Incremental sheet metal forming

Finished parts in record time

Incremental sheet metal forming is a forming process for manufacturing complex components in small quantities. In comparison to conventional drawing methods, complex tools can be dispensed. This reduces tool costs and the time required to achieve the first finished part. These advantages predestine incremental sheet metal forming for number of pieces in the range of 1 to 1,000 parts.

The process variants used at Fraunhofer IWU make it possible to achieve significantly higher natural strains compared to conventional methods.

At Fraunhofer IWU several methods are available for incremental manufacturing of sheet metal parts. The term “incremental“ already describes that the final shape is produced by several successive movements. In detail, these movements are carried out by a forming stylus. The latter is moved along one CNC path or along several consecutive CNC paths. The part geometry itself can be directly influenced by the programmed path.

  • Heat exchanger
  • Gear carrier
  • Battery cover
  • End cap for nacelles of wind turbines
  • Signage
  • Individual engine hood
  • Magnesium truncated pyramid

  • Minimum tool cost
  • Component manufacturing in a very short time
  • Broad range of applications (visible and structural components)
  • Further processing / individualization of existing components possible
  • Surface qualities according to your specifications
  • Cost efficiency starting with quantity of 1
  • Parts of dimensions up to
    • 4,000 mm x 3,000 mm (cold)
    • 2,000 mm x 1,000 mm (maximum 250 °C)
  • Sheet thicknesses up to 5 mm (Al)
  • Applicable to a wide range of sheet materials

Development of process chains

  • Market analysis
  • Investigation of process chains
  • Process optimization
  • Cost-benefit calculation
  • Development of manufacturing concepts
  • Planning and technological dimensioning of processes, tools and machines

Development and evaluation of forming strategies

  • Feasibility studies
  • Technology development
  • Development of characteristic process values and optimal forming strategies
  • Benchmarking
  • Numerical simulation (fundamental investigations)
  • Manufacturing of prototypes
  • Parts of dimensions up to 4,000 mm x 3,000 mm (cold) or 2,000 mm x 1,000 mm (maximum 250 °C)
  • Sheet thicknesses up to 5 mm (Al)
  • Wide range of sheet materials
  • Complete production of formed parts and manufacturing of design-geometries
  • Rough and finish machining
  • Surface structuring
  • Component design
  • Tool design and construction
  • Process design
  • Machine design / construction

Quality assurance

  • Component measurement (optical, tactile)
  • Inspection of components according to your specifications
  • Staff training
  • Assistance with production start-ups on site

Machine technology

  • Machining center for incremental forming (table size: approx. 3,000 mm x 4,000 mm, working space distinctly larger)
  • Heating unit (up to approx. 250 °C) for components up to 2000 mm x 1000 mm
  • Various clamping systems
  • Stylus variants (diameter, length, design)
  • Using a controllable frame system

Testing technology

  • Component measurement (optical, tactile)
  • Metallographic evaluations (grindings, measurements of sheet thickness, etc.)
  • Detection of local strains / thinning
  • Hardness measuring equipment
  • Thermal process monitoring