Single point incremental forming of large sheet metal components
The production of complex, large-scale cladding parts made of metal in small quantities for a wide range of applications in architecture, power generation, shipbuilding, but also rail vehicle construction, mobile work machines and, last but not least, automotive sector is a major challenge in terms of principled manufacturability, but also in terms of manufacturing costs. Appropriate components are often produced in small quantities by hand, whereby the reproducibility and achievable quality depend largely on the experience and craftsmanship of the employer. The incremental forming using CNC-controlled machine tools or robots offers a good alternative for an efficient and reproducible production of sheet metal components with batch size one. There are already a large number of research work, studies and examples of applications worldwide regarding principled incremental forming strategies, process layout, FE simulation and optimization strategies. The Fraunhofer IWU works with the claim of applied research, that is, to transfer results from basic research into an industrial application. This also applies to the field of incremental sheet metal forming. Especially in the area of large-scale, 3-dimensional components, there is a very great need on the part of the industry. The paper provides an overview of current research results in the field of incremental forming of industrially relevant large-scale structures up to dimensions of approximately 4 × 2 meters, which are carried out in the single point process on a modified large milling machine. The topic of shape storage (molds), flexible clamping frames and heating equipment for temperature-supporting incremental forming of light metals is also addressed. The outlook identifies application and development potential aimed at both the further development of the technology and the associated equipment technology.