Forming techniques, in a broader sense, comprise a variety of metal working processes in which the material is shaped in solid state by plastic deformation. The forming techniques are generally classified as bulk forming and sheet forming processes. Common bulk forming processes are rolling, extrusion, drawing, forging, etc., whereas common sheet metal forming processes are bending, surface contouring, linear contouring, shallow recessing, etc. The end products of forming processes can either be final components or basic shapes such as rods, bars, tubes, sheets, plates, etc. (Semiatin 1988). In the present context, forming process is primarily referred to as sheet material forming such as bending. Conventional mechanical bending process for a sheet material involves a set of bending die and punch with a sheet material placed between them. During bending, the sheet material is plastically deformed into desired shapes by application of suitable forces such that the shape of the sheet material conforms to the contours of the die and punch (Fig. 8.1). The mechanical sheet material forming processes are primarily suitable for mass production due to high cost of dies and punches. For a rapid production of few parts such as those required for test prototypes and special shapes, the conventional sheet metal forming processes are often uneconomical due to high cost of dies, and longer time for the fabrication and error corrections of dies. Also, the mechanical sheet metal forming processes are often associated with the inherent effects such as spring-back effects where the actual bending angle is always less than the desired bending angle defined by the dies.
KeywordsHeat Affected Zone Sheet Material Material Processing Technology Scanning Path Laser Processing Parameter
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