Micro-milling of a sprue structure in tungsten carbide-based metal matrix composite
Many industries rely on plastic components manufactured by micro-injection moulding. There is a high potential to further increase the cost-effectiveness by machining the moulds needed for this process from non-ferrous metals and reinforcing the parts of the mould, which experience high loads during the micro-injection moulding. Inserting tungsten carbide particles locally into the surface of these non-ferrous metals is one possibility of reinforcement. The resulting metal-matrix-composites (MMC) exhibit the needed wear resistance, while the ground material can be machined very effectively through micro-milling. In contrast, the Micro-milling of these MMC-materials is challenging and so far not state of the art. Thus, this investigation is concerned with the development and qualification of micro-milling parameters for tungsten carbide-based MMC-materials. Binderless polycrystalline diamond as innovative cutting material was applied for this purpose. The goal of the mil ling parameter development was to optimize the surface roughness and the form accuracy for machining an aluminium bronze workpiece reinforced with tungsten carbide particles through laser injection. Based on an analysis of a wide range of process parameters, an optimised milling strategy was applied to machine a sprue structure from the described MMC-material. Different parameter sets are evaluated by analysing the form accuracy and measuring the surface roughness of machined structures. A surface roughness of Ra = 80 nm and form accuracy of a = 3 Âµm could be achieved with optimized micro-milling parameters and qualified the developed parameters for industrial applications.