In the spirit of flexible manufacturing, the novel forming process “flexible roller beading” was developed, which allows the incremental production of height-variable sheet metal profiles. After designing the process and realizing a test facility for flexible roller beading, the feasibility was experimentally shown. The following step addresses the expansion of the process limits. With this aim, the mechanical behavior of the sheet metal during the process was investigated by means of FEA. Due to the variable cross-section development of the sheet metal profile, a multidimensional stress distribution was identified. Based on the present state of stress and strain, conclusions about the origin of appearing defect formations were drawn. Observed defects were sheet wrinkles as a result of compressive stresses in the profile flange and material thinning in the profile legs and bottom due to unintendedly exceeding tensile stresses. The influences of the forming strategy as well as tool- and workpiece-side variations on the quality of the manufacturing result were investigated. From the results of the analyses, measures to avoid component failure were derived. Given all the findings, guidelines were concluded that are to be considered in designing the forming sequence. With the insights into the occurring processes and the mastery of this novel forming process, important contributions are made to its industrial suitability. The approach of lightweight and load-oriented component design can be extended by realizing new families of sheet metal profiles. With respect to Industry 4.0, on-demand manufacturing is increasingly required, which is why flexible roller beading is of substantial relevance for the industrial sheet metal production.
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