Additive manufacturing and machining engineers at the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) which is operated by the University of Strathclyde, joined by six other companies, have created a low-cost remanufacturing solution that can extend the life of parts used within manufacturing by 120%, helping UK manufacturers to embrace the circular economy, boost sustainability, and save costs.

The two-year £1.2million DigiTool project was part funded by Innovate UK and focused on the remanufacture of dies, which are commonly used across the hot forging, stamp and press, moulding and oil and gas industries to shape metal during production, but are typically subject to high costs and long manufacturing lead times.

Designed to find a low-cost solution to these industry problems, the new DigiTool framework allows manufacturers to embrace remanufacturing, which is where previously worn or damaged parts, in this case dies, can be returned to “like-new,” condition.

The framework incorporates a three-stage remanufacturing process using a hybrid platform that combines additive manufacturing and machining and can be retrofitted to a legacy machine tool to save entry costs.

Using this technology worn areas are discovered using a combination of scanning and metrology, and then additive manufacturing techniques are used to complete the remanufacture back to the desired die form.

The DigiTool team has successfully used the framework to help an industrial partner extend the life of a die by 120%, allowing it to make more than double its normal output of complex parts for the forestry industry before investing in a new one.

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