Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - FLEXFORM (Novel Flexible Sheet Forming for High Value Manufacturing)

Developing environmental friendly and sustainable manufacturing technologies has become a driving force to maximize resource efficiency, to reduce energy consumption and environmental pollution of traditional metal forming processes using heavy machineries and costly tools. With increasing global competition, it is crucially important for European manufacturers to develop core competence of future advanced manufacturing technologies. FLEXFORM (Novel Flexible Sheet Forming for High Value Manufacturing) project aims to develop new flexible sheet forming processes to support sustainable technologies of rapid manufacturing high value-added, small batch and customised sheet metal parts, with reduced costs and lead time.

Funded by the FP7 Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowships (IIF) Scheme, FLEXFORM project supported an experienced researcher, Dr. Bin Lu, of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China to work with Dr. Hui Long of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the University of Sheffield, UK, 2014-2016. Bringing his knowledge and expertise in the flexible sheet metal forming technologies, Dr. Lu developed novel process concepts and bespoke prototype machines as well as dedicated tool designs to demonstrate the flexibility of the Incremental Sheet Forming (ISF) based technologies. Investigations were focused on developing ISF-WJ (ISF with Water Jet), Hybrid Spinning & ISF, Double Side Incremental Forming (DSIF), Electrical Assisted DSIF (E-DSIF), Vibration Assisted Incremental Forming (V-ISF), and Hybrid Stretching & ISF processes to demonstrate the potential of rapid manufacturing of value-added, small batch and customised sheet metal parts.

Technical and scientific advancements achieved by FLEXFORM project demonstrated the feasibility of flexible sheet forming technologies for industrial applications in aerospace, automotive and medical sectors therefore its potential to strengthen the EU’s competitive position to meet future challenges of sustainable manufacturing.

Key journal publications:
1. Cao T, Lu B, Ou H, Long H, Chen J (2016) Investigation on a New Hole-flanging Approach by Incremental Sheet Forming through a Featured Tool. International Journal of Machine Tools and Manufacture. Accepted for publication in August 2016.
2. Xu DK, Lu B, Cao T, Zhang H, Chen J, Long H & Cao J (2016). Enhancement of Process Capabilities in Electrically-assisted Double Sided Incremental Forming. Materials & Design, 92, 268–280. doi:10.1016/j.matdes.2015.12.009
3. Lu B., Ou H., Shi S. Q., Long H., & Chen J. (2016). Titanium based Cranial Reconstruction using Incremental Sheet Forming. International Journal of Material Forming. 9(3), 361-370. doi:10.1007/s12289-014-1205-8 (Open Access)
4. Lu B., Fang Y., Xu D. K., Chen J., Ai S., Long H., Ou H. & Cao J. (2015). Investigation of Material Deformation Mechanism in Double Side Incremental Sheet Forming. International Journal of Machine Tools and Manufacture, 93, 37-48. doi:10.1016/j.ijmachtools.2015.03.007
5. Lu B, Fang Y, Xu DK, Chen J, Ou H, Mose NH & Cao J (2014). Mechanism Investigation of Friction-related Effects in Single Point Incremental Forming using a Developed Oblique Roller-ball Tool. International Journal of Machine Tools and Manufacture, 85, 14-29. doi:10.1016/j.ijmachtools.2014.04.007 (Open Assess)

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