The INMA project aims at developing an intelligent knowledge-based (KB) flexible manufacturing technology for titanium shaping that will lead to drastically reduce current aircraft development costs incurred by the fabrication of complex titanium sheet components with a minimal environmental impact. In particular, this project aims at strengthening European aircraft industry competitiveness, by transforming the current non-flexible and cost intensive forming processes into a rapid and agile manufacturing process.
This brand new technology, based on Asymmetric incremental sheet forming (AISF), will transform the way many titanium sheet aeronautical components such as after pylon fairings, fan blades, exhaust ducts or air collectors are manufactured today. The innovative, cost-efficient and ecological forming technology to shape complex geometries in titanium that will contribute to strengthen the European aircraft industry competitiveness meeting society's needs.
Currently, aircraft industry uses complicated and cost intensive forming processes to shape complex Ti sheet components, such as deep drawing, hot forming, super plastic forming (SPF) and hydroforming. In some cases parts are even obtained by hand working. These techniques show severe drawbacks which include high costs, long industrialisation phases and high energy consumption rates.
On the contrary, main features of the innovative AISF technology to be developed will be an increased flexibility, cost reduction, minimised energy consumption and a speed up in the industrialisation phase.
The major impacts of the results obtained in the INMA project will be:
- Cost incurred by dedicated tooling will be reduced by 80%
- The component lead times will decrease by 90%
- Buy-to-fly ratios will be up to 20% lower
The INMA Consortium is integrated by 2 end-users, 1 equipment provider, 4 research organisations, 3 universities and the EASN association. Participation of industrial partners who will directly exploit the project results will guarantee the impact of the project.
The goals of the project are the following:
- Development of the AISF process for titanium through the generation of experimental data about adequate parameter windows, tool specifications and tool paths for cold, hot and large scale forming.
- Implement and validate numerical AISF process models that will provide reliable prediction of the forces, strains and shape deviations resulting from cold, lean heated and large scale forming.
- Characterize titanium formability limits, including the definition of specific and inexistent testing and evaluating procedures, as well as its post-forming metallurgical, mechanical and chemical properties under cold and hot AISF.
- Implement and validate an intelligent KB AISF process model that will serve to correct the forming tool path in order to compensate shape deviations appearing when no die is used.
- Develop heating procedures that will allow tackling hot AISF operations at minimum cost and energy consumption without compromising other relevant issues such as efficiency and reliability.
- Apply and validate the developed technology through the fabrication of aircraft and aeroengine realistic pilot demonstrators.