Tool and mold making

Development and optimization of economic tool concepts

Our research activities focus on the development and optimization of economic tool concepts and means of production for implementing new or extended forming technologies. Numerous different requirements necessitate the use of new tool concepts. For this purpose it is essential to generally increase productivity and to reduce the cost for the means of production. These methods can be realized by applying various approaches which are strongly influenced by the production environment and the targeted number of pieces. For example, in mass production it is useful to balance out fluctuations by appropriate sensors and actuators, thus ensuring high yield. When dealing with manufacturing of prototypes and small batch sizes, it is expedient to reduce tool cost. This can be achieved by the key approach of considerably reducing the component-specific shape memory degree of the tools and means of production.

Intelligent tools and process control

  • Development and testing of robust sensor and actuator technology
  • Monitoring of machine data and process data
  • Analysis and evaluation of the recorded data

Research project:

  • B-pillar tool with piezoelectric high performance stack actuator

Additive tool manufacturing

Research projects:

  • Process optimization in die casting
  • Contour related tempering in press hardening

Wear protection

  • Coating active components for shear cutting technologies
  • Determination of characteristic material values of various wear protection materials
  • Appropriate designing of wear-protective coatings by using FEM simulation
  • Development of process chains for finish machining of highly wear-resistant materials and coatings
  • Designing the micro and macro geometries of cutting tools
  • Using hybrid processes for cutting with geometrically defined cutting edge
  • Determination of optimum cutting tool concepts and process parameters by conducting fundamental technological investigations
  • Evaluating the properties of the peripheral zone and testing coated demonstration units in order to identify characteristics of wear protection

Research projects:

  • Energy-saving and high-precision 3D shearing
  • Coating - high speed impact cutting
  • Shear cutting strategies UHSS
  • Development of innovative milling technologies for carbides and ceramics
  • Development of process chains for using deposition-welded wear-protective coatings for tools used in aluminum die casting

Effective temperature management for tempered tools

  • Planning and design of tempering structures
  • Optimization of channel geometry and channel guide
  • Coupled thermomechanical simulation
  • Determination of parameters regarding materials and technologies in order to achieve suitable representation of the temperature balance of the system consisting of workpiece and tool
  • Testing of external and tool-integrated heat input into the component or the forming zone

Research projects:

  • Adapted thermal management in forming tools
  • Contour related tempering in press hardening

Reduction of the component-specific shape memory degree

  • Testing and development of incremental forming technologies
  • Development and evaluation of alternative process chains for economic manufacturing of prototypes and small batch sizes
  • StaBiFü® => conversion of conventional deep drawn parts into punching-bending-joining parts

Research projects:

  • New manufacturing method for small and medium batch sizes (StaBiFü®)
  • Incremental sheet metal forming
  • Sheet hydroforming (SHF)

Mechanical machining

Research projects:

  • 5-axis machining
  • Plunge roughing
  • Electrochemical precision machining
  • Milling of thermally sprayed carbides
  • Machine analysis

Machine examination and feedback into the design

Research project:

  • Property analysis of presses

Addressing tool making in cold bulk metal forming  

  • Using profile-grinded rolling tools

Research projects:

  • Hot rolling of spur gears
  • Temper rolling of sintered gears
  • Cold rolling of high gears

Increase of yield, shortening of processing times, reduction of manufacturing cost due to:

  • Intelligent tools
  • Intelligent process control
  • Integration of additional operations and development of new concepts for manufacturing  and machines

Process chain development

  • Market analysis
  • Investigation of process chains
  • Process optimization
  • Cost-benefit calculation
  • Development of manufacturing concepts
  • Rough and detailed planning of technological processes
  • Technological dimensioning of machining centers
  • Recommendations for machine investments

Development and evaluation of machining strategies

  • Market analysis
  • Feasibility studies
  • Technology development
  • Development of characteristic process values
  • Development of optimal machining strategies
  • Benchmarking of CAD/CAM systems

Quality assurance

  • Photogrammetrical detection of the geometry of components and tools
  • Measurement of micro components by confocal microscopy and fringe projection
  • Measurement of machines and tools by laser tracker

Tool concepts, method planning and tool design for conventional sheet metal forming processes – press hardening of sheets and closed profiles with subsequent hard cutting

  • Hot forming of light metals
  • Forming with integrated plastic injection molding
  • Tube forming processes
  • High speed impact cutting (HSIC) of 2D and 3D geometries
  • HSIC of (endless) tubes and profiles
  • Shearing strategies / process design for machining super high strength steels

Tool concepts, method planning and tool design for conventional bulk metal forming processes

  • Profile grinding of rolling tools up to a diameter of 300 mm for hot and cold rolling of spur gears and rotationally symmetric profiles

Micro and precision machining in tool making

  • Additive manufacturing in tool making

Machine technology

  • 5-axis Hexapod milling machine Mikromat 6X HEXA
  • 5-axis multifunction machine Dynapod
  • 5-axis milling machine DIGMA 850 HSC
  • 5-axis micro milling machine KUGLER
  • 4-axis horizontal machining center HEC 500D XXL
  • 5-axis machining center HEC 630 X5
  • 3-axis vertical machining center Mikron VCP 1000
  • CNC-turning machine N20 with high pressure unit
  • Turning and milling machining center GMX 250 linear


  • CAD systems: Inventor, Pro-Engineer, CATIA
  • CAM systems: Tebis, GIB CAD&CAM
  • Finite element software: ABAQUS, MARC, ANSYS, DEFORM

Available cooling lubrication systems

  • MQL one-channel system: Vogel and Lubrix
  • MQL two-channel system: Bielomatik
  • Aerosol dry lubrication with CO2 cooling: Aerosol Master 4000 c, Rother
  • CO2 cooling system with MQL Chil Aire EI 3120, CoolClean

Available testing technology

  • Coordinate measuring instrument PRISMO7S-ACC (ZEISS)
  • Various optical measuring devices for roughness and profiles
  • Confocal microscope, ITO Stuttgart University
  • White light interferometer, ITO Stuttgart University
  • MikroCAD, GFM Teltow
  • Scanning electron microscope, LEO Oberkochen
  • EDX system, Oxford Instruments
  • Contact measuring instruments for roughness and profiles, HOMMEL and Mitutoyo
  • Form measuring instrument F2002, HOMMEL
  • Ultrasonic wall thickness gauges
  • Profile projector PJ300