In this study, an intelligent tool system for flexible L-bending of sheet metals is developed. The punch and die are adaptively actuated by hydraulic cylinders incorporated in the punch and die, respectively. An adaptive structure with high stiffness and motion accuracy is designed and compared with a formerly developed one. The tool system can basically change the profile of the tools and pressure distribution along the workpiece during the L-bending process. The system is characterized by its capability to bend the workpiece to various bending radii and bend angles for different materials without tool change. Process control paths for obtaining desired bend radii and angles are determined off-line by a numerical simulation using the elasto-plastic model. The paths are stacked into a simulation database and used for real-time control of the L-bending process. The measured data from the sensors are input into a computer for controlling the actuators and learning the control model by comparing it with the simulated data. Several experiments have been carried out for obtaining various bend radii using two kinds of materials, SPC and aluminum alloy. The experimental results corresponded not only to various bending radii but also different materials. In addition, higher accuracy of the process control has been achieved by improving the structure of the tool system and learning the process control model. These results prove the validity and reliability of the proposed intelligent tool system.

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