Industrial Design and Sheet Metal Forming

We all hear frequent discussion about Advanced High Strength Steels, increased use of aluminum, and carbon fibres. Much of the discussion in automotive focuses on materials and processes to increase product strength and reduce mass.  A pamphlet published by Volvo Construction Equipment (http://tinyurl.com/d3c3cvh) discusses the increasing role industrial design plays in new product development. Are we looking far enough forward in product design to anticipate the additional forming challenges we will face in producing new geometries?

A product’s aesthetic design is increasingly important across many manufacturing industries. Shape and color affect customer perceptions of quality, functionality, and style, along with the product’s maintainability and durability. As we develop new materials, tooling, and processes to meet our more “technical” specifications, we must also look forward to how our products will look in the future. These issues extend beyond automotive. Who would have guessed 15 years ago that the old beige washer/dryer in your laundry room would become a stylish showpiece item in a modern laundry room? Or that your computer would also become an item of style, merged with your phone, and held in your pants pocket?

Food for thought …

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