A FAST process and production system for high-throughput, highly flexible and cost-efficient volume production of miniaturised components made of a wide range of materials


The main exploitable results achieved in this project are as follows


The core project result is represented by Micro-FAST machine system for the production of high quality components. It is first kind of the machine developed specifically for the manufacture of miniature to micro-sized bulk components with controlled micro-structures, using a wide range of powder materials.

The innovative and fast process combining micro-forming and electrical-field activated sintering technology (Micro-FAST) and fully automated machine system are expected to generate significant impacts in the manufacturing sector and component users. To accompany this several individual ancillary sub-systems related to the press have also been developed, including that for powder feeding, robotic handling of the die-set, ejector for the formed parts, laser die-cleaning and inspection system. These will also be exploited for other applications in different industrial environments.


Several types of high-quality powders have also been developed that can be used in the FAST applications as well as in other powder metallurgy processes. Nanostructured metal-based and ceramic powders are produced with different techniques able to deliver controlled and homogenous chemical and structural composition and optimized flowability, leading to high quality formed parts produced. Correspondingly, advanced surface treatment and coating techniques for micro-tooling have been developed for high-temperature applications such as Micro-FAST processes, including active-screen plasma co-alloying technology enhancing oxidation and wear resistance and reducing friction coefficient of the tool surfaces.

In addition to these, first kind of multiscale modelling technique and software modules for the modelling of electrical-field activated sintering and forming have been developed, which is able to link modelling of micro-scale electro-plasticity, diffusion bonding and bulk-material deformations to predict the material behaviours during Micro-FAST.


High-quality parts produced are expected to have impacts in the field of miniaturised products/systems, both for users and manufacturers. The production of these parts through the Micro-FAST process and the machine will result in better performances, more economical gains and enhanced industrial competitiveness, compared to the current solutions.

More information
Web resources: http://www.micro-fast.eu
Start date: 01-09-2013
End date: 28-02-2017
Total budget - Public funding: 7 512 973,00 Euro - 5 349 843,00 Euro
Call topic: Manufacturing of highly miniaturised components (FoF.NMP.2013-11)
    Comment: The new manufacturing system is intended for a high throughput, flexible and cost-efficient process for the production of ministurised components, realized using a wide range of materials, with strict dimensional tolerances. The whole development takes into accout energy savings and waste reduction.
      Comment: Development of new technologies for production of powdered raw materials in an optic of improvement of economic performance. Extremely short processing-time, direct manufacture, very short process-chain and innovative highly efficient CNC type machine system can achieve sensible reduction of manufacturing costs.
      Comment: In the project frame, different studies are conducted about the re-process of raw materials not possessing the required characteristics, in order to minimize the discarded amount. Efficiency in the production stage is guaranteed by the high level of control in the process and the optimization of resource statuses ("stand-by functionalities of certain components). Innovative solutions in dealing with end-of-life products are subject of research.
        Comment: The essence of the project is a continuous feedback among the parties involved in raw material supply, process development and production of final parts to achieve a result which satisfies all the expected requirements. The evolution in each stage is strictly related to the evolution of the global chain.
        Comment: The Micro-FAST process makes optimal use of materials supplied, with its highly monitored production chain. Powders not employed in a single process can be collected and re-introduced in the manufacturing system.
        Comment: The incidence of defective parts will be significantly low thanks to the monitoring of all the stages of production. Due to the high level of precision requested in miniaturized mechanical parts, one of the main goals of the project is the achievement of near-zero defects in components realized.
      Comment: Facilities wher Micro-FAST raw materials and final products respectively are and will be manufactured, comply with the European safety standards of people operating in them. Powders employed are in an aggregated state, not representing as high a concern for their handling as if they were not.
      Comment: The parts to be manufactured in the project are miniaturised components with complex geometries and high accuracy. Special tooling techniques and tooling materials are developed to manufacture these componens.
      Comment: Project relates with the development on novel powder materials for FAST sintering process and in particular nanostructured Ti Alloys and steels and ceramics with very fine and accurate particle size.
      Comment: The production system developed by Micro-FAST allows a temperature process range very flexible to use of several materials (metal alloys, ceramic, CerMet and composites). The tooling geometries are developed specifically for the targeted products.
      Comment: The Micro-FAST process is a net shape manufacturing process that is not generating production waste. therefore inherently efficient in terms of resources. The Micro-FAST system allows an efficient management of the manufacturing cycle controlling the quality of product in line with an high degree of automation and integration of each production step.
    Comment: Approach for a simplified production that would embed in one machine several processing steps (i..e MIM )
    standard in powder materials qualification for micro-FAST