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A FAST process and production system for high-throughput, highly flexible and cost-efficient volume production of miniaturised components made of a wide range of materials (Micro-FAST)
Start date: Sep 1, 2013, End date: Feb 28, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The aim of the project is to develop a completely new manufacturing system for the volume production of miniaturised components by overcoming the challenges on the manufacturing with a wide range of materials (metallic alloys, composites, ceramics and polymers), through: (i) developing a high-throughput, flexible and cost-efficient process by simultaneous electrical-forming and electric-fast-sintering (Micro-FAST); (ii) scaling up the process to an industrial scale; (iii) further developing it towards an industrial production system for micro-/nano-manufacturing. These will be enabled/supported by developing: (i) a new machine concept: Micro-FAST CNC Machine; (ii) an innovative inline monitoring and quality inspection system; (iii) innovative multiscale modelling techniques for the analysis of the micro-structural behaviours of materials and its interactions with the production processes; (iv) new tooling techniques for high-performance tools, and (v) high-performance nano-material systems. The whole development will take into account energy savings, cost and waste reduction, and recycling issues which will be studied thoroughly through an expertise Life-Cycle Assessment.           The development should lead to substantial improvements in the manufacture of components at micro and nanoscale with a good balance on cost and performance. The consortium seeks: reduction of the overall manufacturing cost by 50-100%; energy consumption by more than 30-50%; achieving full-density (100% density) components; direct economic gains for the SME participants of up to 5-25%.           The whole development will support the EU-wide product innovations involving use of miniature and micro-components in many manufacturing sectors and, especially with difficult-to-cut and difficult-to-form materials. Adopting the production system in industry should help the EU manufacturing sectors to gain new technological and business competiveness significantly.

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