Sheet Metal Panels

  shell structure composed of sheet metal panels © Chair of Structures and Structural Design  

Manufacturing of Sheet Metal Panels for Complex Freeform Structures


Thin metal sheets are excellently suited to generate free forms and can be structurally improved thanks to their material properties. The production of individually formed, multiply curved sheet metal parts with conventional automated methods such as deep drawing, however, is solely economically feasible for high volume productions, due to high tooling costs. The utilization of manual forming processes is extremely cost-intensive as well. The increasing desire for free forms in architecture and design, implies a large number of variants produced in small quantities of the same sheet metal components.


Therefore, strategies for flexible, yet economical production of sheet metal parts for freeform structures are needed. The central idea of this new concept is the development of an automated production chain for the production of single- or multi-layer panels on the basis of established forming techniques, such as the stretch forming, and innovative techniques, such as incremental sheet forming (ISF). In addition to the surface curvature, formations introduced to a core layer produce the statically effective height of the panels. All components of the panel can be produced in a single machine setup. By joining the different layers of the panel to form a single unit, a high inherent rigidity is obtained.

Manufacturing Process Table

Production of a table using Stretch Bending and Incremental Sheet Forming. Video: IBF


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