First of all, the BLANK development team was faced with the challenge of simplifying the tangled construct of materials before they addressed the following question in the next step: "What information do designers and developers need in order to be able to make a well-founded decision about the material to be used?“
The collected data showed that the mechanical and chemical properties are primarily decisive for the subsequent application of the materials, as well as various parameters for the further processing of the components. The focus shifted from the material itself and its composition to its properties that are relevant for later use. The technical requirements were supplemented by the desire for a contemporary solution that could be made available to all users quickly and easily - in other words, smartly. The solution: the first BLANK-app.
"After intensive development work, the app is now available free of charge in the App or Play Store. A desktop version will follow in the next step."
What can the app do?
"Smart Material" bundles the material expertise of the BLANK-Group and enables the user to select interesting materials easily and intuitively. In the first step, mechanical and physical properties that are required for the use of the later component can be selected. Hardness and corrosion resistance are also criteria that must be taken into account. In addition to these specifications, information on further processing, such as machinability or weldability, can also be selected.
However, it is also possible to select according to later areas of application, such as use in medical technology, in gearboxes or in stamping tools. The app then displays the materials in question. These are compared with each other graphically and clearly with regard to certain properties in order to be able to make the best choice for the desired application.
"Smart Material" can do even more: In addition to the technical side, the app's range of services also includes a price indication comparing the selected materials, so that a well-founded decision can be made about the material to be used. Through this fundamentally new and above all user-centred way of thinking, the BLANK-Group has created a new standard in the world of materials, because never before has the selection of the right material been so simple and intuitive. And best of all: the app is available on the smartphone at any time and is always with you!
Andrej Wetzel was involved in the development as project manager from the problem definition to the realisation of the app.
"Our concern was to create a practicable solution that facilitates the daily work with materials. I am convinced that we have succeeded in this with the "Smart Material" app and that it will replace the conventional, sometimes confusing tables," says Wetzel. Through continuous expansion of the app and the addition of new materials and heat treatment conditions, the delivered data is always up to date. "The scope of performance of "Smart Material" is something completely new in the development of components and so sets new standards," Wetzel explains further, "I hope that this will be soon part of the daily tools of designers and developers. Furthermore, the app is also suitable for use in education and helps to create a better basic understanding of the properties of materials."
Managing Director of the BLANK-Group Alexander Lenert also emphasizes the need in the industry to focus on new, modern work structures, which include the integration of apps into everyday work. "Our environment is changing at high speed and it is all the more important for companies to keep their finger on the pulse and rethink existing work processes. The development of "Smart Material" is an important and right step towards this revolution in the working world."
Via the four areas "Mechanical properties", "Physical properties", "Corrosion resistance" and "Processing", the choice of materials to be considered can be limited. Depending on the definition of the desired parameters, only those materials are available for selection that meet or even exceed all requirements. In this way, the perfect material for the individual application can be found with just a few clicks. The limited casting alloys are displayed graphically and clearly in comparison. In another tab, the chemical composition of the materials can be compared. All this data is available in the form of a data sheet at the touch of a button.
Links to the App:
A video explaining the app can be found on the Feinguss Blank YouTube Channel and homepage: https://www.feinguss-blank.de/en/investment-casting/app-smart-material/
Bio - Andrej Wetzel:
27 years old
2012 - 2015 Studied mechanical engineering and process engineering at the Cooperative State University at Mosbach together with Zollern
2015 - 2016 Project engineer at Zollern
2016 - 2019 Engineer for development and product technology at Feinguss Blank
2017 - 2020 Studied production-management & production-technology at the Center for Advanced Studies at Heilbronn while working at Feinguss Blank
Since 2020 Responsible for Lean Management and technical management assistant at Feinguss Blank