M2i is leading a recently approved INTERREG project on smart manufacturing, entitled ASPECT. The concept behind ASPECT is linked to the use of modelling to predict and control the process conditions during metal forming. In particular, by predicting the variation of friction with process conditions and especially with temperature, the process parameters can be adjusted to ensure a stable process, maximizing productivity and minimizing loss of material. In ASPECT, an advanced simulation technology, which accounts for the variation of friction with temperature, will be implemented in industrial simulations and coupled with an adaptive control system. The approach will be tested for robustness in two industrial demonstrators, with very specific variable process conditions,  for both ends of the dimensional range: a car panel part at Opel and a micro-formed part of a shaver cap at Philips. The proven technology will then become available to European end-users, via industrial software packages.

The project builds on previous research performed at the University of Twente, sponsored by M2i and Tata Steel, which resulted in a breakthrough in the capability to model friction based on “real”, variable process conditions. This breakthrough has motivated several manufacturing companies to make the further steps to fully implement it in their production processes, eventually leading to the ASPECT consortium.

The ASPECT partnership covers the entire supply chain and brings together top research capabilities, the creativity and enthusiasm of fast growing engineering SMEs, the experience of major European companies and the network of well-established clusters, to transfer this knowledge to the entire transport and consumer goods sectors in Europe.

  • Coordinator: M2i (Netherlands);
  • Research partners: University of Twente (Netherlands); inspire AG/ ETH (Switzerland);
  • Tribology testing: Falex (Belgium); Dr. FILZEK TRIBOtech (Germany);
  • Software specialists: Triboform Engineering (Netherlands); M2i – Expert centre Modelling (Netherlands); ESI Group (France);
  • Industry: Philips (Netherlands); Adam Opel (Germany); Tata Steel (Netherlands); Zeller&Gmelin (Germany).
  • Manufacturing clusters: Pole EMC2 (France); AutomotiveNL (Netherlands).

The results of ASPECT will allow up to 40% increase in productivity for manufacturing OEMs, 20-25% reduction of maintenance costs and will enable new design capabilities for metal alloys and lubricants. Highly skilled jobs will be created, preserving the competitive edge of the European manufacturing sector and ultimately contributing to re-industrialising the North West European region. A wide dissemination activity is planned, with various demonstration activities and opportunities for both companies and University students to witness the progress and interact with the project partners.

M2i will soon launch a dedicated project website, where more details and the calendar of the project activities will be published. Meanwhile, for more information on the ASPECT project, please contact the project manager, Mrs. Iulia Degeratu, e-mail i.degeratu@m2i.nl. For information regarding the activity of the M2i Expert Centre Modelling, please contact Ir. Albert Konter, Valorisation manager, e-mail a.konter@m2i.nl .