The effects of material variations in high value manufacturing industries

Akbar Jamshidi, Paul Maropoulos, Martin Ansell, Jon Cave

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


It has never been easy for manufacturing companies to understand their confidence level in terms of how accurate and to what degree of flexibility parts can be made. This brings uncertainty in finding the most suitable manufacturing method as well as in controlling their product and process verification systems. The aim of this research is to develop a system for capturing the company’s knowledge and expertise and then reflect it into an MRP (Manufacturing Resource Planning) system. A key activity here is measuring manufacturing and machining capabilities to a reasonable confidence level. For this purpose an in-line control measurement system is introduced to the company. Using SPC (Statistical Process Control) not only helps to predict the trend in manufacturing of parts but also minimises the human error in measurement. Gauge R&R (Repeatability and Reproducibility) study identifies problems in measurement systems. Measurement is like any other process in terms of variability. Reducing this variation via an automated machine probing system helps to avoid defects in future products.Developments in aerospace, nuclear, oil and gas industries demand materials with high performance and high temperature resistance under corrosive and oxidising environments. Superalloys were developed in the latter half of the 20th century as high strength materials for such purposes. For the same characteristics superalloys are considered as difficult-to-cut alloys when it comes to formation and machining. Furthermore due to the sensitivity of superalloy applications, in many cases they should be manufactured with tight tolerances. In addition superalloys, specifically Nickel based, have unique features such as low thermal conductivity due to having a high amount of Nickel in their material composition. This causes a high surface temperature on the work-piece at the machining stage which leads to deformation in the final product.Like every process, the material variations have a significant impact on machining quality. The main cause of variations can originate from chemical composition and mechanical hardness. The non-uniform distribution of metal elements is a major source of variation in metallurgical structures. Different heat treatment standards are designed for processing the material to the desired hardness levels based on application. In order to take corrective actions, a study on the material aspects of superalloys has been conducted. In this study samples from different batches of material have been analysed. This involved material preparation for microscopy analysis, and the effect of chemical compositions on hardness (before and after heat treatment). Some of the results are discussed and presented in this paper.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event2014 Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associates Conference - Brighton, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 27 Jun 2014 → …


Conference2014 Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associates Conference
Country/TerritoryUK United Kingdom
Period27/06/14 → …


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