Research project: "iFish" IncrementalFibreShaping "
Research area: Lightweight construction, composite materials, automation
Sponsored by: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (LuFo VI-1)
In collaboration with: CompriseTec GmbH
Start of the project: May 2021
End of the project: December 2024


To produce thin-walled, fiber-reinforced components, molds with the final geometry of the component are currently required, which are expensive, time-consuming to design and inflexible to changes. This forces the production of identical parts and prevents the economical production of individual lightweight products for prototypes or small series.

In metal processing, incremental sheet forming (e.g. single-point incremental forming (SPIF)) has been researched very successfully in recent years and developed in parts for the first industrial applications. Here, a sheet metal, clamped in a fixed frame, is deformed at certain points by a simple program-controlled forming tool. Suitable tool paths are used to create a final geometry in the component without a mold. The forming mechanism used here is local material thinning so that the overall surface area is increased.

Due to the high stiffness and strength of continuous fibers, this basic effect cannot be transferred to fiber-reinforced materials. Instead, draping processes such as bending, shearing and displacement of the fiber fabric must be taken into account during local forming, which makes incremental production of the target geometry without molding tools challenging. The project goal is therefore to research and develop a small series process for the incremental forming of continuous fiber-reinforced semi-finished products with a thermoplastic polymer matrix. The development includes process modeling, semi-finished product optimization, machine technology and the digital process chain.

The focus of the IFPT is on the development of the forming process and its implementation in the form of a digital process chain. The basis for this is the experimental investigation of the forming behavior of the material under consideration and the determination of the process relationships. Together with the investigation of suitable process parameters, these serve to derive a process strategy. Based on this, software is developed for planning and controlling the forming process. Experimental investigations will then be carried out on a test facility to be set up, which will serve to investigate and adapt material behavior, process strategy, forming tools and devices. The knowledge collected will be incorporated into a final demonstrator system, which will be used to produce sample components.


Contact person at the institute: Jan-Erik Rath, M.Sc.