Shot Peen Forming

The Metal Improvement Company’s shot peen forming service is a dieless process performed at room temperature, whereby small round steel shot impact the surface of the work piece. Every piece of shot acts as a tiny peening hammer, producing elastic stretching of the upper surface and local plastic deformation that manifests itself as a residual compressive stress. The combination of elastic stretching and compressive stress generation causes the material to develop a compound, convex curvature on the peened side.

The shot peen forming process is ideal for forming large panel shapes where the bend radii are reasonably large and without abrupt changes in contour. Shot peen forming is best suited for forming curvatures where radii are within the metal’s elastic range. Although no dies are required for shot peen forming, for severe forming applications, stress peen fixtures are sometimes used. Shot peen forming is effective on all metals, even honeycomb skins and ISO grid panels.

Shot peen forming is often more effective in developing curvatures than rolling, stretching or twisting of metal. Saddle-back shapes also are achievable. Because it is a dieless process, shot peen forming reduces material allowance from trimming and eliminates costly development and manufacturing time to fabricate hard dies. The shot peen forming process also is flexible to design changes, which may occur after initial design. Metal Improvement Company can make curvature changes by adjusting the shot peen forming process.

Parts formed by shot peen forming exhibit increased resistance to flexural bending fatigue. Unlike most other forming methods, all surface stresses generated by shot peen forming are of a compressive nature. Although shot peen formed pieces usually require shot peening on one side only, the result causes both sides to have compressive stress. These compressive stresses serve to inhibit stress corrosion cracking and to improve fatigue resistance. Some work pieces should be shot peened all over prior to or after shot peen forming to further improve fatigue and stress corrosion cracking resistance.

Shot peening of parts that have been cold formed by other processes overcomes the harmful surface tensile stresses set up by these other forming processes.