Research Group Overview
Metal forming was historically the preserve of the craftsman; however the high production rates commonly found in modern industry far exceed those possible by manual methods. In an effort to meet growing industrial demands, manual forming methods have been replaced by more automated processes. Throughout the evolution of these automated processes the traditional heuristic methods were used as the basis for production development. As a result, the design of the process still depends to a large extent upon the skill of the tool design and process engineer. Such an approach limits the capability to cope with the introduction of new materials and the design demands for radical shapes.
Experience based knowledge requires time to gain the necessary information for new material properties, part profiles and forming operations. Making the right decision regarding the suitability of an individual forming process is heavily dependent on the experience of the individual engineer. Often these decisions are based on previous experience rather than a scientific method of analysing the present requirement. These problems are further compounded by a reduction in professional engineers with the necessary mechanics and materials background knowledge
The rapidly changing demands of modern industry require an agility that can only be achieved through a fundamental scientific understanding of forming processes and materials. The Advanced Metal Forming Research (AMFoR) group was established to address these problems by applying science to the art of metal forming.
The main objective of the research is to replace the traditional skills based system with a knowledge based system derived from industrial observation and honed through research and development. It is recognised that this is a staged process and that any methods developed in the lab should be verified within an industrial context.
Unique Research Capabilities
The AMFoR group provides a unique blend of capabilities including mathematical theories of plasticity, mechanical metallurgy, materials characterisation and industrial forming process optimisation. Through combined efforts in these key areas we have a rare, scientifically founded but pragmatic approach to research in the field of metal forming. This approach was developed in response to the observed complex interactions of these areas while solving industrial forming problems.