The European Hard Materials Group ('EHMG') represents of EPMA members, suppliers and research community involved in hardmetals, diamond tools and CBN (see EHMG participants and Centers of Excellence section).
The EPMA European Hard Materials Group reflects the global pre-eminence of Europe in this sector, the size of which is comparable to the structural parts sector. Broadly speaking Hard Materials includes Cemented Carbides, polycrystalline materials such as CBN, Ceramic and Diamond Tools.
The European Hard Materials Group was established in 1999. In 2005 EPMA Council approved broadening the range of industries covered to include ceramic cutting tools. The activities of the group include:
- industry promotion
- environment, health and safety issues
- education and training
EHMG activities also include the annual Winterevs workshop (see Winterev section), Euro PM2006 Hard Materials Conference (see Publications section), Road mapping, Standards, Research and EHS Legislation.
Euro PM2006 was the second major European Hard Materials Conference organised by the Group in cooperation with the EPMA Conference department. The conference included parallel sessions on Hard Materials and Diamond Tooling. The technical programme included papers on hardmetals and diamond tooling. Additionally it includes a workshop on ultrafine and nano hardmetals, and a special session on Thermally Sprayed Hardmetal coatings. Parallel with the conference was a full exhibition. The next European Hard Materials Conference is planned for 2012.
In common with other EPMA sectoral groups the EHMG has a regular Roadmapping function, this identifies markets, drivers and potential solutions on the major issues shaping the future of the industry. This is of special relevance to the research community and to funding bodies Members of the group are active on ISO Standards Committees. Of particular current interest is ISO TC119/SC4 "Sampling and testing methods for hardmetals". This is currently developing standards on grain size, knoop hardness, Palmqvist toughness and abrasion testing and Vickers/Rockwell hardness intercomparisons. Recent research has involved a review of measurement techniques for nano sized powders and sintered materials, "nano" being termed as materials below 0.5 micron size. This work has taken the form of a series of "club" projects, funded internally by a consortium of EPMA members.