Bief Description of the Cooperative Research Project Roboforming
Roboforming - Robot Based Incremental Sheet Metal Forming for Limited-Lot Production
In the field of sheet metal forming the production of prototypes or parts in small lot sizes results in high costs using conventional forming processes. The lack of flexibility and the high investment costs display the boundaries of conventional sheet metal forming quite clearly, in particular when compared with the trend to more and more complex sheet metal designs.
ROBOFORMING is a new development of an incremental, robot based sheet metal forming process for the production of sheet metal components for limited-lot productions and prototypes. The kinematically based generation of the shape is implemented by means of two industrial robots, which are coupled to a cooperating robot system. One robot drives the forming the other the supporting tool. The final shape is produced by the incremental infeed of the forming tool in depth direction and its movement along the contour in lateral direction on each level while the sheet is sustained by the supporting tool an the opposite side. Compared to other incremental sheet metal forming machines this system offers high geometrical form flexibility without the need of any workpiece dependent tools.
The main focus of the ROBOFORMING project lies in the development and the implementation of an automated system design for the production of individual sheet metal parts following the approach “direct forming of the individual part on the basis of a CAD file”. To accomplish this development a consortium consisting out of several renowned industrial companies working in the fields of automation solutions (Dieffenbacher System-Automation GmbH), offline programming systems (carat robotic innovation GmbH), optical sensor systems (Steinbichler Optotechnik GmbH), industrial robots (KUKA Roboter GmbH) and possible users of this technology in the fields of automotive (BMW Fahrzeugtechnik GmbH, HMT GmbH & Co. KG) and design parts (Seidel GmbH & Co) has found together. It is supported by two chairs (LPS Ruhr-University Bochum, irpa University Dormund) and the German industrial association for sheet metal forming (IBU e.V.).
The automated system design shall follow the shown scenario with the highlighted closed loop between programming, robot and sensor system.