Modelling and optimal design of sheet metal RP&M processes

Meelis Pohlak (Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia)
Rein Küttner (Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia)
Jüri Majak (Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Publication date: 1 December 2005



To study the influence of process and product parameters on the properties of products in incremental sheet metal‐forming; to create models for process optimisation and to introduce an approach to incremental forming process optimisation.


A new flexible sheet metal‐forming technique, incremental forming, has been studied. The technique can be viewed as a rapid prototyping/manufacturing technique for sheet metal parts. To analyse the process, an experimental study and finite element analysis were performed. For the optimal design of incremental forming process non‐linear mathematical programming was used. To estimate the limitations and main parameters of the process, a complex model was developed.


Introducing optimisation procedures for the incremental forming process allows users to increase productivity and to assure quality.

Research limitations/implications

As finite element analysis of the process is time‐consuming in real life situations, a future study should include creating analytical models for process modelling.

Practical implications

The described approach can be used in practice to improve competitiveness of companies producing sheet metal prototypes.


This paper offers guidelines for shortening processing time of sheet metal prototypes for engineers and researchers. The optimisation that is based on experimental/theoretical/numerical models of incremental forming process has not been covered before in the scientific literature.



Pohlak, M., Küttner, R. and Majak, J. (2005), "Modelling and optimal design of sheet metal RP&M processes", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 11 No. 5, pp. 304-311.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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