Jul 6, 2011

Developing innovative technologies to predict and control lead times and surface quality in milling processes

The 4th Working group of the European 'FoFdation' Project aims at developing innovative technologies to predict and control lead times and surface quality in milling processes.

Delcam recently hosted the inaugural meeting in Alicante, Spain, of the 4th working group of the 10 M€ FOFdation project funded by the European Commission. As the Co-ordinating Partner of this 4th working group, Delcam is combining its experience and expertise in manufacturing with eight other technical partners from six countries across Europe to capture and monitor the dynamic behaviour of milling machines to increase predictability in terms of surface quality and lead times. Partners include ARTIS (D), CADCAMation (CH), Centro Ricerche FIAT (IT), ECN (F), ETHZ (CH), FIDIA (IT), GF Agie Charmilles (CH) and the University of Patras (GR).

The nine partners of the 4th working group discussed and refined the development and validation plans aiming at:

- Improving predictability in milling processes by providing users with realistic visualization of the surface quality; this to prevent rework or even scrapping of parts. For this, realistic kinematic and dynamic models (signatures) need to be developed and integrated into DELCAM’s CAD/CAM solutions. Having access to this kind of data will enable that also a far more accurate estimation of milling time can be calculated thus leading to more efficient planning and utilization of machine tools.

- Developing methods and technologies for monitoring and processing real-time process information to enable corrective actions avoiding damages of tool, part and milling machine. For this, ARTIS’ range of monitoring tools will be further developed and tested. The outcomes will prevent production disturbances and increase in quality.

According to the coordinator of this 4th working group, Jan Willem Gunnink from Delcam PLC, "This working group contains a balanced combination of partners from industry, research institutes and universities who all see the need from industry for predictability in terms of surface quality and lead times. This will drive the working group to deliver project results to European manufacturing industries within the coming 2 years. The inaugural meeting already showed a great team spirit and a strong belief in the working group goals”.

This project is co-funded by the European Commission as part of the European Economic Recovery Plan (EERP) adopted in 2008. The EERP proposes the launch of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in three sectors, one of them being Factories of the Future (FoF).

Factories of the Future is a EUR 1.2 billion program in which the European Commission and industry are collaborating in research to support the development and innovation of new enabling technologies for the EU manufacturing sector. For further information please visit: