Original Date: 03/08/1999
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Laser Assisted Forming Process
Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, in 1996 the Applied Research Laboratory at the Pennsylvania State University (ARL Penn State) teamed with Rocketdyne, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boeing, and the Norfolk Naval Shipyard to develop predictive capabilities for laser forming of hull components through the use of numerical modeling. The laser assisted forming (LASFORM)process relies on controlled localized heat to create stress states that result in semi-predictable distortion. This process primarily involves angular distortion with the amount of distortion related to the power of the laser; the processing speed; and the thickness and composition of the material being formed.
The primary goal of the team was to demonstrate the LASFORM process on an actual ship component. A hull component, representing a Naval warship, was chosen for the demonstration based on its relatively complex shape and compound curvature. However, a thinner material (compared to an actual hull component) was selected for the demonstration, to enhance handling during presentation but not diminish the proof of the process. The team successfully demonstrated the LASFORM process by forming a part that provided a fair representation of the desired geometry in approximately 14 hours with 20 passes of the laser over the part. As a result, the ARL Penn State established a proposed program that involves the integration of robotic, sensor, and embedded expert systems based on computer aided design (CAD)-generated data (Figure 3-4).
The LASFORM process’ benefits include improved dimensional tolerances, repeatability, lower costs, and quality control. Considerable effort is being made in Europe to refine the LASFORM process due to its many benefits.
Figure 3-4. Schematic of Laser Assisted Forming System
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