Rotational Vibration Assisted Increment Sheet Forming by Novel Tooling (RV-ISF)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Mechanical Engineering


Incremental Sheet Forming (ISF) is a flexible, cost effective, energy and resource efficient process. It only requires a simple tool to deform the sheet material incrementally by moving the tool along a predefined tool path created directly from the CAD model of a product. Without using moulds, dies or heavy-duty forming machines, it is flexible to manufacture small-batch or customised sheet products with complex geometries. However, existing ISF processes cannot manufacture hard-to-form materials, such as high strength aluminium, magnesium and titanium alloys, because these materials have limited ductility at room temperature.

This EPSRC follow-on project aims to build on the initial success of an EPSRC Adventurous Manufacturing grant (EP/T005254/1) in developing a rotational vibration assisted incremental sheet forming (RV-ISF) process to manufacture hard-to-form materials for industrial applications. The RV-ISF process is centred on a novel ISF tooling to generate low frequency and high amplitude vibration in ISF processing, which produces localised heating and material softening therefore improve the material ductility without the need of additional heating or extra energy input. By developing and implementing the novel tooling, RV-ISF experimental testing of a well-known hard-to-form material has demonstrated a 300% increase in forming depth, more than 70% reduction of average grain size through microstructure refinement, 20% improvement in average hardness and up to 37% reduction of average surface roughness.

To capitalise the promising findings from the EPSRC Adventurous Manufacturing grant (EP/T005254/1), this follow-on project assembles a multidisciplinary team with expertise in flexible sheet forming, material science and plasticity, advanced manufacturing technologies, novel tooling and bespoke machine systems. The aim is to develop an in-depth understanding of the material deformation mechanisms under RV-ISF processing conditions and to use this new knowledge to expand the material types and products that can be successfully manufactured using this innovative process. In working with the project partners, the follow-on project aims to deliver a range of demonstrable products and to engage in dissemination activities for a swift translation of the developed flexible, cost effective and sustainable forming process into UK's medical, automotive, aerospace and nuclear industries.
Description Website to publicise the project and provide free trainings for researchers: 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Since the development of the project website, it has been visited by undergraduate and postgraduate students, PostDoc researchers, university supervisors, academic collaborators, and project industrial partners. This work led to an invited participation of the EU ESAFORM Benchmarking Project, led by KU LEUVEN with 14 leading organisations worldwide, to explore potentials of the application of the developed new tools and new sheet forming process RV-ISF and other incremental sheet forming processes;
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022,2023,2024