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Metallic materials - Material substitution

Søren Jepsen Mark

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Materialesubstitution

Metallic materials - Material substitution

Are we utilizing the full potential of our materials?

This is what any manufacturing company should be asking themselves. If the applied material solutions are not optimal there is a large risk of losing market shares when a competitor launches a more optimized product.

Determining a product’s required material properties and surface treatment can be very complex. A wealth of different materials and surfaces that all have different strengths and weaknesses exist today – and new ones appear all the time. There are many parameters to consider when choosing a material and surface treatment, e.g. commodity prices, availability, mechanical and physical properties, corrosion resistance, manufacturing method and recycling perspectives.

Unfortunately, the choice is often (more or less) made randomly, perhaps because you have traditionally used a certain material and are not aware of new opportunities on the market. This causes the product to be too expensive and/or it’s quality to be too poor.

The Danish Technological Institute are experts on choice of material and surface treatment for the right application and can draw on specialist skills within all types of materials from metals to polymers. Our help to you can be through focused advice to clarify simple issues or span several thorough phases where each phase is closed with a presentation and assessment of the next phase.

Phased process from optimization of materials:

  1. Preliminary clarification of the gain and frame for material substitution
    • Specification of scope and extend of the task
    • Define quantitative goals (e.g. reduction of error, cost and environmental impact)
    • Examination and evaluation of existing materials and operation (e.g. mechanical strength and wear and corrosion resistance)
    • Investigation of operation environment (e.g. pH, chemicals and cleaning agents)
    • Prepare performance specifications to the material (including requirements of availability and production maturity)
  2. Solution clarification
    • 1-5 alternatives for the choice of material and surface treatment, that potentially fulfill the performance specifications and satisfy the gains, are constructed
    • Each alternative is investigated in depth through analysis of accessible literature, interviews with suppliers and other costumers and potentially test of dummy samples. A report on each alternative based on the commonly defined criteria is made.
    • Choice of alloy and perhaps surface treatment
  3. Establishment of the solution
    • Manufacturing and test of a prototype (typically performed by the company)
    • Validation of prototype in accordance with the performance specifications
    • Establishing a system for quality control during the running-in period and operation phase