Shaping and forming

shaping and forming 2 hero

The performance of materials depends on the processing technique used for their fabrication. Designing with this in mind can provide major business benefits.

Materials selection, shaping and properties are key parameters that need to be considered when selecting a process for making a product. A wrong choice here could have significant consequences for the product’s viability.

We can help identify and evaluate potential shaping and forming processes for you to de-risk your product development decisions.

We are also building capability in a number of product development processes that are new or poorly used in New Zealand, with the goal of helping businesses use these processes to give them a competitive edge in the global marketplace.

Case studies

Fused filament fabrication

Fused filament fabricationBusiness opportunity
Many NZ companies have polymer 3D printers but cannot afford complex metal 3D printers. Fused filament fabrication (FFF) technology allows the use of inexpensive FFF printers with a specially designed metal binder composite filament to produce dense metal or ceramic parts.

What we did
Working with overseas partners we have made near-net-shape complex metal parts with properties comparable to parts formed using existing additive manufacturing technologies.

This new and emerging additive manufacturing technique allows design possibilities that cannot be achieved by traditional manufacturing.

Powder injection moulding

Powder injection mouldingBusiness opportunity
Shape complex parts from a range of advanced metal and ceramic materials using powder injection moulding methods.

What we did
Produced fully-dense metal and ceramic injection-moulded parts exceeding industry standard properties.

A precision-shaping technology is now available that can be applied to titanium alloys, stainless steel, low alloy and tool steels, inconel, carbides, copper, alumina, zirconia and many other materials. This allows us to provide prototyping capabilities to enable demonstrations of new product designs, materials and performance.

Simulation and design

Simulation and designBusiness opportunity
Reduce cost and time by trialling designs in a virtual environment.

What we did
Modelled the compressive properties of a porous metal structure, then validated the model by fabricating and testing a 3D-printed part.

There was a very close alignment found between the compressive behaviour of the model and the fabricated part. This allows the structure’s behaviour to be predicted and therefore components made with exactly the desired properties.

Compotool Ltd

Compotool LtdBusiness opportunity
Compotool is a company offering tooling boards with high thermal stability and excellent machining characteristics, which can be used as a high-accuracy pattern material or for prototype and short-run direct tooling. They want to find a new economical material for use in a current process, but without detrimentally affecting important properties.

What we did
Proposed and synthesized a new cementitious material using our autoclave facility, optimised the recipe and finished preliminary testing.

Due to the success of preliminary results, Compotool has now built an autoclave facility for themselves and hired a full-time staff member to deepen the research.

Ceramic complex shaping – gelcasting

Ceramic complex shaping - gelcastingBusiness opportunity
A local ceramic company manufactures high performance ceramics parts that need to withstand high temperatures and mechanical stress. However, conventional methods can only be used to form simple shapes. So how can complex ceramic parts be fabricated while maintaining high performance?

What we did
In collaboration with the company, we developed industrial processes to fabricate complex ceramic parts by gelcasting, using non-toxic organic compounds. We then compared the properties of the newly fabricated parts with those expected from conventional shaping methods.

The development of processes to fabricate medium-sized complex parts, ready to be upscaled.