The department process chains and forming units focuses on the technical and economical analysis of forming processes, the development of new forming machines and the optimisation of production processes using forming techniques.

Because of ever faster changes in sales markets the demand for flexible production systems has risen remarkably. The demands originate not only from the sale markets but also from buying market factors such as varying batch qualities. One example is the need for quick adaption of installations and processes when production volume is changing. Actual approaches aim upon the development of machines and processes which are able to manufacture different products of one family with low effort for setting up. Progress in drive train technology and control systems allow, to build machines for a multitude of processes, which give the manufacturer a flexible tool at hand. One major focus in this area lies on servo presses. Great achievements have been obtained at the PtU by applying linear induction motors and a 3D ram movement in press technology. Further development and evaluation of this drive train technology is carried out in several projects which use commercialised servo presses and test stands for the implementation of new machine concepts.

Recently the performance of forming machines has risen considerably due to the use of new drive train technologies. Simultaneously the standards of quality and tool durability have increased. High stroke rates and large forces in forming presses make an observation of the dynamic behaviour of the machines and its components indispensable.

For comparison of competitors on basis of standardised qualitative attributes the benchmarking method is an appropriate approach. The aim is at first a comparison of individual partners in consideration of the chosen attributes, to evaluate an optimised process by rating all collected data.

Products manufactured by forming are usually the result of a value chain consisting of a multitude of individual processes. Each individual process leads to a change of characters, like hardening, thinning etc., which are relevant for downstream processes. The understanding of the interactions and the conduction of need for optimization are important steps to develop improved and new process chains. The viability of hydroforming, which is a well established production technology for industrial mass production, is very dependant on upstream and downstream processes, such as the manufacture of the semifinished products. The extension and optimisation of the process chain hydroforming is examined in the sub-processes using simulation, small-scale tests and prototyping. Another focus lies on the investigation of roll forming operations and its combination with other processes, such as joining, cutting and linear flow splitting.