Ala Qattawi

Ala Qattawi

University of California, Merced

Title: The potential of origami-based sheet metal folding for vehicle design


Ala Qattawi is an assistant professor at University of California, Merced. She earned her PhD in Automotive Engineering from Clemson University, International Center for Automotive Research in 2012 and became the first female to earn this degree in USA. Her research area is in the innovative design and manufacturing processes, such as Origami-based metal forming and knowledge-based manufacturing. She has over 25 journal publications and did research on the topological analysis of Origami-based sheet metal products with application to complex products such as automotive body in white parts. She also has an experience in sustainability design for automotive structures.


The proposed concept in this paper is Origami-based Sheet Metal forming technique, abbreviated as (OSM), where the final sheet metal product is shaped by a sequence of folding operations instead of the traditional stamping manufacturing process. OSM is an innovative procedure that can form the final 3-dimensional geometry with minimal components by consolidation of parts; the process can be used to fold a 3-dimensional part with multiple faces from a single 2-dimensional sheet metal. The key element in OSM is the creation of Material Discontinuities (MD) along the bend line, which facilitate accurate bending of sheet metal grades. The MD are entities shaped over the bend line by either laser cutting or stamping and they enable folding sheet metal even for thick grades of up to 1 inch without the need of bending dies. The major sector benefiting from this innovation in fabrication procedure will be the transportation. The OSM has a potential to be a promising fabrication process for the vehicle Body-in White (BiW) design and manufacturing that can overcome current stamping practice. Examples of BiW components that can be fabricated by OSM are chassis, firewall, floor, dashboard skeleton, and shock tower. The establishment of this innovative process has great influence on the manufacturing method of sheet metal. It can change the product design and the overall production line requirements. This paper will discuss the anticipated advantages of utilizing OSM for vehicle components in terms of process design improvement and energy and cost allocations.

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