In the metalworking industry, the bending of sections (tubes, profiles) is steadily gaining significance. Available section-bending techniques cover a wide range of product shapes and manufacturing conditions, but there remains a need for improved process flexibility, especially in a context of increasing product diversity and decreasing batch sizes. One of the bottlenecks of the roll-bending process is the section-uniqueness of the tools. The proposed research aims at evolving this technique by developing a new kind of tooling that incorporates flexible components (of synthetic rubber) and is thus able of supporting a range of different sections. Implementation of this versatile tooling is to increase the efficiency in the workshop. Except for the direct benefit of lower manufacturing costs, throughput time will be reduced and flexibility increased: no specific tooling has to acquire anymore, where changes in machine configuration will be minimised. In effect, a 60-80% reduction in tooling expenses, accompanied by an increase in productivity of up to 12,5% and a reduction in throughput time of 60-75% for new products are anticipated.
Funding SchemeEAW - Exploratory awards