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Since the 1988 publication of Volume 14, Forming and Forging (of the 9th Edition Metals Handbook series, subsequently renamed the ASM Handbook series in 1991), advances in the forming of sheet metals have focused on a number of new or improved processes, new materials, increasing utilization of flexible-manufacturing and rapid-prototyping techniques, and the application of sophisticated process models and process-control strategies. A number of these advances have been driven by the needs of mass production in the automotive industry, but also partly by niche markets such as aerospace. Inexpensive yet powerful computing resources have emerged as an important element in process design and control, tooling development, and product-process integration.

Innumerable configurations can be produced from sheet by various fabrication operations such as bending, stretching, deep drawing, holemaking, and flanging. These distinct manufacturing processes are performed in various combinations to produce a finished part along with considerations for material savings and manufacturing ease. Currently, improvements in computational capability are having a significant impact on the cost-effective application, integrated engineering evaluation, and robust production of sheet-metal products. The increasing utilization of process-control strategies to reduce scrap and achieve net-shape forming capability during all stages of processing is also enhanced by computer technologies implemented on the shop floor.

This Volume provides a broad overview of sheet-metal fabrication technologies and applications. The intent is to cover basic concepts and methods of sheet forming and developments in forming technology. Since the late 1980s, a number of processes have been introduced and/or undergone substantial improvement. These processes include high-production superplastic forming of aluminum, the use of tailor-welded blanks in automotive manufacturing, increasing utilization of rubber-pad (hydro-) forming, and high-velocity metal forming. Recent advances in the forming of sheet metals also include increasing utilization of flexible-manufacturing and rapid-prototyping techniques. In addition, the evaluation and analysis of material formability is improving with new techniques, such as stress-based forming-limit criteria.

It is hoped that this publication provides a useful reference for the many practitioners in this vital industry. Many thanks go to the contributors, who volunteered their time and expertise in this endeavor. This work would not have been possible without them.

S.L. Semiatin
Volume Editor

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