Flexible tooling system using reconfigurable multi-point thermoforming technology for manufacturing freeform panels

S.Z. Su, M.Z. Li, C.G. Liu, C.Q. Ji, R. Setchi, Jari Larkiola, I. Panteleev, I. Stead, R. Lopez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper, authors present a highly flexible tooling system based on reconfigurable multi-point thermoforming (MPTF) methodology, which has been developed within an EU-granted FP7 project. The MPTF technology employs an actuated-punch matrix to dynamically configure a controllable tool working surface through digitally adjusting relative displacement of each punch in the matrix. Novel MPTF methods have been proposed through re-changing configurations of actuated-punch tooling system according to rapid thermoforming principles and relevant cladding applications. The tooling system includes an industrial-scale prototype of an MPTF tooling integrated with functional CAD/CAE/CAT software interfaces. The numerical simulation with an explicit FEM predicts the unexpected deformation defects of dimples and wrinkles regarding to discrete contact boundaries between punches and the sheet blank. Innovative techniques of variable blank-holder and deformable cushion have been implemented to suppress wrinkling and eliminate dimpling effectively. The tooling system has been successfully applied to manufacture complex double-curved panels, which are described as application examples. Compared with conventional fixed moulds, the flexible tooling offers robust, rapid and re-changeable means to make mould-less manufacturing large freeform panels.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaterial Forming ESAFORM 2012
EditorsM. Merklein, H. Hagenagh
Pages839-844
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
Event15th Conference of the European Scientific Association on Material Forming - Erlangen, Germany
Duration: 14 Mar 201216 Mar 2012

Publication series

SeriesKey Engineering Materials
Volume504-506
ISSN1013-9826

Conference

Conference15th Conference of the European Scientific Association on Material Forming
Abbreviated titleESAFORM 2012
CountryGermany
CityErlangen
Period14/03/1216/03/12

Keywords

  • cad/cam software
  • multi-point forming
  • numerical simulation
  • reconfigurable tooling
  • thermoplastic thermoforming

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