Structure /
CENTER OF MANUFACTURING AND INDUSTRIAL MANAGEMENT




RESEARCH


The Centre of Manufacturing and Industrial Management is driven by a passion for excellence in education, research and development in materials processing technologies.

Our activity is focused in production engineering and we are at the forefront of design, optimization and management of forming, cutting, welding and joining, and additive manufacturing processes and machines.

Our vision is to provide contributions to knowledge through the development of new processes and machine-tools, optimizing existing processes and machine-tools, extending the application of existing processes to new classes of materials and identifying new levels of understanding for existing processes by means of analytical, numerical and experimental approaches.

Within the Centre of Manufacturing and Industrial Management, there are five main scientific groups, each having its own structure and research objectives. Specific information about each of these groups can be found in the following bellow:

Forming Technologies
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Coordinator: Paulo Martins (Professor)



The Forming Group was created at the end of the 1970's and is focused on teaching, research and development. Teaching is supported by in-house technical books aimed at the widest possible range of audiences, from university students of mechanical, manufacturing, industrial and materials engineering to scientists and professional engineers that design forming processes and parts in daily practice. Research and development is focused on innovative forming processes, optimization and application of new materials to existing forming processes, and identification of new levels of understanding for existing forming processes.

The overall strategy of the Forming Group is twofold: (i) development and utilization of numerical methods for the simulation of forming processes and (ii) experimentation under controlled laboratory conditions. In the mid 80's the group started to develop their own two and three dimensional finite element computer programs for bulk, powder and tube forming (I-form2 and I-form3). Simulation of sheet forming processes started in the late 1980's by means of the utilization of state-of-the-art commercial software. The group increased its visibility among the international scientific community during the 1990’s as a result of innovative computational and experimental research work in the fields of bulk and tube forming.

The actual interests of the Forming Group are focused in small-batch flexible processes based on cold forming of metals and polymers, joining by forming, formability in forming and sheet-bulk forming.

Joining Technologies
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Coordinator: Luísa Coutinho (Associate Professor)



The Joining Technologies group was formed in the 80's and develops activity in an integrated strategy of education, research and technology transfer to industry.

The group participated in several R&D projects in the area of joining techniques at both national and international level in the past 15 years. This allowed to strengthen its position in the scientific community worldwide and to transfer know-how to industries. Education in welding and allied processes has also been a priority of the group.

The group has a well known international recognition in the field of welding and joining technologies and is primarily involved in the following fields; fusion welding processes, development and applications of Laser welding technology, development, applications and numerical modelling of solid state welding processes, with more emphasis on friction stir welding and related technologies and non destructive testing technologies, with emphasis on advanced ultrasound techniques.

Metal Cutting
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Coordinator: Pedro Rosa (Assistant Professor)



The Metal Cutting group was formed in 2007 and its mission is to carry out education, research and development on an international level within conventional and innovative machining processes. The strategy of the group is to strengthen its position and visibility in cooperation with other national and international partners and to focus on fundamental research for metal cutting based on the interaction between plasticity, friction and modern ductile facture mechanics.

The group is primarily involved in the following fields: (i) Experimentation under controlled laboratory conditions, (ii) Numerical simulation and (iii) Mechanical, tribological and fracture characterization of materials at high strain rates.
Additive manufacturing
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Coordinator: Jorge Rodrigues (Associate Professor)



The activities of the additive technologies group started in 2007, since then the group has participated in several R&D projects such as rapid prototyping applied to biomanufacturing and tissue engineering; advanced rapid prototyping technologies and reverse engineering.

Presently the group conducts a teaching strategy based on research and development for innovation offering students opportunities to experience and benefit from lectures on different state-of-the-art additive manufacturing technologies.

Latest developments in tissue engineering showed that it is possible to construct bone repair scaffolds with tight pore size distributions and controlled geometries using the 3D Printing technology available in this group. In this context the R&D activities are focused on 3DP manufacturing of synthetic bone implants, on the additive manufacturing materials and products evaluation and characterization, namely through mechanical testing, physical characterization and fluid flow analysis. The research activities within the group are undertaken in collaboration with other international research groups and medical devices industrial partners allowing knowledge transfer.
Industrial Management
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Coordinator: Elsa Henriques (Associate Professor)



The mission of the Industrial Management group is to promote education at undergraduate and graduate levels and to research and develop strategies, new models and innovative procedures related with operations and manufacturing management fostering the increase of productivity and competitiveness of industrial companies.

The strategy of the group fosters a close collaboration with the industrial framework and a strong interaction with other research groups through the participation in national and international consortiums of research and development projects, to generate new knowledge and applications in the industrial management field, to perform technology transfer and provide advanced competences for present and future decision-makers.

The group is primarily involved in the following research topics; (i) development of new business models for the tooling industry, (ii) development of lean manufacturing strategies for SME, (iii) development of Life Cycle Engineering models to support sustainable decisions in technology, process and material selection, (iv) impact assessment of emergent technologies based in systematic analysis and in technological cost models and (v) stochastic models in operational research.

 

Description of the Research Group 2008-2012

The Manufacturing and Industrial Management group has a long research pedigree that goes back to the 1980’s with the first developments of computer models and experimental setups for metal forming processes. In the past 30 years the group evolved in order to cover a broader range of topics comprising mechanical and thermal processing of materials, polymer and ceramic material processing and lean, agile and life cycle approaches to manufacturing.

During the period 2008/2012 the activities of the group were focused on fundamental research, experimentation, training and transfer of technology. Research was aimed at developing new manufacturing processes, applying existing manufacturing processes to new materials and identifying new level of understanding on selected manufacturing processes that allowed predicting process behavior across the useful range of operating conditions. More than 80% of the group’s overall funding (with an average value of 36 k€ per group member, per year) was obtained from services and research projects in collaboration with companies.

During the period 2008/2012 the research group consisted of 14 PhD faculty members, 1 PhD facility engineer and 1 technician with backgrounds in manufacturing, material science and industrial management but with production engineering as their common interest. The senior researchers of the group in the aforementioned period were Paulo Martins (professor and head of the group) and Luisa Coutinho (associate professor with habilitation).

Main achievements 2008-2012

The activities during the period 2008/2012 were focused in mechanical and thermal processing of materials, polymer and ceramic material processing and lean, agile and life cycle approaches to manufacturing.

In the area of mechanical processing of materials the main achievements were: (i) the development of innovative tube forming and joining process to fabricate metallic liners for composite overwrapped pressure vessels utilized in aerospace applications and to attach tubes to sheets and tubes to tubes made from metals or polymers, (ii) the development of a theoretical framework for the deformation mechanics and formability limits of single point incremental forming of metallic and polymeric sheets, (iii) the design and fabrication of electromagnetic testing machines that replicate the kinematics of real machine tools, (iv) the development of theoretical and experimental studies aimed at demonstrating the influence of fracture toughness in metal cutting and blanking, (v) the design and fabrication of an innovative pin-on-disc machine to determine friction in freshly formed surfaces under different gas protective shields, (vi) the development and fabrication of prototype machines for micro-EDM and micro-ECM.

In the area of thermal processing of materials the main achievements were: (i) software for cost calculation in welding and for analyzing the ergonomics in manual welding, (ii) development of prototype tools for friction stir channeling, surfacing and for the production of multi-graded materials, (iii) patents for ultrasonic welding of copper and aluminum cables, (iv) definition of the operating procedures for laser welding of shape memory alloys, high strength steels and dissimilar joining, (v) femtosecond laser cutting and dissimilar joining of shape memory alloys and (vi) the development of a neural network based control system for CMT welding.

In the area of polymer and ceramic materials processing focus was placed on thermoplastic and elastomer processing and additive manufacturing. In case of thermoplastic processing the main achievement was the development of a new concept for automotive intercoolers in cooperation with a Portuguese industrial company. In case of elastomers the main achievements were: (i) the experimental characterization of elastomers under different deformation modes, (ii) the development of two numerical codes to determine the material parameters for different hyperelastic models and curve fitting analysis, and to evaluate the numerical stability domain (according to Drucker's criterion) for the hyperelastic models and (iii) the numerical study of the crimping and sealing conditions in automotive intercoolers. In case of additive manufacturing the activity was focused in biofabrication and the main achievements were: (i) the development and characterization of calcium phosphate materials for the 3DP powder based system, (ii) the optimization of the 3DP fabrication, (iii) the development and implementation of a methodology to characterize physical, morphological and mechanically the synthetic bone implants obtained by 3DP and (iv) the optimization of post printing steps.

In the area of lean, agile and life cycle approaches to manufacturing the main achievements were: (i) the development of comprehensive life cycle engineering approaches based on process-based models to support design decisions and technology evaluation, (ii) the development of techniques to map the heterogeneity and variability of performances on Human-Centred assembly systems, (iii) the contribution to understanding innovation processes in a low-tech SME, acting in traditional sectors of the economy, (iv) the development of a framework to analyze and improve complex engineering processes and (v) the development of optimization algorithms for problems arising in industry and services.

Other achievements are summarized as follows: Books (9), Chapters in books (16), International Journals with peer review (114) and Patents (16).