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Development of a new high-precision feeder for micro-sheet-forming

Razali, Akhtar and Qin, Yi and Zhao, Jie and Harrison, Colin and Smith, R. (2011) Development of a new high-precision feeder for micro-sheet-forming. Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering, 133 (6). ISSN 1528-8935

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Abstract

Feeding the raw material accurately is essential in microsheet-forming, especially in multistage progressive forming operations and also when in particular, a certain feeding rate has to be maintained. Research into the microforming of thin sheet metals (< 100 mu m) led to investigations of the performance of existing sheet metal feeders, regarding their feeding accuracy and repeatability. The results indicated that the pursuance of greater feeding accuracy and repeatability, which was aimed at 5-15% of the strip thickness, was difficult to achieve with commercially-available feeders. A new high-precision and high-speed feeder was, therefore, developed for microsheet-forming. The feeder design was supported by motion analysis and feeding simulations. The feeder was constructed in collaboration with industrial partners. The conducted feeding tests and forming experiments demonstrated that greater feeding accuracy and repeatability can be achieved, compared to those of existing commercial feeders. This suggests a promising solution for high-precision strip feeding in microsheet-forming where thin sheet metals are to be fed.