The purpose of this paper is to present a custom-built tribometer that mimics the wear of additive manufactured fixtures used in inspection of sheet metal components.
Referring to the inspection of sheet metal parts, the fixture undergoes sliding wear during loading and unloading phases of the quality control operation. A new wear test is proposed to mimic the actual wearing conditions of the fixtures because the standards are deemed insufficient. In the tribometer, a cylindrical Alumide cantilever beam is made to slide back and forth inside a slightly bigger hole cut into a nickel-plated steel sheet. The sheet is spring loaded such that it applies a force on the specimen. The wear on the beam is measured after every 500 cycles of the beam motion.
Results of some first test trials are reported to evaluate the durability of Alumide fixtures fabricated by selective laser sintering. The results are also compared to those obtained for a machined fixture made of an Al-Cu alloy.
The proposed wear test estimates the life time of additive manufactured fixtures in terms of numbers of inspected components. The test can be extended to different materials to compare their durability.
Today, the fabrication of custom fixtures by means of additive manufacturing technologies is a reality in many manufacturing industries. The advantage of using those production technologies for custom fixtures is well assessed in literature in terms of manufacturing times and costs, whereas little attention was given to the life time and wear behaviour of fabricated fixtures. For its practical implication, the fixture durability is indeed very important for manufactures.
The assistance of Mr Giuseppe Quaranta during the research activities is gratefully acknowledged. Thanks are also extended to Mr Alex Borghesio and Mr Giovanni Marchiandi who looked after the design and the fabrication of the wear test apparatus, respectively. The authors are thankful to EOS GmbH for supporting this research by supplying the test specimens of Alumide material.
Minetola, P. and Iuliano, L. (2014), "The reverse guillotine tribometer for evaluation of sliding wear of additive manufactured fixtures", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 105-114. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-06-2012-0051Download as .RIS
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