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The research and development activities of the manufacturing and industrial management (MIM) are funded by the National Science Foundation, the European Union, the Ministry of Industry and private companies. In the past five years, the average funding per year was 537 k€.
The average funding per year, per integrated member was 38.4 k€.

The following projects were selected to illustrate the activities of the research team members in different areas of manufacturing and industrial management:
Fabrication of metallic liners for composite overwrapped pressure vessels
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The aims and objectives of this project financed by ESA (ARTES 5.2) and led by OMNIDEA (Aerospace Technology and Energy Systems) is the development of a new manufacturing process for producing metallic liners for composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPV’s) that are commonly utilized in satellites and spacecraft.

The new manufacturing process is protected by an international patent (Patent request no. PCT/PT2009/000007, European Patent Office) and combines an innovative tube forming operation, which is capable of shaping commercial tubes into seamless metallic liners in a single stroke of a press, with a sequence of post-forming operations comprising machining, joining by crimping and welding, and gas tightness testing by means of non-destructive examination.

The new manufacturing process is an alternative to existing fabrication solutions based (i) on the combination of sheet metal forming processes such as rolling, hydroforming or spinning to produce the central section and the end domes followed by longitudinal and circumferential welding to complete the assembly or (ii) in machining from solid metallic blocks to produce two halves (each of them including an end dome and part of the central section) followed by circumferential welding to complete the assembly.

Metallic liners with 50, 60, 120 and 200 mm diameter and different storage capacity, made from commercial tubes of aluminum AA6063-T0 are currently produced in the laboratories of the center of manufacturing and industrial management and in an industrial Portuguese company.

Fabrication of scaffolds with growth factors, for bone tissue regeneration, by 3D printing
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This project, funded by the National Science Foundation, aimed to study and optimise the additive production of porous matrices or scaffolds for bone tissue applications, using the 3D printing technology. These porous matrices should allow osteoblast cell adhesion and proliferation, which is fundamental to promote bone tissue regeneration.

Within this project the additive production of calcium phosphates scaffolds was studied and optimized in terms of raw materials (which must be suitable for the 3DP process and simultaneously should met the scaffolds requirements for bone tissue engineering), in terms of process parameters and of scaffold architecture and design. This work allowed to develop and to produce bio ceramic 3D printing powders and scaffolds with tailored properties. The research work developed within this project ended successfully with the implantation of a calcium phosphate porous matrices on a dog tibial zone, to treat a cruciate ligament rupture. After the surgery dog improved its mobility and the bone tissue regeneration was revealed by x-ray.

The research teams involved in this project were: IDMEC-IST, CICS-UBI, CERAMED and the Hospital Veterinário de São Bento.

Examples of a SEM image of the morphology of the starting powder, quality test
plates and scaffolds made by 3D Printing
Left the cage produce by 3DP, right the x-ray of the cage implanted after surgery
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Gearless generators are of increasing interest and turbine system manufacturers are looking into gearless energy systems projecting onto 2015. Gear operates on mechanical engagement and friction which implies loss of energy and mechanical damage on parts in long term. Gearless generators, on the other hand, are possible by employing magnets, for which powder metallurgy (PM) and most notably powder injection moulding (PIM) is an ideal process and currently sought after.

Current tidal stream device technologies use bladed fans or oscillating hydrofoils to convert kinetic energy in a flowing current of water into rotary motion driving a generator. The purpose of this project is to integrate an improved generator through appropriate selection of magnets with an innovative tidal system to stream tidal energy as a renewable source. Driven by the need for high energy efficiency, minimal friction loss as in a gear system, therefore present potential opportunities.

In this project, we will develop improved magnetic generator by exploring the use of high performance rare earth magnets, as well as iron (Fe) based PIM options for benchmarking and optimisation, in combination with an innovative generator design and power system connection to integrate with the tidal device and achieve a high energy conversion in terms of electrical power from the kinetic energy potential of tidal streams.

Industrial use of near net shape PIM magnets for wave and tidal devices in renewable energy generation will be achieved, and therefore increasing the range of applications of these constantly developing materials. An improved generator will also enable higher output in terms of energy conversion from tidal streams, resulting in a more economical and efficient tidal device.
IST’s role is to develop and validate non destructive techniques for inspection for PIM parts.

ToolingEdge: Sustainable and high performance manufacturing
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The objectives of this Project, partly funded by the Portuguese National Strategic Reference Framework (QREN) and EU's European Regional Development and led by the Portuguese Engineering & Tooling cluster, are the development of scientific and technological knowledge and innovative organizational frameworks adapted to the Engineering & Tooling sector. The project follows a multi-disciplinary approach organized into research work packages led by research entities, involving the tooling (or product, when applicable), design and development, manufacturing technologies and automation, organizational issues and environmental impacts, and demonstrative case studies ran by industrial companies.

The following research aspects are considered with the involvement of IST team.
  • Life cycle engineering framework to support decision making in product and tooling integrated design, considering economic, environmental and functional performance dimensions;
  • Organization of the production system, seen from a comprehensive perspective involving the suitability of flexible automation technology, solutions for standardizing work methods and procedures for continuous improvement, based on the principles of "lean".
  • Processing new materials and understanding their behavior and processability windows;
  • “Optimisation” of machining strategies and cutting parameters for new materials, to the industry, i.e., hard steel, up to 62 HRC, aeronautics aluminum alloys and titanium alloys;
  • Development of an new hybrid EDM/ECM machining technology to produce micro components, combining the geometrical and dimensional accuracy of EDM with the surface integrity advantages of ECM;
  • Development of new manufacturing chains, namely moulds produced from casted pre-forms and in-mould operations sequences;