The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) and the Luxembourg-based company CERATIZIT have signed a three-year collaboration agreement, within the framework of an FNR-funded research project. Over the next three years, the two partners will work on developing new physical vapour deposition (PVD) coatings for high speed machining technology.
The project, titled ‘Multilaered and nanostructured hard nitride coatings produced by high-power impulse magnetron sputtering with high temperature resistance‘ – or NANOPIMS for short – was retained for funding in the 2017-1 CORE-PPP Call, and is supported by the FNR with 355,890 EUR, with Patrick Choquet as LIST PI.
Adapting to emerging trends on the market
In addition to optimising costs, the machining industry is also looking to reduce environmental risks as much as possible by using as little lubricant as feasible.
This sees two major trends arise on the cutting tools market: ‘green machining’ – associated with the concept of reducing the amount of lubricant used – or near-dry machining, as well as an increased demand for PVD coatings which are able to withstand high temperatures. Consequently, during cutting activities the tools are faced with an increased surface temperature and subsequently a reduced life span.
Sharing skills and experimental facilities
CERATIZIT carbide experts and LIST researchers specialising in thin film deposition and reactive composite polymers, together with surface analysis experts, will pool their skills and experimental facilities to address this issue. They aim to optimise both the composition and microstructure at the nanometric level of the coatings currently deposited on the tools used by the industry, which are a few microns thick and made from titanium nitride and aluminium, in order to increase their operating temperatures whilst preserving equivalent performance.
In particular, they will look at chemical composition, microstructure and adhesion, as well as the final coating’s resistance to plastic deformation, and wear and tear. Whilst the analyses, mechanical tests and surface characterisation activities will be carried out in the LIST laboratories in Belvaux, the machining tests will be conducted at the CERATIZIT Group facilities.
A true challenge, which could eventually lead not only to a 15-30% improvement in the life span of the cutting inserts produced by CERATIZIT, but also provide additional knowledge about improving PVD coating resistance to oxidation and wear and tear at high operating temperatures.
Drawing upon each other’s experience
The collaboration between LIST and CERATIZIT is not new. It began in 2009 with developing PVD coatings. In recent years, they have begun studying new, hard, high-temperature nanocomposite coatings, as well as new key concepts and technologies for designing new hard coatings.
Thus, the two partners can draw upon mutual research experience on the subject to benefit this new research project.
More information about the NANOPIMS project can be found on the LIST website