Conference History

  
  

The multiple facets of modern sheet metal manufacturing techniques are applied throughout a wide spectrum of economy, ranging from the automotive industry and machine manufacturing to electrical engineering and electronics. This wide range of applications means that sheet metal manufacturers produce parts from a few grams up to 1,000 kg and more, from electrotechnical parts up to components in automotive industry, as well as batch sizes ranging from just at a few pieces to mass production. Worldwide, around 12,300 companies employing 600,000 workers produce sheet metal goods worth over 732 billion US dollars (all numbers reflect the situation in 1999). These are impressive numbers for sheet metal manufacturing, to which forming processes are central, but also for cutting and joining technologies with their increasing importance. All of these processes have developed dynamically in the recent past, and this trend will no doubt continue. The automotive industry is the main impetus worldwide for new developments as is seen in its efforts to optimise lightweight constructions. Basic research at universities has been instrumental in promoting new developments through a better understanding of materials and processes. As we are standing at the very beginning of a new millennium, a new achievement profile for the sheet metal industry is emerging which will foster a fast and economical product development process.

One such interdisciplinary arena is promoting the close cooperation betwen material scientists, technologists, manufacturing engineers and computer scientists in academia and industry. This cooperation is supported by the SheMet conference Series, which was founded in Birmingham, England, in 1993, and since has been hosted in yearly rotation by the University of Central England in Birmingham, the University of Ulster at Jordanstown, Northern Ireland, the University of Twente in the Netherlands, the Institute of Manufacturing Technology of the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany.

  

By now the conference has moved to a biennal schedule, furthermore the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium and the University of Palermo, Italy have joined the group of organizers whereas the University of Twente has momentarily stopped hosting the conference.

The aim of the conference is to provide a forum for researchers form university and industry representatives to exchange and discuss new developments in sheet metal processing.

Meanwhile due to changes in the academic structures of Great Britain the British host is named Birmingham City University. This is not a change in organisers or participating institutions, but a change in names alone.

By now the Birmingham City University has stopped hosting the conference for the time being. This is due to a shift in research focii at the University.

The aim of the conference is not changed. The success in pursueing it even in difficult times documented by a still high number of both qualified papers and participants in the conference.