It’s being called ‘industrial origami’, and it’s a new technology for folding high-strength duplex stainless steel that could have a dramatic impact on the way vehicles are produced
Localised heating using lasers enables Swedish firm Stilride to fold stainless steel sheet origami style
The stainless steel sheet is made by cold rolling, a process similar to rolling out a thin sheet of pastry but on an industrial scale. The cold-rolling work hardens the material, and that is what makes it difficult to bend. Using lasers to heat the steel along the intended fold line with the extreme precision a laser can give makes it possible to fold the steel more easily into three-dimensional shapes.
Another important advantage of making structures out of stainless steel is that it doesn’t rust, so it doesn’t necessarily need painting and yet it still looks good. Avoiding painting (as Stilride does) reduces materials, production cost and, potentially, weight (depending on the size of the vehicle). There are design advantages, too. Beijer said the folding process “creates a really defined design DNA” with “beautiful surface meetings between concave and convex surfaces”. Stainless steel is flexible and fully recyclable and the structure is simple. The designer points out that the downside of today’s scooters is that they have a tubular steel frame covered with a plastic body that involves many parts and is complex to make.
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