Stretch forming

Stretch forming is a metal forming process in which a piece of sheet metal is stretched and bent simultaneously over a die in order to form large contoured parts.

Stretch forming is performed on a stretch forming machine, in which a piece of sheet metal is securely gripped along its edges by gripping jaws. The gripping jaws are each attached to a carriage that is pulled and rotated by hydraulic force to stretch the sheet. The tooling used in this process is a stretch form block, called a form die, which is a solid contoured piece against which the sheet metal will be pressed. The most common stretch presses are oriented vertically, in which the form die rests on a die platform that can be raised into the sheet by a hydraulic cylinder. As the form die is driven into the sheet, which is gripped tightly at its edges, the tensile forces increase and the sheet plastically deforms into a new shape.

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