COMTES FHT a.s., a Czech privately owned research organization that pursues research and development (R&D) of advanced metals, non-metallic materials and methods and technologies for their processing. It also provides custom R&D services in the fields of computer modelling, software development, engineering design, manufacture of prototypes and specimens for testing, materials testing and elaborates expert reports on materials. In addition, the company contributes to educating young technical experts - students of Master's and Doctoral programs studying at partner universities in the Czech Republic (CZ) and abroad.
The research organization COMTES FHT was founded in 2000. COMTES FHT has successfully carried out and completed more than 40 R&D projects, including three projects of the EU Framework Programmes. The success of this research organization in applying its R&D results is evidenced by the authorship of dozens of proven technologies, thirteen patents (including two foreign ones) and more than twenty protected utility designs. R&D results produced by COMTES FHT become – in many cases – the basis for further development, especially in companies in both the Czech Republic and abroad.
The centre focuses on R&D of promising metallic materials and their production technologies, as well as their application in industry and services, laying emphasis on application-oriented R&D and acceleration of transfer of R&D findings to industry.
The range of the centre’s research and development services – up to the prototype verification and testing stage – for research institutes and industrial partners. In terms of the spectrum of available technology, research equipment and know-how, the centre remains unique not just in the Czech Republic. It offers casting of experimental heats, forging, rolling, microstructure characterization, thermomechanical treatment, development of processing methods using FEM including the assessment of thermophysical and mechanical properties of the resulting materials, and preparation of accredited reports on properties.
Active participation in professional associations and platforms – e.g. the Association of Research Organizations, Czech Forging Association, ENMAT – European Network of Material Research Centres, ASM International, TMS and SAMPE – American societies for materials, the Machine Engineering Technology Platform, the ERGO-MED cluster, and the Metallurgy EUROPE international cluster.
Multifunctional Two-High/Four-High Rolling Mill - Custom-built rolling stand technology with many accessory equipment - heating furnaces and inductors, cooling tunnel and quenching bath for rapid cooling, shears, straightening bench, grinding machine – it enables more cost effective thermo-mechanical treatment of materials and controlled cooling. For material rolling under heat and cold conditions; verification of new rolling processes for materials.
Universal Forming Machine - Tailor-made machine, it offers a wide range of forming parameters (2,500 tons max. force), furnished with special equipment, e.g. manipulator, servo-hydraulic system allowing working ram stroke control. For free and die forging with; experimental verification of forging and press processes.
Vacuum Melting Furnace - : Equipment of capacity 10-50 l for production of new materials with re-alloying capability and heat analysis. The maximum mass of small steel melts for casting can reach up to 500 kg. Casting metallic materials; experimental casting of special materials and alloys.
Instrumented Microhardness Tester - Nanoindentor with a load range (from 10 μN to 500 mN) and a modular design allowing adding a scratch tester, wear tester, tensile tester, temperature unit, etc. to the instrument. Detailed measurement of penetration depth of the pyramid during loading and unloading; possible experiments with constant load or constant displacement, evaluation of elastic-plastic behavior of materials, mapping of hardness and elasticity modulus, according to ISO 14577 1 to 4.
Spectrometer Q4 TASMAN - Emission spectrometer equipped with various metallic standards and etalons. For measuring the chemical composition of virtually all metallic materials
Gas Analyser in Metals G8 GALILEO - An analyser operating on the principle of fusion of the sample in an inert gas stream. Purpose: For accurate determination of oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen in solid materials.
Scanning Electron Microscope JEOL 7400F - SEM equipped with a cold field emission cathode and EBSD and EDS. For detailed microscopy with a theoretical resolution of 1.5 nm; metallic materials can be analysed and under specific conditions also non-metallic materials.
Quenching and Cryogenic Dilatometer - device with a deformation unit; max. power 25 kN, max. deformation speed 20 mm × s-1. Simulation thermomechanical processing of metallic alloys (of small specimens) in clearly defined repeatable laboratory conditions, measuring the stress-strain curves in tension and pressure at temperatures up to 1600 ° C, measurement of transformation diagrams related to the deformation; induction heating of samples;
CNC 5-Axis Machining Centre - CNC multi-axis machining centre enabling to perform mill-turn machining application of metals and other materials in five controlled axes; large variability and efficiency of machining; It is used for the production of test specimens of complex parts made of steel and other metal materials, mainly of complex dies, at which it will be necessary to verify the quality of newly developed steels and alloys. Final preparation of samples of new materials
Pit Furnace equipped with a special retort - A blast furnace with a special retort for carburizing and nitriding processes. For experimental verification of the proposed processes.
Annealing Furnace - A chamber furnace for heat treatment of samples; max. attainable inner temperature of 1250 ° C. For experimental verification of the proposed processes.
Multiaxial Testing Stand - A modular testing device enabling multiaxial stress; each of the six pistons can be controlled independently. The frame of the testing device consists of a high-stiffness metal plate with T-shaped grooves, in which anchors of pistons exerting the required loads can be placed. For loading the specimen in multiple directions simultaneously - for performing tests by multiaxial tension/compression/bending or torsion to evaluate parameters of ductile failure for designing and verifying material models, and also for determining fatigue characteristics under conditions of multiaxial stress.
Special SW: CAE-DEFORM, Abaqus; CAD-Catia, JMatPro - SW CAE DEFORM 2D/3D, DEFORM HT and Abaqus for numerical modelling of manufacturing processes; SW CAD-Catia and JMatPro for development of complex designs.
COMTES FHT a.s. since its establishment has been offering services in development of forming processes and heat treatment processes for metallic materials, materials research, technology transfer, innovation, testing and consultancy. The results are disseminated through scientific publications, utilized in projects of collaborative research which promise application potential, and in contract research. The research efforts at the centre are therefore of mixed nature. The core fields of activity of this organization comprise basic research, applied research and development using the organization’s own experimental and computing facilities. These include the newly-built physical simulation and numerical modelling laboratories, mechanical testing shops, metallographic, heat treating and forming, and engineering design laboratories. Examples of R&D areas are stated below:
R&D and optimisation of forming processes, and heat and thermomechanical treatment – through experiments conducted with the aid of a wide range of manufacturing equipment and instruments, and using computer simulation
R&D of new materials – e.g. materials with enhanced heat resistance (Ni alloys)
R&D of nanostructured materials – is an area in which the company has been active since 2002. Extensive research into nanomaterials has been undertaken, focusing on steels, as well as on non-ferrous metals, such as aluminium, titanium, and magnesium. In recent years, it involved mainly titanium for its potential use in biomedicine. At present, the biocompatibility of the newly-developed materials is studied in collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen of Charles University. A basic research project involving magnesium alloys is under way. COMTES FHT owns equipment for producing very fine microstructure in materials based on Accumulated Roll Bonding (ARB), Equal Channel Angular Pressing (ECAP) and CONFORM processes. The staff possess extensive experience in operating these machines.
R&D of methods used to describe material behaviour under various loading conditions (wide range of temperatures, loading rates, cyclic loading, corrosive conditions, behaviour under multi-axial loading, etc.), incl. the development of methodology for miniature test specimens used for evaluation of local material properties in welds, evaluation of anisotropy of properties, and assessment of mechanical properties of nanostructured materials. These methods are also useful for evaluating the instantaneous condition of components in service: the applicant owns equipment for taking samples from real-life components.
Development of material models characterizing the behaviour of material under multiaxial stress in FEM simulation, accounting for material damage.
Within the scope of projects under the Operational Programme Education for Competitiveness, “Creation of an international team of scientists and participation in scientific networks in the sphere of nanotechnology and unconventional forming material” and “Enhancing collaboration among universities, research institutes and industrial partner in the Pilsen region” of which COMTES FHT was a member, the Centre formed closer partnerships with leading international research organizations in the field of bulk materials, e.g. Westfalische Wilhelms Universität Münster, Germany, Ufa State Aviation Technical University in Russia, ICMPE-CNRS-Université Paris-Est Créteil, France, and National University of Science and Technology (MISIS), Moscow, Russia.