Incremental sheet forming
Incremental sheet forming is a process invented in the early 1990’s by Professors Matsubarra and Iseki in Japan. A workpiece, typically of 1mm thick steel or aluminium, 300mm square, is clamped firmly around its edges but otherwise unsupported. A small radius smooth indentor is pressed against the sheet to create a small kink in the sheet. This kink is then moved under computer control in three axes according to a programmed path, to build up some desired shape incrementally.
Our machine, which was commissioned in 2005, was designed and built in the department. It includes six axes of on-line force measurement, and is mounted with clear access to the underside of the sheet which has allowed us to develop closed loop feedback control of a geometry in a sheet forming process, for the first time.