A Structured Search for Novel Manufacturing Processes Leading to a Periodic Table of Ring Rolling Machines

[+] Author and Article Information
Julian M. Allwood

Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge, Mill Lane, Cambridge CB2 1RX, UKjma42@cam.ac.uk

J. Mech. Des 129(5), 502-511 (Apr 20, 2006) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2712217 History: Received October 27, 2005; Revised April 20, 2006

Manufacturing processes based on cutting have been extensively automated over the past 30–40 years leading to greatly increased flexibility of operation. In contrast, processes based on ductile forming have largely remained dependent on fixed tooling and lack flexibility. Recent innovations have shown that forming can also be made flexible, by new process configurations typically using simpler and smaller tools with increased (and controllable) freedom of motion. In order to facilitate development of such flexible forming processes, this paper examines the possibility that all such processes can be predicted and organized so that subsequent process development may be based on selection rather than invention. The approach taken is based on Zwicky’s “morphological analysis,” in which the features of a design are parameterized and an exhaustive search is conducted, with appropriate constraints used to reject infeasible designs. As an example of this approach, the process of ring rolling is explored, and a “periodic table” of 102 “elemental” ring rolling machines is presented. The combination of elements into compounds is described, and the use of the table for development of practical flexible machines is discussed. Having applied this approach to the example of ring rolling, its likely value in exploring other processes is discussed.

Copyright © 2007 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

A schematic of the conventional ring rolling process

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Figure 2

Generic characterization of a simple forming process

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Figure 3

Summary of the definition and parameterization of a manufacturing process

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Figure 4

Parameterization of solid rolls: (a) cone angle; (b) surface modification

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Figure 5

Possible loadings of a segment of a plane ring: (a) none; (b) one; and (c) two tools acting in the region of deformation

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Figure 6

All possible contacts that may occur with the outer face, or upper–outer edge of a ring cross section through application of the tools in Fig. 4

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Figure 7

Test for tool collision: (a) 12 zones around the ring; (b) a candidate machine without tool collision; and (c) a candidate machine with tool collision

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Figure 8

Forces acting on a cross section of the ring due to a single tool

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Figure 9

Simplifications used in presenting elemental machines

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Figure 10

The periodic table of ring rolling machines

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Figure 11

Example realizations of the compound machine 24+24

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Figure 12

Modular flexible ring rolling machine being built in Cambridge: (a) design of three module machine; and (b) photograph of one module machine




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