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Sheet metal prototyping with industrial robots - technical properties and application fields

Herstellung von Blechprototypen mit Industrierobotern - Technische Randbedingungen und Anwendungsgebiete
: Vihtonen, L.; Schäfer, T.; Breckweg, A.

Meyer, R. ; Fraunhofer-Allianz Rapid Prototyping:
High-Tech Solutions and Concepts - Hochtechnologielösungen und anwendbare Praxis-Konzepte. Euro-u Rapid 2006 : International User's Conference on Rapid Prototyping & Rapid Tooling & Rapid Manufacturing, Frankfurt/Main, November 27-28, 2006; Proceedings
Stuttgart: Fraunhofer IRB Verlag, 2006
ISBN: 3-8167-7070-3
ISBN: 978-3-8167-7070-1
8 S.
International User's Conference on Rapid Prototyping & Rapid Tooling & Rapid Manufacturing (Euro-u-Rapid) <2006, Frankfurt/Main>
Fraunhofer IPA ()
inkrementelles Umformen; rapid prototyping; incremental sheet forming; sheet metal forming; Rapid Tooling; Hämmern; Blechumformen; Industrieroboter

Since recent times prototyping methods for sheet metal products have mostly been related to rapid tooling, where traditional hard dies are replaced with softer and more inexpensive short lifetime dies. There have been only a few direct sheet metal prototyping methods, and their use has been limited.
On the other hand, the sheet metal industry is growing and metals are replacing plastics in many applications due
to stricter recycling regulations and rapid metals development. New formable high strength steels are very attractive to industry, because they enable lighter components with the Same mechanical properties. Many industrial sectors take advantage of the new material development, and there is clear need for sophisticated forming methods.
As customized products become more and more popular, and new models are created, more prototypes and one-part series are needed in a rapid time schedule and with costs as low as possible.
A relatively new approach for sheet metal prototyping is lncremental Sheet Forming (ISF), a sheet metal prototyping method suitable for large variety of products without major tool changes. There is a commercially available forming machine, specially designed for ISF. Also milling machines can be used with certain limitations: the spindles are not designed to handle the forces that appear in ISF and the machines may break down in forming.
This paper describes two incremental forming methods which use flexible and cost-efficient industrial robots: forming by pressing and by hammering. Using industrial robots brings cost efficiency and flexibility to the forming. The investment costs for robots are relatively low, which makes these processes well suitable for wide range of applications in a variety of business areas.