R&D activity is a fundamental element for any company that is aiming towards the future and is eager to guarantee high quality standards. The expression itself says it all: research and development. A study of new solutions on one hand, and development of innovative ideas to make them concrete, sustainable and truly effective on the other. Our R&D area operates in this spirit, prompting the company to plan various activities, all of which are characterised by the will to start from the component application in order to obtain the best process and material for the required application.
In collaboration with Professor Giovanni Meneghetti, professor of the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Padua, we have started static and fatigue characterization of lamellar and ductile cast iron, used to make hydraulic components. Hydraulics is the core business of Fondmatic, which not only brings strong know-how to this sector, but also continual focus on technological innovation and a will to continue to tackle new challenges and raise quality levels.
The project takes place in two stages. The first part is static characterization, including microstructural analysis and tensile strength testing, which will be followed by a second part consisting of dynamic testing of the two material types with fatigue testing. The results of the cast iron test will be correlated with the results of FEM analysis carried out on a casting already in production at Fonderie di Montorso. To further validate the data collected, one of our major partners will test the performance of the casting concerned with hydraulic testing. This activity will provide data that is useful for us and our customers to ensure that the component design and material choice processes are solid and reliable.
We are also initiating another interesting university collaboration. The aim is to technologically characterise the materials used for sealing rings made by Fonderia Scaranello. The tribological behaviour of the various alloys will be assessed with varying chemical compositions and heat treatments through pin-on-disc wear testing. The University’s technical specialisation means it can model the solidification process thermodynamically and make cast iron with a customised chemical composition. This can provide a new response to customer demand for lower raw material use and maximised wear resistance.
In parallel with research involving universities, we are developing a training course for our resources and customers in order to create solid corporate know-how, strategically train personnel, and provide an additional service to our partners. Specifically, the topics covered range from basic metallurgy to foundry practice and hydraulics.
Other R&D activities are related to developing prototypes and characterising all of the cast irons manufactured in Fondmatic and FDM. The first goal is to minimise the time needed for sampling in order to ensure a lean service for the first implementation of innovative components. The second point is to increase our process standardisation and improve the mechanical properties of our castings so that customers can choose the material from actual data.