In the past different field assisted sintering processes like Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) have emerged as potential alternatives to conventional sintering routes. However, the need to use a sintering chamber is the main drawback for its industrial implementation. Work carried out within the EC funded EFFIPRO project includes the development of a novel hybrid electrical sintering process, performed in air with a very short sintering time (few seconds). These features allow an easy industrialization of the process.
With the new technology, cutting tools with real dimension and complex shapes were obtained. A complete characterization of the prototypes is presented including density, microstructure, hardness, toughness and magnetic properties. Energy consumption evaluation was also carried out.
Density and mechanical properties present values comparable to conventional materials and for that reason this novel process appears to be an excellent candidate as an alternative to the conventional sintering process for certain tools production, specifically for short production series and customised tools.