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Process design for rubber-pad forming operations in the SME sheet-metal workshop


Rubber-pad forming is an industrial manufacturing process for the production of discrete sheet-metal parts. In essence, the workpiece is brought into its final shape by forming it between two tools, of which one is rigid (often a metal punch or die) and, the other one flexible (the rubber pad). Until recently, rubber-pad forming has been used almost exclusively in the aircraft industry. Being economically suitable for production volumes of up to a few thousand parts, the technique is now attracting attention in other sectors too, in particular from small- and mediumsize enterprises. To utilise the process for the product materials and shapes which are customary here, further research and technological development work is required. Except that it must be technically feasible to produce the parts, it is also imperative that the process design for these parts is mastered. The proposed research aims at generating the technological data which are necessary to achieve the latter. This includes such matters as tooling principle, tooling geometry, blank shape, and processing parameters. Also, obtained information will be developed into an algorithm which is to assist in process planning. This procedure will be designed to transform computer-aided design (CAD) data on the product into CAD data on the associated tools and process-operating data. Such system is of advantage to product design, tool making, and part manufacturing. The production efficiency for rubber-pad forming operations in the sheet-metal workshop thus can be increased, time-to-market can be reduced (about 50% reduction in labouring time and 30-50% reduction in throughput time are anticipated).

Funding Scheme

EAW - Exploratory awards


Van Baal Techniek BV
3821 AB Amersfoort