It can be statedthatmanufacturing processesare designed togeneratesurfaces for specific functions in products.The level offinishing of asurfacehas always been tied to itsapplication and to the fabrication process employed to generate it.However, the macro andmicrogeometric characteristicsof asurface are still definedaspropertiesthat can beobtainedby each of theprocesses.Hence, the mainconstraintto increasing thefunctional capacityof a surfacehas always been itsmanufacturing process.
The objective of this area of activity at LAPRAS is to produce new geometric elements on surfaces in order to increase their functional capacity and improve product performance, including from the broader aspects of sustainability. For example, it would be ideal if textures could be produced on the surfaces of bearings to enable the improved flow of lubricant inside them, increased load capacity and reduced dimensions, thereby diminishing their costs and consumption of material, and rendering them more sustainable in the usage phase.
In this context, LAPRAS has developed a grinding process combined with texturing. This process, invented by our researchers, uses a system that imprints micrometric textures on the grinding wheel, which are then transferred to the workpiece. This enables the creation of micro textures and channels that can act as lubricant pumping systems in hydrodynamic bearings, or oil retention pockets in critical situations of lubrication.
Figure 1 depicts some of the first surfaces textured in our laboratories. It should be noted that the time required to produce these textures is the same as that required to grind a component, i.e., in the order of seconds.
Figure 1 – Surfaces textured by the innovative process created at LAPRAS