Laser-assisted Progressive Forming (LAPF)

Overview

In the LAPF process, the sheet metal is heated and softened locally by laser. The workpiece is then deformed as usual by the forming die immediately after the heating process. Better formability, dimensional accuracy and surface finish can be achieved as compared with the conventional forming. This allows the forming of products with complex geometry, enabling lightweight design.

  • Laser-assisted Progressive Forming (LAPF)
Commercialisation opportunities
Technology Licensing | Turn-key Solution
Problem addressed

Vehicle weight reduction can be realised by using high-strength materials. However, the forming of complex geometry with high-strength materials is extremely difficult, and it usually leads to cracking defect on the formed parts, leading to short die fatigue life. A complicated process route is now generally required, resulting in high cost and low productivity.    

Innovation
  • The synergic integration of the metal forming process with laser heating technology can improve the quality of formed parts, lower production cost and enhance productivity.
Key impact
  • By using localised heating approach, better dimensional accuracy and surface finish can be achieved as compared with the heating of the whole workpiece during conventional hot forming. On the other hand, the materials can have better formability and sheared surface quality as compared with the conventional cold forming process.
  • With the better formability and reduction of deformation load, forming steps can be simplified, and die fatigue life can be lengthened, resulting in a higher cost-competitiveness.
  • As laser is used to conduct rapid heating, machine downtime caused by die repairing is  reduced, and thus productivity can be enhanced.  
Application
  • High-strength and lightweight sheet metal parts for automobile
Automotive Platforms and Application Systems (APAS)

Automotive Platforms and Application Systems (APAS) R&D Centre was established in 2006 by the Innovation and Technology Commission of HKSAR Government and hosted by the Hong Kong Productivity Council. The Centre undertakes R&D programmes as well as commercialising R&D results in collaboration with industry, universities and technology institutes for the development of the APAS technology. Since its establishment, APAS R&D Centre has carried out over 100 R&D projects and focus on 3 R&D areas, Green Transportation, Smart Mobility and Intelligent Systems. To facilitate greater synergy and further enhance cost effectiveness, APAS is form part of the Hong Kong Productivity Council with effect from 1 Nov 2012.

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