Przegląd Techniczny 16-17.2016

Leader’s super-sinter

 

The cutting and medical tools’ producers search for new materials with unique properties. The SPS (Spark Plasma Sintering) technology provides unlimited opportunities for developing advanced materials.

The SPS technology that is being developed around the World for more than a dozen years consists in fast and effective powder sintering, allowing for obtaining universal materials fully meeting the customers’ needs within the scope of powder metallurgy. To heat the materials sintered, SPS uses the electric impulses of the direct current. High velocity of heating the sintered powder (up to 1000°C/min) significantly limits the time necessary to reach the sintering temperature, hence it effectively shortens the time of production process.

The first commercial device dedicated to sintering of powder materials with unique properties is being developed by GeniCore Sp. z o.o., incorporated in 2012, proving that the students’ dreams may come true, because they successfully make a real business.

The team of engineers supported by the development and research team, employing the PhDs in Technology Sciences within the scope of material engineering, implements state-of-the-art devices in the SPS technology. Its design and development are co-funded by the Intelligent Development Operational Programme 1.1.1 Industrial Research and Experimental Development in Companies. Development of the technological modules of the innovative SPS manufacturing technology is a commercial project because it assumes the implementation of an innovative sintering procedure into the economic use. The project worth PLN 2.8 million was granted a non-refundable EU grant of PLN 2.2 million.

 The research on the development of sintering devices resulted not only in the solution based on the state-of-the-art. technologies, but also optimized solutions for the customers. Reliable components of most valued world’s manufacturers, such as: Bosch Rexroth, Siemens, Pfeiffer Vacuum, Omron, are used in developing the devices.

The application of a vacuum processing chamber with high-vacuum capability, unavailable in the competitive solutions, shall allow for producing sintered materials with better utility properties, compared to the other SPS solutions. Innovative impulse power supply producing short electric impulses below 1 ms made of modules of a specific power, may operate even if one of the modules is faulty. The small dimensions of the SPS device makes the SPS device interesting also foe the scientific and research institutes, making the device a universal tool opening new research areas. Additionally, pursuant to the company’s motto: Genius at the Core – Products constituting the core of the competitive advantage of our customers, the assumptions of the structure of the key device components provide the possibility to further develop the SPS device as the needs appear. In the case of the research institutes, such opportunities include e.g. increased dimensions of the products being manufactured, sintering nano-crystal materials, higher vacuum in the chamber. In the case of manufacturers – such opportunities include larger number of the components sintered at a time, allowing for the “development of the device” together with the “company development”.

The SPS device has been developed based on the structure of the leading PPC (Pulse Plasma Compaction) system offered by GeniCore, used for sintering powder materials, dedicated to the research and development institutes of manufacturing companied, using the powder metallurgy processes in its manufacturing processes as well as the development and research projects, that has already been implemented mainly in the requiring Japanese market.

The device applies crucial solutions, such as e.g. electric impulses with the voltage seral dozen timed higher compared to the technology used in the competitive devices. The in-built camera allows the monitoring of each sintering process. A proprietary powder heating system gives the opportunity to sinter new generation materials on a brand new level. In 2013 the key solutions applied in the PPC device were notified to the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland, and the very next year the company obtained an international Patent Application. The Patent application proceedings for the EU, Korea, Japan, South Africa, Russia and the USA are pending.

The solutions’ capital offered by the company was appreciated mainly by the Fraunhofer Institute, cooperating with GeniCore with respect to the implementation of that technology on the German market (Przegląd Techniczny [Technical Digest], no. 26/2015). In 2015 the members of the award committee of the competition organized by the „Rzeczpospolita” journal, including mainly: Bożena Lublińska-Kasprzak, the President of the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development at that time, prof. Piotr Moncarz, co-founder of the US-Polish Trade Council and the founder of the US-Poland Innovation Hub, and Krzysztof Wieczorek, attorney of the Chancellor of the Warsaw University of Technology for Project Financing Engineering, honored the GeniCore company with the title of the most promising start-up in Poland.