|Hiroshi Watanabe, General Manager of UBE Machinery Corporation Ltd. and Helmut Kaufmann, General Manager of LKR in front of the UBE prototype machine)|
After five years of intensive R&D work in the field of New Rheocasting UBE and LKR finish the joint project in the middle of July 2005. In the frame of the Austrian “Kplus” research program LKR developed the fundamental understanding of the NRC process and established the new field of “slurry-on-demand” processes together with UBE.
In 2000 UBE provided a prototype machine for the joint research project to LKR. With this machine basic research and component prototype trials were performed. The theory is now well understood, and the first component trials were successful. The company Stampal in Torino , Italy , is the first in Europe to operate three NRC machines in series production. The company Unitech supported the development of magnesium NRC in “Kplus”. NRC functions well also for Mg alloys. Therefore, all goals of the R&D cooperation were achieved.
From a scientific point of view the project was very fruitful: At ETH Zurich and MU Leoben 4 PhD theses and 6 master theses were finished. LKR published 30 scientific papers and presented 40 conference presentations and articles in conference proceedings.
In a small ceremony at LKR the project was officially closed on 3rd of July 2005. Hiroshi Watanabe, General Manager of UBE Machinery Corporation Ltd., and Helmut Kaufmann, General Manager of LKR, expressed their satisfaction about the project results and the advances made in semi-solid casting.
The NRC machine was disassemble at LKR and shipped to Japan , where it will be used in trial casting and small series production at UBE.
LKR will continue semi-solid casting research at its UBE HVSC 350 with single stand NRC cooling station for alloy development, but also for small prototype castings. A central topic will be the use of NRC in composite castings.
The cooperation between UBE and LKR will continue with new topics. Already in the second quarter of 2005 a new project was defined, which will last roughly two years.