Sheet Metal Forming Facility

The Sheet Metal Forming facility at IFM has a range of specialised equipment for the fabrication, testing and analysis of sheet metals.
IFM logo

Our services

Roll Forming

Custom laboratory roll former

This is specifically designed to investigate the effect of process and material parameters on part quality and final shape in the roll forming of AHSS and UHSS. A major focus is on the development of techniques for process monitoring and in-line process control of industrial roll forming processes.


  • Station distance variable
  • All bottom shafts driven independently
  • Measurement of roll force and torque possible in each forming station
  • Controlled variation of rolling speed possible in between stations
  • Special roll stand designs for shape compensation
  • Available for downhill forming without changing the normal tooling
  • Touch screen and electrical power display

Industrial roll former

Donated by Backwell IXL Pty Ltd (Australia) in 2011, it's since been fitted with an extensive set of tooling for the roll forming of simple profile shapes. It's used to investigate the behaviour and forming limits of new high-performance sheet materials in roll forming, and to produce longitudinal parts for crash analysis.


  • Station distance fixed and all shafts driven
  • Tooling allows the variation of the forming method (constant length vs. constant radius forming) and the forming of various profile radii and shapes

Mini roll former

Specially designed for the high precision forming of longitudinal sections and the heat assisted roll forming of hard to form metals. Currently used for the heat assisted roll forming of magnesium sheet to structural sections.


  • Station distance is variable and all shafts are driven (speed is variable)
  • Special Tooling allows the variation of the forming method (constant length vs. constant radius forming) and the forming of various profile radii and shapes
  • Induction heating unit allows roll forming under heat assistance
  • The equipment is portable

Materials Characterisation

Sheet formability testing facility

The Erichsen sheet metal tester is fitted with an AutoGrid Vario strain measurement system. This allows the investigation of the material behaviour and forming limits of sheet metals in sheet forming processes, such as deep drawing and stretch forming. It's heavily used in the investigation of the forming limits of AHSS and UHSS, and of newly developed sheet metal alloys.


  • 200kN max blankholder force, 400kN max punch force.
  • Standard test methods: Swift cup test ø50mm (heated and unheated), square cup test, Erichsen cupping test No.5, 27, 40, FLC - Test ø50 (heated and Unheated), 60, 100mm)
  • Special test methods: channel drawing test (heated and unheated)

Mechanical testing facilities

The Mechanical testing facilities include two 30kN and one 100kN Instron tensile testers, all fitted with optical extensometers. These are used by the group to develop material input data for Finite Element Analysis (FEA).


  • Standard test methods: tensile and compression tests (heated and unheated)
  • Special test methods: three- and four-point bend test, V-bend test, pure bending test

Pure bend test - 1st generation

This test was specifically designed at Deakin University for the characterisation of roll forming materials, and to determine material parameters that are important in the roll forming process design. In combination with inverse analysis, this produces tensile material input for FEA. Further applications include the analysis of the Bauschinger effect and the development of kinematic hardening models. 


  • Reinforced bending arms to allow the testing of steel strip up to a thickness of 6mm and a maximum yield strength of 1200MPa
  • Special curvature gauge for the measurement of the bend radius
  • Bending - reverse bending possible

Bench tester

The simple, compact design of the bench tester, as well as the simple test sample shape (rectangular strips), enables its use in an industrial environment on a day-by-day basis. It also affords the very rapid collection of material parameters relevant to the roll forming process. It's used heavily in industrial studies for troubleshooting and material analysis.


  • Limited to a material thickness of 0.4-2mm
  • Currently operated manually
  • Automated data storage and test data evaluation

GOM Aramis 

The GOM Aramis is a non-contact and material independent strain measuring system. It can be used to measure the strain of any deformation process in which the surface is visible. This enables the investigation of localised deformation and post-uniform strain.


  • Random spry pattern can be used for deformation measurement
  • 3D surface coordinates, 3D displacements and velocities
  • Surface strain values (major and minor strain, thickness reduction)
  • Strain rates
  • Post uniform strain

Sheet Metal Stamping

Stamping wear test facility

The stamping wear test facility accurately replicates industrial sheet metal stamping processes in a controlled laboratory environment. This unique semi-industrial equipment – which has only one other equivalent in the world – can provide accurate wear behaviour and tool life performance for a virtually limitless number of combinations of sheet metal, tool material, surface treatment, coatings and lubricants. In combination with numerical analysis, the wear data can also be used to inform and develop wear models and predictions tools.


  • Single-action mechanical press, 33 strokes per minute, 125T max. tonnage
  • Automatic sheet/coil feeding system, automatic sheet lubrication system
  • Adjustable blank holder force via gas springs (max. 40kN)
  • Removable die corner inserts and a variable height punch allowing a variety of channel-shaped components to be stamped
  • Sheet materials: 1mm to 2.2mm thickness, mild-steel to ultra-high-strength steel, aluminium

The AutoGrid® Compact system

The AutoGrid® Compact systems allows fast, accurate and portable investigation of stamped components in the laboratory and in the press shop. This hand-held system can be used to measure surface strain and geometry of formed components, providing a valuable tool for diagnosing formability and spring-back issues, assuring component quality, and for the correlation of numerical stamping simulations.


  • Four high-resolution CCD cameras, 5.7 million pixels per snapshot
  • Use of 2mm square grid (can be etched, painted, etc.)
  • Analysis of up to 0.5 x 0.4m area per shot with fast stitching for analysis of larger whole components

3D laser scanner EXAscan

The EXAscan laser scanner allows the scanning and measurement of formed components in a laboratory environment and at the shop floor. The system is majorly used for the measurement of roll formed components to investigate shape and forming defects.


  • Geomagic Qualify software for the easy evaluation of the scanned model and the comparison with CAD model data.
  • Up to 40µm accuracy
  • 25,000 measures per second

Finite Element Analysis

Computer Aided Design (CAD) Laboratory

Our Advanced CAD lab is a dedicated computer lab for engineering analysis and computer aided drawing applications. It combines CAD and CAE software packages to solve complex material and mechanical problems. Deakin staff and students (and their visitors) can book the high-end machines for up to two weeks for use on their analyses. 

Occasionally technical tutorials of the latest advanced in software of various codes are run. Contact the computational modelling research leader for more details.

For very large computational problems, we also have allocated time on VPAC supercomputing facilities and have access to Computational Software Development expertise at VPAC.

Software includes

  • Abaqus
  • Ansys
  • AutoForm
  • Digimat
  • Copra
  • Fluent, Gambit
  • Forge
  • HEEDS - optimisation
  • Hyperworks
  • LSDyna
  • Matlab
  • MSC-Marc
  • SFE Concept
  • Solidworks
  • Thermocalc

The Sheet Metal Forming facility also makes use of equipment and personnel at the Advanced Characterisation Facility

Contact us

Senior Research Fellow
Dr Matthias Weiss
+61 3 5227 3368
Email Dr Weiss