THE COMPETENCES REQUIRED FOR MANUFACTURING ENGINEERS TO MANAGE THE INDUSTRIAL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE INCREMENTAL FORMING PROCESS
“Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu (ROMANIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:Incremental forming is a new metal forming process, based upon the controlled motion of a punch (along the vertical direction) and an active plate (in the horizontal plane). The process allows the user to manufacture complex parts without using a die, which reduces the costs and increases the flexibility. Incremental forming can be used with great success for manufacturing sheet metal parts with very complex shapes, being very suitable as special manufacturing process for the automotive industry.
The literature presents a lot of research results, emphasizing the great potential of this process, but still very few industrial applications are reported. There are some technical reasons for that, but one of the main reasons is that there is a lack of specialists able to implement it on industrial level. The complexity of the process requires interdisciplinary knowledge from various domains.
Being a metal forming process involves comprehensive knowledge about materials proprieties and mechanics of the deformation process. The coordinated motion control of the punch and the active plate requires knowledge about servo systems and CNC (computer numerical control) programming. In order to avoid metal breakage, thickness reduction and to estimate the technological forces, complex finite element method simulations have to be run before unfolding the process. Consequently knowledge about materials engineering, mechanical and manufacturing engineering, together with the ability to use computer aided design, analysis and manufacturing techniques in a proficient way are required. Last but not least, the user has to be able to operate with motion control systems, with data acquisition systems and to program and operate CNC equipments.
Some of the above-mentioned knowledge is provided at under-graduate level at manufacturing engineering programmes, but usually it lacks the integrated approach in order to train a specialist for incremental forming. At “Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu, which acts also as research unit with good results in the field of incremental forming, several steps were done in this direction, both at under-graduate and post-graduate levels.
At under-graduate level, special chapters were introduced in some specific courses. For example, the course of “CNC programming” tackles now the problem of using such kind of equipments (CNC milling machine-tools) for incremental forming. At post-graduate level, a master programme “CAD/CAE/CAM techniques in plastic deformation processes” was founded and incremental forming is one of the main processes studied.
The paper presents some details about how the competences required for manufacturing engineers to manage the industrial implementation of the incremental forming process are provided to the students at “Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu.
Keywords: Incremental forming process, CNC milling centre, competences.