a dream come true. The possibility to measure density gradients in powder compacts is something that we have tried to do for years, in order to verify the accuracy of our compaction simulations, says Hjalmar Staf, Senior R&D Engineer and Industrial PhD student in Powder Compaction at SANDVIK Coromant.
For companies like SANDVIK Coromant, who are heavy on industrial and academic research, the SINE2020 Industry Call provides an easy and fast way of submitting and conducting a research study to benefit the company’s products and processes.
- The Industry Call enables us to have much quicker access to excellent research facilities with very competent staff. The simple application process meant that the proposal submission was a matter of days and the final decision by the evaluation committee was delivered within a matter of weeks, says Bartek Kaplan.
This case story is co-created with the SINE2020 project. The Industry Call initiative of SINE2020 invites applications from industry for the use of European neutron sources for test measurements or feasibility studies. More information about neutron techniques and the application process is available here.