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CNC dynamic mold for producing freely curved glass panels

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FREE-D (CNC dynamic mold for producing freely curved glass panels)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2015-10-31

Central to the study is the design, fabrication and marketing of a CNC reconfigurable mold for glass transforming, integrated with a glass bending furnace.
The apparatus is to allow reshaping of the mold surface, to by active tooling, rapidly produce uniquely curved glass panels.
Performance based computational models in contemporary design connect generative algorithms with secondary and tertiary inputs, like environmental and structural performance, and the fabrication and material constraints.
Our technology supports connecting these complex influences, from design to fabrication.
The Phase 1 feasibility study results are:
1. A small glass manufacturer has been selected for testing of the first prototype.
2. Specialists were consulted to develop new actuators that operate in higher density.
Agreements were made with partners for (partly parallel) development paths of components.
They are divided in steps with physical models as milestones. Incrementally optimized processing and additional technologies are scheduled, like CNC cutting to trim the panels.
3. A study that describes the marketing of curved glass panels in the EU.
A path is described how to bring high-resolution pinbeds onto the EU market - also for use with other materials than glass.

A modular CNC dynamic mold prototype was further elaborated as tool for efficient optimization and integration of components.
Various technical uncertainties have been reduced:
- actuators: test runs led to adding components for more stable functioning of the present actuators.
The system now better withstands human operating errors. Various options for a higher-res actuator field have been studied.
- various technologies were tested to hold the glass panel onto the flexbed while transforming, to suppress panel dimpling and wrinkling.
- panels are heated by radiation and convection.
The process works well as to glass heating time and minimization of through-thickness temperature.
The latter relates to the heat capacity of the flexible mold surface (flexbed) and the components that hold the panel onto the flexbed.
The first FD Pinbed Wizard glass bending furnace prototype will be operable in January 2016.
With its flexbed and high-resolution field of actuators, it will function as a lever, to optimize transforming other materials too.
We aim to, swiftly and with big impact, spread our bending technology all over the EU.
The project aim, development and marketing strategy remain as described in the Phase 1 Proposal.
Render of the FD Pinbed Wizard glass bending furnace