Metal process

Process and control today | How the Japanese art of paper folding can benefit the manufacturing industry

Origami is a Japanese art form that involves folding uncut sheets of paper into decorative 3D objects such as flowers or animals. But why stop at paper? Attempts to manufacture products from a single sheet of metal by bending followed by cutting have been made since the late 1950s. However, these early experiments raised issues of stress development, which is why the ancient practice of origami came to aid the manufacturing industry. In this article, Neil Ballinger, EMEA Manager at global automation parts supplier EU Automation, discusses the benefits of industrial origami in the manufacturing industry.

Many may consider origami a hobby, but the practice is increasingly embraced by businesses and researchers in various fields, from medicine to the military. Professional associations such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Mathematical Society embrace the practice, even including the topic in annual conferences.

Applying the principles of origami to the manufacturing process has many advantages, such as the ability to create compact designs and the ability to save on materials and labor. These benefits could completely change manufacturing processes. Stilride is a company that hopes to benefit from the art form of origami with its creation of STILFOLD – a unique and sustainable manufacturing process for developing electro-mobility products from a single sheet of steel.

Simplify manufacturing

Origami traditionally uses uncut sheets of paper, which means little or no waste material is produced. This would also apply when using materials such as sheet steel. The folding technique facilitates the creation of compact designs, which manufacturers can customize according to their purpose and reduce shipping costs due to the small size of the product. The method also reduces the need for other manufacturing processes such as measuring, cutting and welding.

Industrial Origami, Inc., a design engineering company specializing in low-force sheet metal bending, launched in 2002, helps manufacturers benefit from reduced material waste and reduced labor. The company’s technology is said to make production easier, cheaper and faster. It even has an impressive list of clients to back up its claims, including global manufacturers such as Bentley Motors and Whirlpool.

Industrial Origami, Inc.’s folding and construction method can save manufacturers 20-50% on materials and 25-45% on labor costs, for cost savings totals up to 70%.

Aware of the environment

Material waste and process reduction also result in environmental benefits. Stilride’s scooter design is said to have a 50% lower climate impact than traditional scooters. This low environmental footprint is due to a combination of reduced material waste and more environmentally friendly shipping and production methods. Eliminating techniques like welding also saves energy.

“In addition to reducing manufacturing costs, we deliver significant environmental benefits by reducing material usage, rework and eliminating ‘air’ waste,” said V. Gerry Corrigan, President and Chief Operating Officer. management of Industrial Origami, Inc.

With some materials becoming hard to find, reducing material waste could be very beneficial to the manufacturing industry, reducing their supply needs and material costs. Companies such as Stilride and Industrial Origami, Inc. are paving the way for makers to embrace a new process by not only being early adopters themselves, but also providing software to create folding instructions. for their customers. Soon, manufacturers could see their factories filled with robots automatically bending sheet metal into desired designs.

To stay up to date on the latest developments in manufacturing, visit EU Automation Knowledge Center.

Ask the supplier for information about the products in this article for FREE

Login or Register

Process and Control Today is not responsible for the content of articles and images submitted or produced externally. Click here to email us regarding any errors or omissions in this article.