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

Su, Shizhong, Li, M. Z., Liu, C. G., Ji, Chunqian, Setchi, Rossitza ORCID:, Larkiola, J., Panteleev, I., Stead, I. and Lopez, R. 2012. Flexible tooling system using reconfigurable multi-point thermoforming technology for manufacturing freeform panels. Key Engineering Materials 504-06 , pp. 839-844. 10.4028/

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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.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Centre for Advanced Manufacturing Systems At Cardiff (CAMSAC)
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: CAD/CAM Software; Multi-Point Forming; Numerical Simulation; Reconfigurable Tooling; Thermoplastic Thermoforming
Additional Information: Paper presented at 15th ESAFORM Conference, Erlangen, Germany 14-16 March 2012
Publisher: Trans Tech Publications
ISSN: 1662-9795
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2023 10:17

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