This study examines the possibility of applying lasers for the formation of laser-affected bands in hardenable steel sheets, with a specific focus on how the formation of these hardened bands can improve the accuracy of the single point incremental forming process (SPIF). For this purpose, the process parameters for the hardening process have been chosen using finite-element (FE) modeling. The results of the modeling have been validated by temperature field measurements obtained from IR camera observations. The microstructural analysis of the laser-affected zones has been performed using optical microscopy (OM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). These investigations confirm a phase transformation to a martensitic structure during laser scanning, and microhardness (HV0·1) results show a hardness increase by a factor of about three in the laser-affected region in comparison to that of the base metal (BM). Finally, using a laser assisted single point incremental forming (LASPIF) setup, hardened bands have been generated for preprocessing and intermediate processing during the different phases of a SPIF procedure. Geometric accuracy studies show that appropriate use of hard martensitic bands can increase the process accuracy through significantly reduction of an unwanted sheet deformation, and has the potential to eliminate the need for a backing plate.

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