Process Parameter Effects on Biocompatible Thermoplastic Sheets Produced by Incremental Forming

There has been increasing interest in the processes that enable part customization and small-batch production in recent years. The prosthetic sector, in which biocompatible materials are used, is one of the areas that requires these types of processes; Incremental Sheet Forming (ISF) technology can meet these requirements. However, the biocompatible thermoplastic polymers formed by this technology have not yet been tested. Hence, the aim of this paper is to cover this gap in our knowledge by analyzing the effects of process parameters on the ISF process with the aim of optimizing these parameters before the actual production of, in this case, customized prostheses. Tests with polycaprolactone (PCL) and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) were performed. Maximum force, surface roughness and maximum depth were statistically analyzed by means of response surface methodology and survival analysis. Spindle speed and tool diameter were shown to be the most influential process parameters in terms of maximum forming force and surface roughness for both materials. In contrast, survival analysis applied to maximum depth showed a greater influence of tool diameter in PCL sheets and a greater influence of spindle speed in the case of UHMWPE ​
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