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Design considerations for developing a new, ultra-high precision feeder for micro-sheet-forming applications

Razali, Akhtar and Qin, Yi and Harrison, Colin and Brockett, Andrew (2009) Design considerations for developing a new, ultra-high precision feeder for micro-sheet-forming applications. International Journal of Nanomanufacturing, 3 (1-2). pp. 40-54. ISSN 1746-9392

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Recent review in micro-forming research and technological development suggested that the trend of the development is more focused on the manufacturing processes, machines and tooling, and efforts on the methods and systems for integrated precision material handling are insufficient. Most of the developed micro-forming machines were based on standalone concepts which do not support efficient integration to make them fully automated and integrated. At present, material feeding in micro-forming is not of sufficient precision and reliability for high throughput manufacturing applications. Precision feeding is necessary to ensure that micro-parts can be produced with sufficient accuracy, especially in multi-stage forming, while high-speed feeding is a must to meet the production-rate requirements. Therefore, design of a new high-precision and high-speed feeder for micro-forming is proposed. Several possible approaches are examined with a view to establishing feasible concepts. Based on the investigation, several concepts for thin sheet-metal feeding for micro-forming are generated, they being argued and assessed with applicable loads and forces analysis. These form a basis of designing a new feeder.