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Laser Forming

Laser forming is a newly developed technique for the shaping of metallic components. The process is achieved by introducing thermal stresses into a sheet of metal by controlled irradiation with a defocused laser beam. In laser forming, the shape and position of a bend are determined by the intensity, scanning speed, beam size and positioning of the laser which are process variables that can be changed or adjusted through electronic control. In conventional forming techniques such as bending, drawing, pressing and stamping special heavy tools (i.e., die and punch) and application of external forces are required to bend flat sheet metal into a component, where the process is changed through re-tooling or re-building the forming machines. Thus, the greatest advantage of the laser forming technique over the conventional methods for small batch production can be placed on process flexibility and reduction of manufacturing cost and time. In general according to laser forming mechanism, bending angles of 1˚-15˚ can be achieved per irradiation. The bend angles may increase up to 180° with repetition of irradiations. The path of the laser is dependent on the desired shape. In the simplest case, the path may be a point, in other cases the path may be a straight line across the whole part and for spatially formed parts and extrusions the path would be very sophisticated radial and tangential lines. Following figure illustrates the schematic diagram of a straight-line irradiation process which produces a bend angle from a flat sheet metal piece and an experimental laser bending process.

(a) (b)
Schematic view of a straight-line irradiation by a defocused laser beam to produce a bend angle from Experimental laser bending of a steel sheet


Research topics in laser forming are as follows:

Laser forming of 3-D complex shapes, laser micro forming, laser assisted sheet metal forming and laser forming of laminated sheets.


Contact Person: Dr. Mahmoud Farzin



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