Example of neodymium powder and disc after sintering. The structures before (upper left) and after (lower right) the process are shown.

A high-speed micro-sintering process as a “fast” alternative to conventional powder metallurgy processes

Emanuele Cannella, PhD student at DTU MEK and employed at IPU, working in the MICROMAN project, has developed an innovative sintering process based on electrical resistance sintering.

Emanuele Cannella works as an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) of the MICROMAN project, under the supervision of Associate Professor Chris Valentin Nielsen, Professor Niels Bay and IPU Chief Operating Officer (COO) Anette Rasmussen. The industrial partner is a Danish company working in the field of powder metallurgy.

His focus is on the tool design, process optimization and sample characterization for Electro Sinter Forging (ESF) of components. This process is suitable as an alternative for manufacturing small components made of conductive metals, e.g. titanium. Starting from a powder state, the raw material is compacted inside a closed die and then a high electric current flows through the “green compact” to generate bonding among the particles. Components are manufactured within few seconds, decreasing the risks connected to oxide contamination and grain growth.

Main applications of this process are on the medical, electrical and mechanical sectors, e.g. micro gears. Complex shapes can be realized in a reduced amount of time by shaping the powder in a proper electrically insulated die.

“The MICROMAN ITN provides me high level tools to succeed in my research, by giving me very useful workshops and activities which made me develop in the past years. Meeting and sharing knowledge with the other ESRs are highly stimulating to develop new ideas”, says Emanuele.

Emanuele recently published a poster at the 18th International euspen Conference and Exhibition, where he discussed on the process optimization for ESF in the case of small discs made of titanium powder (Available at: http://orbit.dtu.dk/ws/files/149116924/euspen_poster_for_Orbit.pdf). Other studies concern the application of ESF for sintering a magnetic alloy based on neodymium and testing new shapes, e.g. rings, to be used as rotors for small electrical engines. 

Emanuele while operating the MFDC EXPERT D-64653 resistance welding machine during his sintering activities at DTU MEK.






Anette Rasmussen, COO at IPU:

“At IPU, we are doing consultancy based on our relation to both industry and academia. Emanuele is employed at IPU and doing a PhD project at the university at the same time. He is working on an EU project on micro manufacturing, where his share is to develop the electro-sinter-forging process with focus on precision in terms of geometry, relative density and homogeneity. Another aspect of his project is to develop methods of detecting eventual low quality parts by monitoring the process parameters. Emanuele is in the last year of his PhD, and he has proven to be hard working and an excellent researcher. Especially, he has done a really good job in making the ESF process possible in the resistance welding facilities at DTU MEK. He is in good dialog with a Danish company with interest in implementing the process in their production. The produced parts show good relative density as compared to conventionally sintered parts, and there is still potential for further improvements in density as well as geometrical precision.”


Fun Facts

Emanuele has doing his last PhD year:

  • Established and tested the sintering process on a resistance welding apparatus;
  • Manufactured more than 100 samples and successfully tested two different metal powders;
  • Given three oral presentations and one poster at different international conferences;
  • Published two articles on international journals;
  • Attended seven MICROMAN workshops on different micro-manufacturing processes. One more will be attended in November.