Enabling advanced functionalities of Diamond and other ultra-hard materials by Integrated Pulsed Laser Ablation Technologies

Diamond and other ultra-hard materials (e.g. cubic boron nitride) possess outstanding mechanical, wear and thermal properties that make them attractive to manufacture a wide range of high value-added products such as high-performance, smart tooling. However, due to the extreme properties of this group of materials, efficient and precise generation of complex 3D freeform geometries and structures to meet the needs for further development of high-performance tools is still a challenge.

DIPLAT addresses the need for an efficient, precise and flexible processing technology for ultra-hard materials in tooling applications, in order to fully exploit the potential of these materials. By smartly utilizing the developments of high brilliance short and ultra-short pulsed lasers, a tooling technology based on 3D Pulsed Laser Ablation (PLA) will be developed and demonstrated for various industrial applications. DIPLAT will introduce a whole new technology platform for producing ultra-hard tools with enhanced functionality, outstanding machining performance and superior life-time.

In this regard, DIPLAT fosters the following four main scientific and technological objectives:

  1. Design functional surfaces (with controlled micro geometries) on diamond and other ultra-hard materials to enable enhanced functionality for tooling applications.
  2. Study and development of advanced 3D processing strategies for structuring/conditioning of ultra-hard tool surfaces (e.g. diamond) and superabrasive grain layers by Pulsed Laser Ablation.
  3. Develop and implement a novel multi-axis control concept and a model-based CAM software support module to enable optimized 3D pulsed laser processing
  4. Fabrication of various novel prototype tools made of ultra-hard materials (e.g. drill bits, milling tools, grinding wheels) and demonstration of their superior performance and functionality in challenging industrial applications (e.g. gear grinding, polishing)

DIPLAT findings will mark a cornerstone with regards to a breakthrough in novel tooling technology and thus push European high value-added manufacturing industries to the cutting edge of high-performance machining and tooling technology.