Incremental sheet metal forming by industrial robots

Timo Schafer (Fraunhofer Institute Manufacturing Engineering and Automation, Stuttgart, Germany)
Rolf Dieter Schraft (Fraunhofer Institute Manufacturing Engineering and Automation, Stuttgart, Germany)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Publication date: 1 December 2005



This paper aims to introduce a new incremental sheet metal‐forming process. By moving a hammering tool over a sheet of metal fixed in a frame, a three‐dimensional workpiece can be produced without using any special die plate.


This paper describes the exact procedure of the new process and the advantages in comparison with other flexible conventional and incremental forming processes. The hammering process in particular, will be considered with respect to material behavior and effects on the industrial robot. In addition, a special path generation for the incremental forming process and multiple robot tools with different drives constructed for the incremental forming process is shown.


During the research it was discovered that complex geometries can be produced without any die plate and that a hammering tool with a mechanical eccentric should be used for the incremental forming process.

Practical implications

As the forces on the handling equipment are very low compared with other forming processes, a common industrial robot can be used to move the hammering tool. Thus sheet metal parts can be produced with cost‐effective equipment. Mainly, small and medium‐sized enterprises can benefit from this new technology.


The incremental forming process presented in this paper is patented by the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation. It is the first time that sheet metal parts with a size of 300×300 mm are formed by a hammering tool with 100 hits/s.



Schafer, T. and Dieter Schraft, R. (2005), "Incremental sheet metal forming by industrial robots", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 11 No. 5, pp. 278-286.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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