TRAINING SPECIALISTS ABLE TO IMPLEMENT THE INCREMENTAL FORMING PROCESS AT INDUSTRY LEVEL
The car manufacturing, the consumer goods and the biomedical industry have in common the need to develop small series and unique products of high complexity. This involved mainly the finding of solutions to following challenges: minimizing costs for tools and machines for the production of the parts, increasing the complexity of shapes and increasing the flexibility degree of the part's shape generating process.
The asymmetric incremental forming process (ASPIF), studied within this paper, answers these challenges, the realized parts fulfilling all above-mentioned requirements. A brief description of the ASPIF process principle is presented in the following: the blank is fixed by mean of the blank holder and in order to realize the shape of the sheet metal part, one of the active elements, usually the punch, has an axial feed movement on vertical direction, continuous or in steps (incremental), while the other element, the active plate carries out a plane horizontal movement. Nonetheless, the process still has a high degree of novelty, there remaining many questions of scientific and technological nature that await their answers.
However, in spite of its great potential, the industry is still reluctant to apply the ASPIF process on a large scale, due to two major drawbacks: low shape and dimensional accuracy of the parts and sheet metal integrity. Another major drawback, which was not formally recognized, but still has a great influence upon the development of the ASPIF process is the lack of a set of dedicated computer assisted tool and approaches.
Not least, there needs to be taken into account the human resource involved in these researches, which has to have a very high level of training. The studies concerning incremental forming require knowledge from the domains of theoretical mechanics, materials science and technology, theory of plasticity, machines manufacturing technology, CAD/CAE/CAM techniques, industrial automations and programming numerically controlled machine tools.
In this context, it becomes obvious that exist a high need to develop and implement innovative methods of educating researchers in operating with the knowledge mentioned above, given that exists the endowment with necessary equipments.
At „Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu, starting with 2010, a Master programme, entitled „CAD/CAE/CAM systems for plastic deformation” was implemented. One of the objectives of this master programme was to train specialists in incremental forming process. Three major approaches were taken into consideration: adapting general purpose CAD/CAE/CAM programs to incremental forming, assessing the accuracy of the parts and evaluating the processing forces. The paper describes firstly some particularities of the ASPIF process and afterwards, it describes how the curricula of the above-mentioned master programme was designed in order to fulfill the requirements of training specialists able to research and implement the ASPIF process at the industry level.