ANCA and CSIRO developing hybrid AM system for tungsten cutting tools
ANCA, an Australian manufacturer of machine tools, is teaming up with national science agency CSIRO, Sutton Tools and the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) to develop and bring to market a new hybrid manufacturing platform that combines additive and subtractive capabilities. The new and potentially disruptive system will be designed to manufacture custom cutting tools made from tungsten.
The announcement builds on an existing partnership between ANCA and CSIRO. Together, the partners completed a successful six-month pilot project which demonstrated that tungsten-carbide tools could be manufactured more cost-effectively using improved production capabilities. This pilot project was supported by funding from the Victorian Government’s Boost Your Business voucher scheme.
Once the novel hybrid additive-subtractive manufacturing system is developed, ANCA will have the rights to commercialize the technology. This is expected to drive growth for the company, including expanding its team, increasing revenues and addressing a gap in the global tooling market.
“Such a complex project and process wouldn’t have been possible without the support of truster partners such as CSIRO, Sutton Tools and AMGC,” said Dean McBain, Research and Technology Manager at ANCA. “We rely on working with organisations like CSIRO who have the laboratory, equipment and knowledge that we do not have. Sutton Tools are also hugely important as they provide practical input from the end-user perspective.
“Collaborating with others is vital and it makes sense to partner with organisations like them. Similarly, AMGC is pretty much the only organisation that can provide funding assistance for a business of our size, apart from the much larger CRC-type projects, which need to run for two to three years. In terms of balancing what is applicable, AMGC works out perfectly for us.”
ANCA is one of Australia’s leading machine tool manufacturers. The company, founded in 1974, is also an important supplier of CNC tool and cutting systems to companies like Renishaw, Airbus and Boeing. The company also has a global footprint: it currently exports 99% of its products to customers in over 45 countries and has offices in the UK, Germany, China, Thailand, India, Japan, Brazil and the US.
Dayalan Gunasegaram, project leader at CSIRO, said of the collaboration: “We’re looking forward to continuing to work with ANCA to refine and develop their additive manufacturing platform for new tungsten carbide tools, given the value that this could create for Australian manufacturing.”