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FUNCOAT: The Center of Advanced Surface Engineering (AIN_TECH) develops a protective coating for metal injection moulding applications.


The need for more efficient tooling performance makes necessary the development of coating solutions that meets the requirement of productivity of the modern industry. Metal injection moulding (i.e. Al-injection moulding) is a challenging manufacturing process in which the tooling suffers extreme conditions of wear, thermal shock, and galling. Such tooling elements are difficult to manufacture, expensive and contains complex drawings.

Current coating solution only partially provide improvements with respect to that of the tooling elements without surface treatment. AIN, in the frame of the project FUNCOAT, has developed a coating process, based on the cathodic arc evaporation (PVD), consisting of a TiAlSiN stoichiometry. Even more, it has been understood the role of the Si in the coating and the tribomechanical interaction between the coating and the working material at high temperatures.

It has been observed that the wear rate of the coating decreases when the tribomechanical contact with the working material occurs at temperatures of 200º-400ºC with respect to that measured at RT. This unusual phenomenon is attributed to the formation of an oxigen-rich layer formed at the contact zone of the coating with the working material.

Field trials on Al-injection moulds have revealed that the maintenance effort of a TiAlSiN coated insert is reduced by a factor 4 with respect another insert coated with benchmark AlTiN.


This work has been published in Surface and Coating Technology



The figure shows the wear rates of a series of TiAlSiN coatings with different stoichiometries, for various testing temperatures from RT to 200º, 400º and 600º C. For the optimal formulations it is observed how the wear rates decreased significantly when the tests are done between 200ºC and 400ºC.