For more than 25 years, research and development in powder metallurgy has been completed with success at the Department of Machines and Processes of Plastic Metal working of the SUSU Polytechnic Institute. Today, the Resource Center of Special Metallurgy serves as a space for completing research, headed by Marina Samodurova, associate professor, candidate of technical sciences.
Research is held in both traditional technologies of powder metallurgy and in additive technologies with the use of metallic and non-metallic powder materials to form multifunctional and gradient coats. The Resource Center of Special Metallurgy is part of the SEC Mechanical Engineering.
“Our center works on issues of shaping powder materials, laser, and detonating technologies. For example, our team developed techniques for pressing processes for mechanical engineering and metallurgy businesses and mastered new means and methods of designing machining attachments. Center staff received more than 180 patents, and the results of the research were published in articles in highly-rated scientific journals,” says the head of the center, Marina Samodurova.
There are many technologies which can be called additive, but they are united by one thing – you can build them by adding materials, unlike traditional methods, where parts are created by removing excess material. Today, many think that additive technologies are only 3D printing. But the Resource Center of Special Metallurgy works in such areas in additive technologies as applying coats and creating multifunctional coats using laser cladding and detonation spraying.
SUSU’s research facilities are fitted with modern research equipment to complete research into additive technologies (a full spectrum of physicometallurgical and optical equipment, equipment for mechanical testing and adhesive strength, equipment for studying powder materials, and equipment for modeling physical processes). The laboratory also uses technological equipment from its industrial partners.
“We are developing partnerships with leading international companies, one of them is IPG Photonics, an American company which is the leading manufacturer of lasers in the world. The university is an integrator of their daughter company IRE-Polyus NTO (Fryazino) in the Ural region. At this time, within the execution of the 5-100 Project, the SUSU laboratory of Mechanics, Laser Processes, and Digital Manufacturing Technologies has been created, led by doctor of technical sciences, professor of the National Engineering School of Saint Etienne (ENISE, France), Philippe Bertrand. The company SMS Group (Germany), leading European manufacturer of metallurgical equipment, is a co-investor in this laboratory,” shares Marina Nikolaevna.
Five years ago in the center, a small business was created with the participation of South Ural State University – Regional Engineering Center of Additive and Laser Technologies, the director of which is Yuriy Uzkikh. Mutually beneficial partnership allows them to realize important manufacturing projects.
“Throughout the world, additive technologies have been being mastered for 10-15 years already and, with each year, the manufacturing volume using these technologies has increased significantly, because only through additive technologies is it possible to obtain products with such consumer characteristics. You need new equipment and new professional knowledge of specialists working in this field,” explains the head of the Center of Special Metallurgy.
Staff of the Resource Center of Special Metallurgy use both well-known techniques and their own developments. They work on engineering surfaces and create multifunctional coats in the Laboratory of Mechanics, Laser Processes, and Digital Manufacturing Technologies, the SUSU leader of which is professor Leonid Barkov, doctor of technical sciences.
“We don’t use popular powders for particular tasks, but create a surface which consists of multi-component powders. For example, one new area is the creation of gradient coats. In Russia, there are not many laboratories and scientific schools which work on creating such surfaces. In general, everyone is working on selective laser sintering. We took over a different niche and did not arrive in this area by accident, since we are now interested not in the creation of final products but the creation of surfaces with particular desired quality characteristics for the creation of competitive products,” says Marina Samodurova.
In exchanging experiences and attracting other scientific schools to the realization of large projects, the Resource Center of Special Metallurgy works with many leading technical universities and field-specific institutes in Russia. Also, over many years, SUSU researchers have been working with businesses in the Chelyabinsk region in projects tied to the development and implementation of new technologies.
“We have been working with the National Engineering School of Saint Etienne (ENISE) for more than 5 years already, with whom we have a dual degree master’s program in the Laser Technologies and Detonation Spraying fields of study. Our task is not just to popularize and implement these technologies in Ural region businesses, but also to prepare highly qualified workers in this field,” stresses the head of the Center.
The plans of the Resource Center of Special Metallurgy including opening an updated laboratory in September which will be fitted with modern laser equipment. Before the end of the year they plan on obtaining new generation computerized detonation complexes. The technique of detonation spraying allows for the restoration of the working surface of materials and significantly improves the operation life with the use of long-wearing materials. With new manufacturing equipment, staff of the center will have a great opportunity to implement developments into manufacturing, develop breakthrough additive technologies, and develop their possibilities.