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23nd International Congress on Applications of Lasers & Electro-Optics (ICALEO 2004), San Francisco, California, October 4-7, 2004, Paper No. 405, Laser Institute of America, Publication No 597, Vol. 97, ISBN 0-912035-77-3 (2004)
S. P. Edwardson 1, A. J. Moore 2, E. Abed1, R. McBride 2, P. French 1, D. P. Hand 2, G. Dearden 1, J. D.C. Jones 2, K. G. Watkins 1
1 - Laser Group, Department of Engineering, The University of Liverpool, Liverpool, U.K.
2 - School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK

Abstract: There has been a considerable amount of work carried out on two-dimensional laser forming, using multi-pass straight line scan strategies to produce a reasonably controlled bend angle in a number of materials, including aerospace alloys. However in order to advance the process further for realistic forming applications and for straightening and aligning operations in a manufacturing industry it is necessary to consider larger scale controlled 3D laser forming. The work presented in this paper uses a predictive and adaptive approach to control the 3D laser forming of 1.5mm Mild Steel sheet into a desired continuous surface. The surface considered in the study was the pillow (or dome) shape. Key to the control of the process was the development of a predictive model to give scan strategies based on a required geometry. When the geometry is not formed within one pass, an incremental adaptive approach is used for subsequent passes, utilising the error between the current and desired geometry to give a new scan strategy, thus any unwanted distortion due to material variability can be accounted for. The forming rate and distribution of the magnitude of forming across the surface were controlled by the process speed.

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