An Electromagnetic Forming Actuator with uniform pressure distribution over nominally flat areas.

The Need

Metal stamping and manufacturing industries require techniques to control the geometries of fabricated metals. A flat surface is desired for many applications, and current methods lack capability or efficiency to produce such a surface. One current “gold standard” method employs a large ‘racetrack’ shaped coil, however, this method leaves a zero magnetic pressure zone at the center, resulting in a significant defect. To correct this, one can use a much larger sheet, reducing the defect, but the larger sheet size increases cost and decreases efficiency. A process that produces uniform pressure distributions in a material with reasonable efficiency and varying sizes is needed.

The Market

  • IBISWorld expects the Metal Stamping & Forging industry to grow at an annualized 4.4% in the five years to 2019, bringing revenue to $48.1 billion. Profitability will be highest among metal stampers and forgers supplying high-technology markets, such as aerospace, since these markets pay price premiums for custom made purchases.
  • TechNavio’s analysts forecast the Metal Stamping industry in the US to grow at a CAGR of 7.91% from 2012 to 2016. One of the key factors contributing to this growth is the growing demand from the Automotive industry.
  • Actuators and motors make up the largest application segment of the smart materials market, with sales of nearly $10.8 billion (55% of the total market) in 2010, increasing to $25.4 billion (nearly 64% of the market) by 2016, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.4% between 2011 and 2016 (Smart Materials & Applications – BCCresearch).

The Technology

The Ohio State University researchers, led by Dr. Glenn S. Daehn, developed a novel forming system using an electromagnetic actuator that generates a uniform pressure distribution to manufacture nominally flat areas. This new system uses a multi-turn helical coil which provides the electromagnetic pressure to the sheet. A current path is added around the helix to allow a return eddy current in the sheet. This increases the efficiency in the compact system to much higher levels compared to traditional techniques and allows for varying sizes of sheets to be formed.

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