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Title:
APPARATUS AND TOOL FOR BENDING CONTOURED METAL SHEETING ABOUT A FOLD LINE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/058183
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method of bending a contoured metal sheet about a selected fold line. The contoured metal sheet has a longitudinal axis extending along the length of the sheet, and a contoured profile that extends perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the sheet. The method comprises: engaging a first sheet section of the contoured metal sheet with a forming member which comprises a forming surface having a contour shaped with a substantially symmetrical mirror profile to the contoured profile of the first sheet section. The engagement of the forming member with the first sheet section bends the first sheet section of the metal sheet about a fold line relative to a second sheet section of the metal sheet to position the first sheet section at a selected angle relative to the second sheet section about the fold line, and also transforms the contoured profile of the first sheet section into a new contoured profile comprising a symmetrical mirror of the contoured profile of the second sheet section about the fold line.

Inventors:
DUNCAN, John (284 Glenmore Road, Coatesville, Albany 0793, 0793, NZ)
DINGLE, Matthew, Edward (50 Riverside Drive, Torquay, Victoria 3228, 3228, AU)
WEISS, Matthias (40 Highmont Drive, Belmont, Victoria 3216, 3216, AU)
GEORGE, Ross, John (130 Georges Road, Barrabool, Victoria 3221, 3221, AU)
MAYSON, Dylan (10 Tamarillo Street, Armstrong Creek, Victoria 3217, 3217, AU)
Application Number:
AU2017/051055
Publication Date:
April 05, 2018
Filing Date:
September 27, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
FORMFLOW PTY LTD (78-80 Douro Street, North Geelong, Victoria 3215, 3215, AU)
International Classes:
B21D11/20; B21D7/03; B21D13/02; E04C2/08; E04C2/32; E04D3/30
Foreign References:
GB191210303A1913-06-02
US0669148A1901-03-05
US4250728A1981-02-17
US4100787A1978-07-18
US3938244A1976-02-17
US5337592A1994-08-16
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PHILLIP ORMONDE FITZPATRICK (Level 16, 333 Collins StreetMelbourne, Victoria 3000, 3000, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . A method of bending a contoured metal sheet about a selected fold line, the contoured metal sheet having a longitudinal axis extending along the length of the sheet, the sheet having a contoured profile that extends perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the sheet, the method comprising:

engaging a first sheet section of the contoured metal sheet with a forming member which comprises a forming surface having a contour shaped with a substantially symmetrical mirror profile to the contoured profile of the first sheet section;

wherein said engagement of the forming member with the first sheet section bends the first sheet section of the metal sheet about a fold line relative to a second sheet section of the metal sheet to position the first sheet section at a selected angle relative to the second sheet section about the fold line, and also transforms the contoured profile of the first sheet section into a new contoured profile comprising a symmetrical mirror of the contoured profile of the second sheet section about the fold line.

2. A method according to claim 1 , wherein the engaging step forms a sharp angle bend between the first sheet section and the second sheet section about that fold line.

3. A method according to claim 2, wherein the sharp angle bend at the fold line has a bend radius of less than 5 mm, preferably less than 3 mm.

4. A method according to any preceding claim, wherein the selected angle between the first sheet section and second sheet section is between 5 and 175° preferably between 10 and 150° and more preferably between 60 and 120°

5. A method according to any preceding claim, further including:

securing the second sheet section on a securing member configured to secure the second sheet section of the contoured metal sheet in position relative to the fold line prior to the engaging step.

6. A method according to claim 5, wherein the securing member comprises a seating surface having a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the contoured profile of the second sheet section.

7. A method according to claim 5 or 6, wherein the step of securing the second sheet on the securing member comprises fastening, preferably clamping the second sheet section in position on the securing member.

8. A method according to any one of claims 5 to 7, further including a clamping member having a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the seating surface of the securing member which is configured to cooperate with the securing member during the securing step to engage and clamp the second sheet section therebetween.

9. A method according to any preceding claim, further including a backing member having a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the forming surface of the forming member which is configured to cooperate with the forming member to engage and compress the first sheet section therebetween.

10. A method according to claim 9, wherein the backing member is positioned at the selected angle relative to the securing member about the fold line.

1 1 . A method according to claim 9 or 10, wherein the forming member and backing member are spaced apart, in use, so that the first sheet section can:

be engaged and deformed therebetween; and

allow relative lateral movement, preferably sliding movement, between at least the forming member and the first sheet section.

12. A method according to any preceding claim, further including the step of:

actuating movement between the forming member and the first sheet section to form the requisite bend between the first sheet section and second sheet section and the new contoured profile thereof.

13. A method according to claim 12, wherein the forming member is moved over the first sheet section.

14. A method according to any preceding claim, wherein the fold line is orientated 90 degrees to the longitudinal axis of the metal sheet.

15. A method according to any preceding claim, wherein the contoured metal sheet is also bent about at least one further fold line.

16. A method according to claim 15, wherein a third sheet section of the metal sheet which is connected to the first sheet section about a further fold line, and the method further comprises:

engaging the third section with a seating member which cooperates with the forming member to bend and thereby position the third sheet section at a selected angle relative to the first sheet section about the further fold line.

17. A method according to any preceding claim, wherein the metal sheet comprises a corrugated metal sheet

18. A method according to any preceding claim, wherein the metal sheet has a thickness of 0.1 to 3 mm, preferably 0.2 to 2 mm.

19. An arrangement for bending a contoured metal sheet about a selected fold line, the contoured metal sheet having a longitudinal axis extending along the length of the sheet, the metal sheet having a contoured profile that extends perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the sheet, the metal sheet having at least a first sheet section and a second sheet section connected about a selected fold line, the arrangement comprising:

a securing section including a seating surface configured to secure the second sheet section thereon;

a forming section including a forming member having a forming surface orientated at a selected angle to the seating surface, the forming surface being shaped with a contour comprising a substantially symmetrical mirror profile to the contoured profile of the second sheet section, wherein the forming member is configured to:

engage the first sheet section to bend the first sheet section about the fold line and thereby position the first sheet section at the selected angle relative to the second sheet section about the fold line; and

transform the contoured profile of the first sheet section into a new contoured profile comprising a symmetrical mirror of the contoured profile of the second sheet section about the fold line.

20. An arrangement according to claim 19, wherein the selected angle between the seating surface and forming surface is between 5 and 175° preferably between 10 and 150° and more preferably between 60 and 120 °.

21 . An arrangement according to claim 19 or 20, wherein the second sheet section is fastened, preferably clamped, in position on the securing member.

22. An arrangement according to any one of claims 19 to 21 , wherein the securing section further includes a clamping member having a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the seating surface of the securing member which is configured to cooperate with the seating surface to engage and clamp the second sheet section therebetween.

23. An arrangement according to any one of claims 19 to 21 , wherein the forming section further includes a backing member having a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the forming surface which is configured to cooperate with the forming surface to engage and compress the first sheet section therebetween.

24. An arrangement according to claim 23, wherein the backing member is positioned at the selected angle relative to the seating surface about the fold line.

25. An arrangement according to claim 23 or 24, wherein the forming surface and cooperating profiled surface of the backing member are spaced apart, in use, so that the first sheet section can:

be engaged and deformed therebetween; and allow relative lateral movement, preferably sliding movement, between first sheet section and at least the forming member.

26. An arrangement according to any one of claims 19 to 21 , wherein the backing member comprises a block configured with the desired angle between the first sheet section and second sheet sections the contoured metal sheet.

27. An arrangement according to any one of claims 19 to 26, wherein the forming member is configured to allow movement between the forming member and the first sheet section.

28. An arrangement according to claim 27, wherein the forming member is configured to be moved over the first sheet section.

29. An arrangement according to any one of claims 19 to 26, wherein the forming member further includes a pressing surface extending at an angle to the forming surface and configured with a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the metal sheet, the forming surface and pressing surface meeting at a bending edge about which the contoured profile of the forming surface and the contoured profile pressing surface form symmetrical mirror profiles.

30. An arrangement according to any one of claims 19 to 29, further comprising at least two forming sections, each forming sections being spaced apart about the securing section.

31 . An arrangement according to any one of claims 19 to 30, wherein the metal sheet includes a third sheet section which is connected to the first sheet section about a further fold line, and the arrangement further includes:

a seating member which includes an engagement surface located at a desired angle to the forming surface, the forming member further including a pressing surface, wherein in use, the seating member cooperates with the forming member to engage a third sheet section of the metal sheet between the pressing surface and engagement surface to bend the third sheet section of the metal sheet at a desired angle relative to the first sheet section about the further fold line.

32. A contoured metal sheet element comprising:

a first sheet section of contoured metal sheet having a first longitudinal axis extending along the length of the sheet, the first sheet section having a contoured profile that extends perpendicular to the first longitudinal axis of this first sheet section;

a second sheet section of contoured metal sheet having a second longitudinal axis extending along the length of the sheet, the second sheet section having a contoured profile that extends perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of this second sheet section; and

a fold line about which the first sheet section and second sheet section are connected, the first sheet section extending from the fold line at a selected angle relative to the second sheet section,

wherein the contour of the first sheet section has a symmetrical mirror contoured profile to the second sheet section about the fold line.

33. A contoured metal sheet according to claim 32, comprising a sharp angle bend between the first sheet section and the second sheet section about that fold line.

34. A contoured metal sheet according to claim 33, wherein the sharp angle bend at the fold line has a bend radius of less than 5 mm, preferably less than 3 mm.

35. A contoured metal sheet according to claim 32, 33 or 34, wherein the selected angle between the first sheet section and second sheet section is between 5 and 175° preferably between 10 and 150° and more pref erably between 60 and 120°.

36. A contoured metal sheet according to any one of claims 32 to 35, wherein the fold line is orientated 90 degrees to the longitudinal axis of the metal sheet.

37. A contoured metal sheet according to any one of claims 32 to 36, wherein the contoured profile of the metal sheet comprises a repeating cross-sectional shape that comprises repeating peaks and troughs.

38. A contoured metal sheet according to claim 37, wherein the repeating peaks and troughs form a curved wave form.

39. A contoured metal sheet according to any one of claims 32 to 38, wherein the metal sheet comprises a corrugated metal sheet.

40. A contoured metal sheet according to any one of claims 32 to 39, wherein the metal sheet comprises at least one of a metal, metal alloy, or metal composite, preferably comprising at least one of an iron, steel, aluminium or copper metal sheet.

41 . A contoured metal sheet according to any one of claims 32 to 40, wherein the metal sheet has a thickness of 0.1 to 3 mm, preferably 0.2 to 2 mm.

42. A contoured metal sheet according to any one of claims 32 to 41 , further comprising:

at least one third sheet section of contoured metal sheet having a third longitudinal axis extending along the length of the sheet, the third sheet section having a contoured profile that extends perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of this third sheet section;

a further fold line about which the first sheet section and third sheet section are connected, the third sheet section extending from the further fold line at a desired angle relative to the first sheet section,

wherein the contour of the third sheet section has a symmetrical mirror contoured profile to the first sheet section about the further fold line.

43. A contoured metal sheet according to any one of claims 32 to 41 , further comprising:

at least one third sheet section of contoured metal sheet having a third longitudinal axis extending along the length of the sheet, the third sheet section having a contoured profile that extends perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of this third sheet section;

a further fold line about which the second sheet section and third sheet section are connected, the third sheet section extending from the further fold line at a desired angle relative to the second sheet section,

wherein the contour of the third sheet section has a symmetrical mirror contoured profile to the second sheet section about the further fold line.

44. A contoured metal sheet according to any one of claims 32 to 43 formed from a method according to any one of claims 1 to 18.

Description:
APPARATUS AND TOOL FOR BENDING

CONTOURED METAL SHEETING ABOUT A FOLD LINE

PRIORITY CROSS-REFERENCE

[001 ] The present application claims priority from Australian Provisional Patent Application No. 2016903973 filed 29 September 2016 and Australian Provisional Patent Application No. 2017902428 filed 23 June 201 7 the contents of each are to be considered to be incorporated into this specification by these references.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[001 ] The present invention generally relates to an apparatus and tool for bending contoured metal sheeting about a fold line and the resulting contoured metal sheet element. The invention is particularly applicable to producing sharp angle bends in contoured metal sheeting, such as corrugated metal sheet, about a fold line that is suitable for corners and other angled sheet junction locations and it will be convenient to hereinafter disclose the invention in relation to that exemplary application. However, it is to be appreciated that the invention is not limited to that application and could be used to form various angled bends in contoured sheet material.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[002]The following discussion of the background to the invention is intended to facilitate an understanding of the invention. However, it should be appreciated that the discussion is not an acknowledgement or admission that any of the material referred to was published, known or part of the common general knowledge as at the priority date of the application.

[003] Many common structures such as houses, sheds, factories or retaining structures are clad with metal sheets that incorporate a contoured profile to provide aesthetic appeal, stiffness and strength to the structure. One particular example is corrugated steel sheeting used for the walls and roof on housing. A gap is typically left between the ends of the sheet at sharp corners in a structure where two sheets meet, for example at a corner formed between two walls or at the peak of a roof, which is covered later by a separate piece of planar (non-contoured) sheet metal which overlaps the end of the adjoining sheets and covers the gap. [004] A cover or capping piece is necessary because the contoured profile running along the length of the sheets make the sheets difficult bend and fold other than along a fold line that runs parallel to that the longitudinal axis of the contoured profile. It is therefore difficult to bend the sheets to form abrupt angles about a fold line that runs at any non-zero angle (for example 90°) to the long itudinal axis of the contoured profile between the sheets without kinking or damaging the sheet. The cover or capping piece is typically formed from a flat sheet material and sits on top of the profiled sheets thereby leaving a gap between the profile sheet and the capping piece. In many cases this needs to be sealed to prevent wind/air, dirt or animals from migrating under the capping and into the structure.

[005] Prior attempts have been made to directly fold a corrugated type contoured sheet along a fold line that runs at a 90° angle to the longitudinal axis of the contoured profile, for example as shown in Figure 2. Such techniques required the contoured profile of the corrugated sheet to be bent and distorted at the fold line in order to form the required angle between the respective sides of the sheet. Direct folding techniques therefore deform and distort the sheet and any coating on the sheet, potentially forming defects and other weaknesses at and along that fold line.

[006] It would therefore be desirable to provide an alternate way of producing sharp angled bends in contoured metal sheeting, for example a corrugated metal sheet.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[007] A first aspect of the present invention provides a method of bending a contoured metal sheet about a selected fold line. The contoured metal sheet has a longitudinal axis extending along the length of the sheet, the sheet having a contoured profile that extends perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the sheet. The method comprises engaging a first sheet section of the contoured metal sheet with a forming member which comprises a forming surface having a contour shaped with a substantially symmetrical mirror profile to the contoured profile of the first sheet section. The engagement of the forming member with the first sheet section bends the first sheet section of the metal sheet about a fold line relative to a second sheet section of the metal sheet to position the first sheet section at a selected angle relative to the second sheet section about the fold line, and also transforms the contoured profile of the first sheet section into a new contoured profile comprising a symmetrical mirror of the contoured profile of the second sheet section about the fold line.

[008] The invention enables a sharp bend to be made in a metal sheet with contoured profile running at the selected angle to the bend about the fold line. The bending process also transforms the contoured profile of the metal sheet across the fold line into the symmetrical mirror image of that profile. This allows the contours to run continuously on both sheet sections of the bent sheet and merge about the fold line making a neat join at the intersection of two sheets. The resulting structure provides an alternate corner solution that is stiffer and stronger than a conventional metal sheet bent across and through the contours of the metal sheet.

[009] Advantageously, the produced bend can be used on corners and other angled sheet junctions replacing the need to use a cover or capping piece at those junctions. The resulting angled sheet junction has no gaps, thereby eliminating the ingress of wind/air, dirt or animals. The resulting bent sheet also arguably has greater aesthetic appeal than previous sharp angle bend/ corner configurations used for junctions of contoured metal sheets. As described below, a capping piece can also be produced by cutting the folded sheet and this will have similar advantages.

[010] It is to be understood the contoured sheet encompasses any sheet having a contoured profile that extends perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the sheet. Any number of contoured profiles could extend along the longitudinal axis of the sheet, including regular and irregular profiles and shapes, repeating and non-repeating profile shapes. In preferred embodiments, the contoured metal sheet encompasses any metal sheet having a contoured profile having a repeating cross-sectional shape that extends perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the sheet. A large variety of repeating cross-sectional shapes are possible, such as curved, rectangular, triangular, square or the like. In a number of embodiments, the repeating cross- sectional shape comprises repeating peaks and troughs. The width of the peaks and troughs along a lateral centreline (spanning the cross-section) can be equal in the repeating pattern, or in other embodiments the width of the peaks and troughs along a lateral centreline can be different, resulting in the width of the peak being greater than or less than the width of the trough. In some embodiments, the repeating peaks and troughs form are curved, preferably forming a curved wave form. However, it should be appreciated that the peaks and troughs can comprise any number of different shapes. In exemplary embodiments, the metal sheet comprises a corrugated metal sheet.

[01 1 ] It should also be appreciated that metal sheet encompasses a wide variety of metal, metal alloys, and metal composites, including composite sheets fabricated from various layers of metals and non-metals, such as metal-polymer and/or metal- polymer-metal composites.

[012] Engagement of the forming member with the first sheet section acts to both bend the metal sheet through the selected angle and reforms/ transforms the contoured profile of the first sheet section into the new contoured profile. During the bending part of this process, the engaging step preferably forms a sharp angle bend between the first sheet section and the second sheet section about that fold line. That sharp angle bend at the fold line can have any suitable bend radius. However, it is preferable that the bend radius is small enough to provide sharp change in angle at the fold line. In embodiments, in typical thin sheet (for example 0.5 to 1 mm thick), the sharp angle bend has a bend radius of less than 5 mm, preferably less than 3 mm, more preferably about 2 mm. However the limits of the bend radius will depend on both the material properties and on the thickness of the sheet. Moreover, the sharp angle bend is preferably configured as a transverse bend.

[013] The first sheet section can be bent about the fold line at a variety of angles relative to the second sheet section. In embodiments, the selected angle is between 5 and 175° preferably between 10 and 150° more pr eferably between 50 and 140° and yet more preferably between 60 and 120°. In so me embodiments, the selected angle is between 70 and 140°. In particular embodi ments the selected angle is between 50 and 140° preferably between 60 and 120° . In embodiments, the angle is 30°. In other embodiments, the selected angle is 9 0°. [014] The metal sheet is preferably secured in place prior to application of the folding member to the first sheet section of the metal sheet. The method therefore can further include the step of: securing the second sheet section on a securing member configured to secure the second sheet section of the contoured metal sheet in position relative to the fold line prior to the engaging step. The step of securing the second sheet on the securing member preferably comprises fastening, preferably clamping or locking the second sheet section in position on the securing member. The second sheet section is therefore advantageous secured, preferably clamped into position on or to the securing member, thereby allowing the first sheet section to be moved by the forming member about the fold line relative to that secured second section. The securing member preferably comprises a seating surface having a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the contoured profile of the second sheet section. The second sheet section can therefore be tightly secured on the securing member without deforming the contoured profile of that second sheet section. This tight securement is preferably achieved using a further clamping member which has a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the seating surface of the securing member. The clamping member is preferably configured to cooperate with the securing member during the securing step to engage and clamp the second sheet section therebetween.

[015] Similarly, the method can preferably include the use of a backing member having a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the forming surface of the forming member which is configured to cooperate with the forming member to engage and compress the first sheet section therebetween during the engaging step. The backing member therefore cooperates with the forming member to both bend the metal sheet about the fold line and reform/ transform the contoured profile of the first sheet section. It should be appreciated that either of the first sheet section or second sheet sections of the sheet can be clamped in position on the seating surface, such that one sheet section is clamped and the other sheet section be engaged/ slide in the forming member.

[016] The backing member is preferably positioned at the selected angle relative to the securing member about the fold line. The forming member can then be used to engage and bend the first sheet section towards the backing member defining the required angled plane that the first sheet section is designed to be positioned relative to the second sheet section. The forming member and backing member are preferably spaced apart, in use, so that the first sheet section can: be engage and be deformed therebetween; and allow relative lateral movement, preferably sliding movement, between at least the forming member and the first sheet section. Again, this advantageously enables the forming member to move along/ over the first sheet section to achieve the function of bending the metal sheet about the fold line and reforming/ transforming the contoured profile of the first sheet section.

[017] In embodiments, the method further includes the step of: actuating movement between the forming member and the first sheet section to form the requisite bend between the first sheet section and second sheet section and the new contoured profile thereof. The forming member is preferably moved over the first sheet section. However, it should be appreciated that in other embodiments, the first sheet section could be moved relative to the forming member to achieve the same result.

[018] In embodiments, the engaging step may further include engagement of the first sheet section on a bending edge formed between a pressing surface extending at an angle to the forming surface and configured with a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the metal sheet such that the contoured profile of the forming surface and the contoured profile pressing surface form symmetrical mirror profiles. The pressing surface is preferably positioned on the forming member to contact the first section of the metal sheet prior to the forming process. That bending edge also provides a bending radius about which the metal sheet is bent. That bend radius is typically less than 5 mm, preferably less than 3 mm, more preferably about 2 mm. Engagement and traverse of the first sheet section across the bending edge to the forming surface transforms the contoured profile of the first sheet section into a new contoured profile comprising a symmetrical mirror of the contoured profile of the second sheet section about the fold line. At this bend radius, the contours preferably run continuously on both the pressing surface and the forming surface and merge about the further bend radius making a neat join at the intersection between the pressing surface and the forming surface. [019] The fold line between the first sheet section and second sheet section preferably forms a transverse bend, i.e. is orientated 90 degrees to the longitudinal axis of the metal sheet. It should be noted that fold line follows the junction between the first sheet section and second sheet section and therefore follows the contours between those sheets, and therefore can be a curved line where it follows those contours at this junction.

[020] In some embodiments, the contoured metal sheet is also bent about at least one further fold line. In this embodiment, a third sheet section of the metal sheet which is connected to the first sheet section about a further fold line, and the method further comprises: engaging the third section with a seating member which cooperates with the forming member to bend and thereby position the third sheet section at a selected angle relative to the first sheet section about the further fold line. Preferably, the contoured profile of the third sheet section is substantially the same as the second sheet section, thereby resulting in the contoured profile of the third sheet section and the contoured profile first sheet section being symmetrical mirror profiles about the further fold line.

[021 ] The further fold line between the first sheet section and third sheet section preferably forms a transverse bend, i.e. is orientated 90 degrees to the longitudinal axis of the metal sheet. It should be noted that fold line follows the junction between the first sheet section and third sheet section and therefore follows the contours between those sheets, and therefore can be a curved line where it follows those contours at this junction.

[022] The third sheet section is preferably engaged between an engagement surface on the seating member and a pressing surface located on the forming member. Actuation of the forming member towards the engagement surface forms the bend between the first sheet section and third sheet section. The engagement surface preferably has a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the contoured profile of the third sheet section. Similarly, the pressing surface preferably has a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the engagement surface of the seating member. The third sheet section can therefore be pressed between the engagement surface and pressing surface without deforming the contoured profile of that third sheet section.

[023] In other embodiments, the fold line between the first sheet section and second sheet section is 45 degrees. Where the contoured sheet comprises three sheet sections, i.e. a first sheet section and third sheet section interlinked by a second sheet section, an in phase corner bend, can then be formed between the first sheet section and a third sheet section by bending the first sheet section and third sheet section 45 degrees to the intermediary second sheet section, to from a 90 degree angle between the first sheet section and third sheet section. In this embodiment the contoured profile of the third sheet section is substantially the same as the first sheet section, thereby resulting in the contoured profile of the third sheet section and the contoured profile second sheet section being symmetrical mirror profiles about the further fold line. It should however be appreciated that other in-phase angled corners can also be formed where the sum of the angle (angle 1 ) between the first sheet section and the second sheet section and the angle (angle 2) between the second sheet section and the third sheet section adds up to the required angle. For example, angle 1 plus angle 2 could equal any angle between 30 and 150 degrees, for example, 60 degrees, 100 degrees, 12 degrees or the like. Angle 1 and angle 2 may be the same angle or different angles.

[024] In the above embodiment, the first sheet section and third sheet section are preferably engaged between an engagement surface on the seating member and a pressing surface located on the forming member. The second sheet section is preferably clamped in place in a securing section. Actuation of the forming member towards the engagement surface forms the bend between the second sheet section and first sheet section. Similarly, actuation of the forming member towards the engagement surface forms the bend between the second sheet section and third sheet section. The engagement surface preferably has a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the contoured profile of the first sheet section and third sheet section respectively. Similarly, the pressing surface preferably has a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the engagement surface of the seating member. [025] The forming surface and engagement surface are preferably located at a desired angle relative to one another corresponding to the desired angle to be formed between the first sheet section and third sheet section about the further fold line. The desired angle between the engagement surface and forming surface can comprise any suitable angle. In embodiments, the desired angle between the engagement surface and forming surface is between 5 and 175° preferably between 10 and 150° more preferably between 50 and 140° and yet more p referably between 60 and 120°. In some embodiments, the desired angle is between 70 and 140°. In particular embodiments the desired angle is between 50 and 140° preferably between 60 and 120°. In embodiments, the angle is 120°. In other embodiments, the selected angle is 90°.

[026] It should be appreciated that a number of different metal sheets can be used in the method of the present invention. The exact dimensions, including thickness depends on the size of desired product, size of the machinery and the material properties of the sheet. For example, different metals have different plastic deformation properties, which affect the bending and reforming properties of the metal sheet. Nevertheless, in some embodiments the metal sheet may have a thickness of 0.1 to 3 mm, preferably 0.2 to 2 mm. However the limits of the bend radius will depend on both the material properties and on the thickness of the sheet.

[027] A second aspect of the present invention provides an arrangement for bending a contoured metal sheet about a selected fold line, the contoured metal sheet having a longitudinal axis extending along the length of the sheet, the metal sheet having a contoured profile that extends perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the sheet, the metal sheet having at least a first sheet section and a second sheet section connected about a selected fold line, the arrangement comprising:

a securing section including a seating surface configured to secure the second sheet section thereon;

a forming section including a forming member having a forming surface orientated at a selected angle to the seating surface, the forming surface being shaped with a contour comprising a substantially symmetrical mirror profile to the contoured profile of the second sheet section,

wherein the forming member is configured to: engage the first sheet section to bend the first sheet section about the fold line and thereby position the first sheet section at the selected angle relative to the second sheet section about the fold line; and

transform the contoured profile of the first sheet section into a new contoured profile comprising a symmetrical mirror of the contoured profile of the second sheet section about the fold line.

[028] It should be understood that the arrangement of this second aspect of the present invention can be used in forming the contoured metal sheet using the method according to the first aspect of the present invention. The above described features of the first aspects of the present invention should therefore be understood to be equally applicable to this second aspect of the present invention.

[029] The selected angle between the seating surface and forming surface can comprise any suitable angle. In embodiments, the selected angle between the seating surface and forming surface is between 5 and 175° preferably between 10 and 150° more preferably between 50 and 140° and yet more preferably between 60 and 120°. In some embodiments, the selected angle is between 70 and 140°. In particular embodiments the selected angle is between 50 and 140° preferably between 60 and 120°. In embodiments, the angle is 120°. In other embodiments, the selected angle is 90°.

[030] It should be appreciated that the folding plane (or plane of symmetry across the fold line) between the seating surface and forming surface (and the resulting first sheet section and second sheet section) (which runs through the fold line) is the half- angle between those surfaces. This creates a symmetrical mirror image of the contoured profile of the metal sheet across the fold line. For example, when the seating surface and forming surface are orientated 90° apart (thus forming a 90° bend between the second sheet section and first sheet section), the folding plane sits 45° between the faces of those surfaces. When the seating surface and forming surface are orientated 120° apart (thus forming a 120° bend between the second sheet section and first sheet section - and a 30 degree angle with each sheet section to the horizontal), the folding plane sits 60° between the faces of those surfaces. [031 ] The second sheet section is preferably fastened, preferably clamped, in position on the securing member. The second sheet section is therefore advantageous secured, preferably clamped into position on or to the securing member, thereby allowing the first sheet section to be moved by the forming member about the fold line relative to that secured second sheet section. The securing section can further include a clamping member having a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the seating surface of the securing member which is configured to cooperate with the seating surface to engage and clamp the second sheet section therebetween. This enables the second sheet section to be tightly secured between the seating surface and the cooperating profiled surface of the clamping member without deforming the contoured profile of that second sheet section.

[032] The forming section preferably further includes a backing member having a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the forming surface which is configured to cooperate with the forming surface to engage and compress the first sheet section therebetween. The backing member therefore cooperates with the forming member to both bend the metal sheet about the fold line and reform/ transform the contoured profile of the first sheet section. The backing member is preferably positioned at the selected angle relative to the seating surface about the fold line. In embodiments, the forming surface and cooperating profiled surface of the backing member are spaced apart, in use, so that the first sheet section can: be engaged and deformed therebetween; and allows relative lateral movement, preferably sliding movement, between first sheet section and at least the forming member. In this respect, the forming member is preferably configured to allow movement between the forming member and the first sheet section. Preferably, the forming member is configured to be moved over the first sheet section. However, it should be appreciated that the forming member could alternatively be configured to allow the first sheet section to be moved relative to the forming member to achieve a similar outcome.

[033] In some embodiments, the backing member comprises a block or engagement member/ surface configured with the desired angle between the first sheet section and second sheet sections the contoured metal sheet. The forming member can therefore engage and press the engaged sheet section towards and then into engagement with the backing member to form the sheet into the desired bend configuration.

[034] The forming member preferably further includes a pressing surface extending at an angle to the forming surface and configured with a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the metal sheet, the forming surface and pressing surface meeting at a bending edge about which the contoured profile of the forming surface and the contoured profile pressing surface form symmetrical mirror profiles. Whilst a variety of angles could be used, the pressing surface is preferably orientated at the selected angle to the forming surface and configured with a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the metal sheet. The pressing surface is preferably positioned on the forming member to contact the first section of the metal sheet prior to the forming process. That bending edge also provides a bending radius about which the metal sheet is bent. That bend radius is typically less than 5 mm, preferably less than 3 mm, more preferably about 2 mm.

[035] The arrangement can further include a seating member which cooperates with the forming member. The pressing surface of the forming member can be configured to cooperate with a complementary and cooperating profiled surface engagement surface on the seating member. The pressing surface and engagement surface are preferably spaced apart to allow a section of metal sheet seated therebetween to move, preferably slide therebetween. The seating member can therefore act as a guide member to guide movement of the metal sheet therebetween towards the bending edge when the forming member is actuated/ moved.

[036] In some embodiments, the contoured metal sheet is also bent about at least one further fold line within the arrangement of this second aspect of the present invention. In this embodiment, the metal sheet includes a third sheet section which is connected to the first sheet section about a further fold line, and the arrangement further includes a seating member which includes an engagement surface located at a desired angle to the forming surface, the forming member further including a pressing surface, wherein in use, the seating member cooperates with the forming member to engage the metal sheet between the pressing surface and engagement surface to bend the third sheet section of the metal sheet at a desired angle relative to the first sheet section about the further fold line. Actuation of the forming member forms the bend between the first sheet section and third sheet section.

[037] The engagement surface preferably has a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the contoured profile of the third sheet section. Similarly, the pressing surface preferably has a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the engagement surface of the seating member. The third sheet section can therefore be pressed between the engagement surface and pressing surface without deforming the contoured profile of that third sheet section. The contoured profile of the third sheet section is typically substantially the same as the second sheet section, thereby resulting in the contoured profile of the third sheet section and the contoured profile first sheet section being symmetrical mirror profiles about the fold line.

[038] As noted in relation to the first aspect, the forming surface and engagement surface are preferably located at a desired angle relative to one another corresponding to the desired angle to be formed between the first sheet section and third sheet section about the further fold line. The desired angle between the engagement surface and forming surface can comprise any suitable angle. In embodiments, the desired angle between the engagement surface and forming surface is between 5 and 175° preferably between 1 0 and 150° more preferably between 50 and 140° and yet more preferably betwee n 60 and 120°. In some embodiments, the desired angle is between 70 and 140°. In particular embodiments the desired angle is between 50 and 140° preferabl y between 60 and 120°. In embodiments, the angle is 120°. In other embodimen ts, the selected angle is 90°.

[039] The arrangement could be configured to be used with any suitable contoured metal sheet as outlined above. In embodiments, the contoured profile of the metal sheet may comprise a repeating cross-sectional shape, for example one that comprises repeating peaks and troughs. In some embodiments, the repeating peaks and troughs form a curved wave form. However, it should be appreciated that any number of other cross-sectional profiles are possible including square, rectangular, triangular or the like. [040] The arrangement of this second aspect of the present invention preferably comprises a tooling arrangement used to bend a contoured metal sheet with a sharp angled bend between the first sheet section and second sheet section thereof. The forming member, backing member and securing member preferably comprise separate tool elements of this tool arrangement.

[041 ] A third aspect of the present invention provides a contoured metal sheet element comprising:

a first sheet section of contoured metal sheet having a first longitudinal axis extending along the length of the sheet, the first sheet section having a contoured profile that extends perpendicular to the first longitudinal axis of this first sheet section;

a second sheet section of contoured metal sheet having a second longitudinal axis extending along the length of the sheet, the second sheet section having a contoured profile that extends perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of this second sheet section;

a fold line about which the first sheet section and second sheet section are connected, the first sheet section extending from the fold line at a selected angle relative to the second sheet section,

wherein the contour of the first sheet section has a symmetrical mirror contoured profile to the second sheet section about the fold line.

[042] The contoured metal sheet element of this third aspect has a sharp bend along a fold line where the contour of the first sheet section has a symmetrical mirror contoured profile to the second sheet section about the fold line. At this fold line the contours run continuously on both sheet sections of the bent sheet and merge about the fold line making a neat join at the intersection of first sheet section and second sheet section.

[043] It should be understood that the contoured metal sheet of this third aspect of the present invention can be formed from a method according to the first aspect of the present invention. Similarly, it should be understood that the contoured metal sheet of this third aspect of the present invention can be formed from using the arrangement according to the second aspect of the present invention. The above described features of the first and second aspects of the present invention should therefore be understood to be equally applicable to this third aspect of the present invention.

[044] The first sheet section is preferably orientated at a sharp angle bend relative to the second sheet section about that fold line. As outlined above, that sharp angle bend at the fold line can have any suitable bend radius. However, it is preferable that the bend radius is small enough to provide sharp change in angle at the fold line. In embodiments, the sharp angle bend has a bend radius of less than 5 mm, preferably less than 3 mm, more preferably about 2 mm. It should be appreciated that the minimum bend radius depends on the material, specifically on its "minimum bend radius" as defined in materials testing literature. The maximum radius is governed by the fact that over the radius the conditions for folding developable surfaces are not met geometrically and stretching or wrinkling become possible if the radius is too great. The sharp angle bend is preferably configured as a transverse bend.

[045] The first sheet section can be angled about the fold line at a variety of angles relative to the second sheet section. In embodiments, the selected angle is between 5 and 175° preferably between 10 and 150° more pr eferably between 50 and 140° and yet more preferably between 60 and 120°. In so me embodiments, the selected angle is between 70 and 140°. In particular embodi ments the selected angle is between 50 and 140° preferably between 60 and 120° . In embodiments, the angle is 120°. In other embodiments, the selected angle is 90°.

[046] The fold line between the first sheet section and second sheet section preferably forms a transverse bend, i.e. is orientated 90 degrees to the longitudinal axis of the metal sheet. It should be noted that fold line follows the junction between the first sheet section and second sheet section and therefore follows the contours between those sheets, and therefore can be a curved line where it follows those contours at this junction.

[047] In some embodiments, the contoured metal sheet element comprises:

at least one third sheet section of contoured metal sheet having a third longitudinal axis extending along the length of the sheet, the third sheet section having a contoured profile that extends perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of this third sheet section;

a further fold line about which the first sheet section and third sheet section are connected, the third sheet section extending from the further fold line at a desired angle relative to the first sheet section,

wherein the contour of the third sheet section has a symmetrical mirror contoured profile to the first sheet section about the further fold line.

[048] Like the sharp angle between the first and second sheet sections, at this further fold line the contours run continuously on both sheet sections of the bent sheet and merge about the further fold line making a neat join at the intersection of first sheet section and third sheet section. The third sheet section can be angled (i.e. bent) about the fold line at a variety of angles relative to the first sheet section. In embodiments, the desired angle is between 5 and 175° preferably between 10 and 150° more preferably between 50 and 140° and yet more preferably between 60 and 120°. In some embodiments, the desired angle is be tween 70 and 140°. In particular embodiments the desired angle is between 50 and 140° preferably between 60 and 120°. In embodiments, the angle is 120°. In other embodiments, the desired angle is 90°.

[049] The fold line between the first sheet section and third sheet section preferably forms a transverse bend, i.e. is orientated 90 degrees to the longitudinal axis of the metal sheet. It should be noted that fold line follows the junction between the first sheet section and third sheet section and therefore follows the contours between those sheets, and therefore can be a curved line where it follows those contours at this junction.

[050] In other embodiments, the contoured metal sheet element comprises:

at least one third sheet section of contoured metal sheet having a third longitudinal axis extending along the length of the sheet, the third sheet section having a contoured profile that extends perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of this third sheet section; a further fold line about which the second sheet section and third sheet section are connected, the third sheet section extending from the further fold line at a desired angle relative to the second sheet section,

wherein the contour of the third sheet section has a symmetrical mirror contoured profile to the second sheet section about the further fold line.

[051 ] Like the sharp angle between the first and second sheet sections, at this further fold line the contours run continuously on both sheet sections of the bent sheet and merge about the further fold line making a neat join at the intersection of second sheet section and third sheet section. The third sheet section can be angled (i.e. bent) about the fold line at a variety of angles relative to the first sheet section. In embodiments, the desired angle is between 5 and 175° preferably between 10 and 150° more preferably between 50 and 140° and yet more preferably between 60 and 120°. In some embodiments, the desired angle is be tween 70 and 140°. In particular embodiments the desired angle is between 50 and 140° preferably between 60 and 120°. In embodiments, the angle is 120°. In other embodiments, the desired angle is 90°.

[052] In some embodiments, the first sheet section and third sheet section are bent at 45 degrees to the second sheet section to form a 90 degree angle between the first sheet section and third sheet section. This forms an in phase corner section between the first sheet section and third sheet section because the contours of these two sections are in-phase. Again, it should however be appreciated that other in-phase angled corners can also be formed where the sum of the angle (angle 1 ) between the first sheet section and the second sheet section and the angle (angle 2) between the second sheet section and the third sheet section adds up to the required angle. For example, angle 1 plus angle 2 could equal any angle between 30 and 150 degrees, for example, 60 degrees, 100 degrees, 12 degrees or the like. Angle 1 and angle 2 may be the same angle or different angles.

[053] The contoured metal sheet element can be formed from any suitable contoured metal sheet as outlined above. In embodiments, the contoured profile of the metal sheet may comprise a repeating cross-sectional shape, for example a repeating cross-sectional shape that comprises repeating peaks and troughs. In some embodiments, the repeating peaks and troughs form a curved wave form. However, it should be appreciated that any number of other cross-sectional profiles are possible including square, rectangular, triangular or the like. Similarly, the metal sheet can comprise any suitable metal or metal composite. Again, it should also be appreciated that metal sheet encompasses a wide variety of metal, metal alloys, and metal composites, including composite sheets fabricated from various layers of metals and non-metals, such as metal-polymer and/or metal-polymer-metal composites. In some embodiments, the metal sheet comprises at least one of an iron, steel, aluminium or copper metal sheet. The sheet may be coated, for example with paint or other similar film coating or another metal coating, such as a zinc coating (galvanized coating). In some embodiments, the metal sheet has a thickness of 0.1 to 3 mm, preferably from 0.2 to 2 mm.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[054] The present invention will now be described with reference to the figures of the accompanying drawings, which illustrate particular preferred embodiments of the present invention, wherein:

[055] Figure 1 is shows an example of one type of contoured metal sheet that can be formed using the method and tool arrangement of embodiments of the present invention, showing (A) a front perspective view of the contoured metal sheet; (B) a cross-sectional schematic providing general dimensional details; and (C) symmetrical overlap of peaks and troughs of two contoured metal sheets.

[056] Figure 2 provides an example of a prior art sharp angle bend formed in a corrugated metal sheet.

[057] Figure 3 illustrates a first embodiment of contoured metal sheet corner element according to the present invention, showing (A) a first perspective view; (B) a second perspective view; and (C) a side elevation view.

[058] Figure 4 illustrates a second embodiment of contoured metal sheet corner element according to the present invention, showing (A) a first perspective view; (B) a second perspective view; and (C) a side elevation view.. [059] Figure 5 illustrates a tooling arrangement according to an embodiment of the present invention for forming the contoured metal sheet corner element shown in Figure 3.

[060] Figure 6 provides process schematics for forming a contoured metal sheet corner element using the tooling arrangement illustrated in Figure 5.

[061 ] Figure 7 provides a further process schematics for forming a contoured metal sheet corner element using the tooling arrangement illustrated in Figure 5.

[062] Figure 8 illustrates a tooling arrangement according to an embodiment of the present invention for forming the contoured metal sheet corner element shown in Figures 9.

[063] Figure 9 illustrates a further embodiment of contoured metal sheet corner element according to the present invention comprising a single sheet in phase corner element.

[064] Figure 10 illustrates a further embodiment of contoured metal sheet corner element according to the present invention comprising an overlapping sheet in phase corner element.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[065] The formation of contoured metal sheets is well known in the art, typically using a roll forming process which utilises a series of spaced apart convex and/or concave shaping rollers to achieve the desired cross-sectional profile in the sheet transverse to the rolling direction. Each roller is forced downwardly under pressure to deform the sheet as it passes through the rollers to form the desired repeating contoured profile in the sheet. In other forms, the rolls can be stationary and arranged in stations spaced apart longitudinally so the sheet is progressively deformed into the final shape through a series of sequential forming steps. The resulting metal sheet has a contoured profile that extends perpendicular to the longitudinal axis (rolling direction/ axis) of the metal sheet. Where the rollers have a regular shape profile and/or spacing over a portion of the sheet, that contoured profile can have a repeating cross-sectional shape that extends perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the metal sheet.

[066] A large variety of repeating cross-sectional shapes are possible, such as curved, rectangular, triangular, square or the like. Whilst not wishing to be limiting to the present invention, Figure 1 shows one form of contoured metal sheet that can be utilized in the present invention. Figure 1 shows a curved corrugated metal sheet 100 having a curved repeating cross-sectional shape comprises repeating peaks and troughs. The longitudinal axis direction is shown in Figure 1 (A) by arrow X. The pitch (P), width (W) and height (H) dimensions that can be used to characterise this type of corrugated metal sheet 100 are illustrated in Figure 1 (B). It is to be understood that a corrugated metal sheet 100 having a variety of suitable pitch (P), width (W) and height (H) dimensions can be used in the present invention. Similarly, the metal sheet 100 can be formed from any suitable metal such as iron, steel, aluminium or copper metal sheet and may be coated (painted or zinc coated) in some forms. It should also be appreciated that the metal sheet encompasses a wide variety of metal, metal alloys, and metal composites, including composite sheets fabricated from various layers of metals and non-metals. Whilst it should be appreciated that different metals have different plastic deformation properties, which affect the bending and reforming properties of the metal sheet, the metal sheet used in the present invention typically has a thickness of 0.1 to 3 mm, preferably from 0.2 to 2 mm.

[067] The present invention enables a sharp bend to be made in a metal sheet with a contoured profile running at the selected angle to the bend about the fold line. As shown by the sheet element 200 illustrated in Figure 2, past attempts at making sharp bends in corrugated metal sheets typically result in the contoured profile of the corrugated sheet being bent and distorted at the fold line F in order to form the required angle between the respective sides of the sheet. This type of bend potentially forms defects and other weaknesses at and along that fold line F as a consequence of not adhering to the geometric principles on which this invention is based. [068] The contoured profile element and bending process of the present invention takes an alternate approach to forming this bend in the contoured profile. Whilst not wishing to be limited to any one theory, the present invention has resulted on the realisation that a sharp angled bend can be formed in a contoured metal sheet when the contoured profile of sheet sections connected across a fold line have substantial symmetrical mirror image profile. This allows the contours to run continuously on both sheet sections of the bent sheet making a neat join at the intersection of the two sheet sections.

[069] Figure 3 shows a first embodiment of a contoured metal sheet element 300 according to the present invention. The illustrated contoured metal sheet element 300 has been formed from a corrugated metal sheet 100 such as shown in Figure 1 . The contoured metal sheet element 300 comprises a first sheet section 310 of contoured metal sheet and a second sheet section 312 of contoured metal sheet. Each of the first sheet section 310 and second sheet section have a longitudinal axis L1 , L2 (Figure 3(B)) extending along the length of the respective sheet section 310, 312 and a curved contoured profile that extends perpendicular to the respective longitudinal axis L1 , L2. The first sheet section 310 and the second sheet section 312 are connected about transverse fold line F which is angled 90 degrees to the respective longitudinal axes L1 and L2. It should be noted that fold line follows the junction between the first sheet section and second sheet section and therefore follows the contours between those sheets, and is therefore a curved line where it follows those contours at this junction. The first sheet section 310 extends at a 90 degree angle (angle a in Figure 3(A) and 3(B)) relative to the second sheet section from the fold line F to form a right angle corner bend. However, the uniqueness of this bend is that the repetitive contour of the first sheet section 310 has a symmetrical mirror contoured profile to the second sheet section 312 about the fold line F. As noted above, this allows the contours to run continuously on both sheet sections of the bent sheet and merge about the fold line F in a transitional contour thereby making a neat join at the intersection of the two sheet sections 310 and 312.

[070] As shown in Figure 3(C), the first sheet section 310 is orientated at a sharp angle bend relative to the second sheet section 312 about that fold line. That sharp angle bend at the fold line typically has a bend radius of less than 5 mm, preferably around 2 mm. That bend produces a flat, in this case 45 degree fold surface 313 between the first sheet section 310 and second sheet section 312. The angle of that fold surface 313 corresponds to the angle of the fold plane (see Figure 6).

[071 ] Furthermore, the first sheet section 310 can be angled about the fold line F at a variety of angles relative to the second sheet section 312. For example, Figure 4 illustrates a contoured metal sheet element 300A similar to the embodiment 300 described above in relation to Figure 3 except where the first sheet section 310 is angled at angle a = 120 degrees about the fold line F relative to the second sheet section 312. Apart from that angle a, it should be understood that the above description of the contoured metal sheet element 300 described in relation to Figure 3 equally applies to this second exemplified embodiment illustrated in Figure 4. Again, that bend produces a flat fold surface 313 between the first sheet section 310 and second sheet section 312. The angle of that fold surface 313 corresponds to the angle of the fold plane (see Figure 6).

[072] A tooling arrangement 400 that can be used to form the contour metal sheet element 300 shown in Figure 3 is illustrated in Figures 5 and 7. The illustrated tooling arrangement 400 forms a transverse bend in a metal sheet having a contoured profile such as the corrugated metal sheet 100 illustrated and described in relation to Figure 1 . The tooling arrangement 400 comprises a four piece tool which includes four die sections, separated into two sections - a securing section 405 and a forming section 407.

[073] The securing section 405 is formed from an upper clamping die 410 and a lower securing die 412. The lower securing die 412 includes a seating surface 415 having a complementary profile to the section of contoured metal sheet 100 that is seated thereon in use. Similarly, the upper clamping die 410 includes a clamping surface 416 having a complementary profile to the section of contour metal sheet 100 that is seated thereon in use. The clamping surface 416 also has a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the seating surface 416. The upper clamping die 410 and a lower securing die 412 are configured to cooperate to engage and clamp a section of the metal sheet 100 between the respective clamping surface 416 and seating surface 415. This enables a section of the metal sheet 100 to be tightly secured between the seating surface 415 and the cooperating clamping surface 416 without deforming the contoured profile of that section of the metal sheetl OO.

[074] The forming section 407 is formed of forming die 420 having a forming surface 421 orientated at a selected angle to the seating surface 415, in the illustrated embodiment that angle is 90 degrees. However, it should be appreciated that that angle could be any suitable angle between 5 and 175 degrees. The forming surface 421 has a contour which is shaped with a substantially symmetrical mirror profile to the contoured profile of the section of metal sheet secured in the securing section 405.

[075] The forming section 407 also includes a backing surface 422 formed on one side of the clamping die 410 and securing die 412. The backing surface 422 has a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the forming surface 421 which is configured to cooperate with the forming surface 421 to engage and compress an adjoining sheet section to the secured sheet section of the contoured metal sheet 100 therebetween. The backing surface 422 is positioned at the selected angle relative to the seating surface 415, in the illustrated embodiment 90 degrees. However, it should be appreciated that those surfaces could be positioned at any desired relative angle to one another between 5 and 175 degrees. The forming surface 421 and cooperating backing surface 422 are also spaced apart, in use, so that the forming die 420 is able to slide over a sheet section of contoured metal sheet 100 placed therebetween but still enable that sheet section to be engaged and deformed as described below. It should be appreciated that the contoured profile of the seating surface 415 and the contoured profile of the backing surface 422 will be symmetrical mirror profiles about the edge where those two surfaces meet. The edge forms a first bend radius R1 (see figure 6) about which the metal sheet 100 is bent. At this first bend radius R1 the contours preferably run continuously on both the contoured profile of the seating surface 415 and the contoured profile of the backing surface 422 and merge about first bend radius R1 .

[076] In the illustrated embodiment, the forming section also includes guide die 430. Guide die 430 includes a seating surface 435 having a complementary profile to the section of contoured metal sheet 100 that is seated thereon in use. However, it should be appreciated that other embodiments may not include this guide die 430, and may have a forming block as described further below in relation to Figures 8 to 10.

[077] Forming die 420 includes a pressing surface 436 having a complementary profile to the section of contour metal sheet 100 that is seated thereon in use. The pressing surface 436 also has a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the seating surface 435. The pressing surface 436 and seating surface 435 are spaced apart to allow the contour metal sheet 100 to slide between the surfaces when the forming die 420 is moved (see below in relation to Figure 6). Each surface provides a guide to movement of the metal sheet 100 therebetween. The pressing surface 436 and seating surface 435 are also configured to cooperate to engage and press on the section of metal 100 therebetween to form a right angled bend at that fold line F2 (Figure 6(B)). It should be appreciated that the contoured profile of the forming surface 421 and the contoured profile of the pressing surface 436 will be symmetrical mirror profiles about the edge where those two surfaces meet. The edge forms a second bend radius R2 (see figure 6) about which the metal sheet 100 is bent. At this second bend radius R2 the contours preferably run continuously on both the contoured profile of the forming surface 421 and the contoured profile of the pressing surface 436 and merge about second bend radius R2.

[078] It should also be noted that bend radius R1 and R2 are typically less than 5 mm, and typically around 2 mm.

[079] The backing surface 422 and the forming die 420 are configured to cooperate to bend the contoured metal sheet 100 about a fold line F and also reform/ transform the contoured profile of the sheet section of contoured metal sheet 100 engaged by the forming die 420.

[080] As shown in Figures 6 and 7, in use, the illustrated tooling arrangement 400 can be used to bend a contoured metal sheet 100 about two fold lines F1 and F2 to form in part a contoured metal sheet element 300 such as is illustrated in Figure 3. The method of using that tooling arrangement 400 is as follows: 1 ) A contoured metal sheet 100 is provided having a longitudinal axis L extending along the length of the sheet 100 and a contoured profile, in this case having a repeating cross-sectional shape (though in other embodiments, that profile may be irregular or non-uniform) that extends perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the metal sheet 100.

2) As shown in Figures 6A and 7B, a first sheet section 106 of the contoured metal sheet 100 that extends from a second section 105 from fold line F1 is located between the pressing surface 436 of the forming die 420 and seating surface 435 of guide die 430. A second sheet section 105 of the contoured metal sheet 100 is secured between the clamping surface 416 of the upper clamping die 410 and the seating surface 415 of lower securing die 412. An additional length of metal sheet 100 can extend out from the die 400, in particular the forming die 420 and guide die 430 (for example Figure 6A).

3) The forming die 420 and guide die 430 are moved relative to the backing surface 422 in the direction of Arrow A (Figures 6(B) and 7(C)). As described above, the pressing surface 436 and seating surface 435 are spaced apart to allow the contour metal sheet 100 to slide between the surfaces when the forming die 420 is moved. Movement of forming die 420 in direction A bends the first sheet section 106 about a bend radius R1 to position the first sheet section 106 at a 90 degree angle relative to the second sheet section 105 about the fold line F1 . The backing surface 422 cooperates with the forming surface 421 to engage the first sheet section 106 therebetween during movement of the forming die 420 and guide die 430 in direction A.

4) Movement of the first sheet section 106 of the contoured metal sheet 100 from between the pressing surface 436 and seating surface 435, and onto the forming surface about bend radius R2 progressively transforms the contoured profile of the first sheet section 106 into a new contoured profile. The new contoured profile of the first sheet section 106 comprises a symmetrical mirror of the contoured profile of the second sheet section 105 about the fold line F1 . Essentially, peaks originally in the contoured profile of the first sheet section 106 become troughs in the new contoured profile and the troughs originally in the contoured profile of the first sheet section 106 become peaks in the new contoured profile (see for example the comparison of profiles between the solid lined sheet and dashed line sheet shown in Figure 1 (C)) as the metal sheet 100 is bent over the fold line F2 / bend radius R2.

5) Any excess length of contoured metal sheet 100, for example third sheet section 107 will remain between the pressing surface 436 and seating surface 435 once the forming die 420 and guide die 430 have reached the extent of their movement (arrow A). A second angled corner (in this case 90 degree angled corner) about second fold line F2 (Figure 6(B)) will result between the third sheet section 107 and first sheet section 106. Here, the contoured profile of the third sheet section 107 is substantially the same as the second sheet section 105, thereby resulting in the contoured profile of the third sheet section 107 and the contoured profile first sheet section 106 being symmetrical mirror profiles about the further fold line F2.

[081 ] The resulting bent contoured metal sheet element (for example shown in Figure 7(D)) can be cut, chopped parted or otherwise separated into separate parts at any desired location to provide a desired configured contoured metal sheet element. In some embodiments, the resulting bent contoured metal sheet element is cut along the first sheet section 106 to form two elements that can be used as corner covers or sections. It should be appreciated that whilst Figure 7(D) shows the bent contoured metal sheet element 100 as being trimmed on the securing die 412, that sheet may extend over the guide die 430 to form a stepped bend in the metal sheet 100 as explained in step 5 above.

[082] It should be appreciated that movement of the forming die can be actuated by any number of processes including electric, hydraulic of other suitable drives, piston arms or the like.

[083] It should be appreciated that whilst the forming section 407 is described as being moved relative to the securing section 405 in the above described process, in other embodiments the securing section 405 could be moved in the opposite direction to arrow A relative to the forming section in order to produce the same results. [084] As shown in Figure 6, it should be appreciated that the folding plane P (Figure 6) (or plane of symmetry across the fold line) between the seating surface 415 and forming surface 421 (and the resulting first sheet section 106 and second sheet section 106) (which runs through the fold line F1 ) is the half-angle between those surfaces 415, 421 . This creates a symmetrical mirror image of the contoured profile of the metal sheet 100 across the fold line F. The plane geometry as defined by the folding plane P assists in ensuring that during the bending process no part of the metal sheet is subject to tensile or compressive force, only pure bending.

[085] The process and tool arrangement 400 described and illustrated above could be used as a stand-alone process for forming contoured metal sheet elements or as a further forming process step on a sheet rolling line, such as a corrugated sheet rolling line or process.

[086] Figures 9 and 10 shows a second embodiment of a contoured metal sheet element 500 according to the present invention. The illustrated contoured metal sheet element 500 has been formed from a corrugated metal sheet 100 such as shown in Figure 1 to form an in-phase right angled corner bend, i.e where the contours of the sheets that extend away from the bend at 90 degrees have the same contoured pattern.

[087] The illustrated contoured metal sheet element 500 comprises a first sheet section 510 of contoured metal sheet a second sheet section 512 and a third sheet section 514 of contoured metal sheet. Each of the first sheet section 510, second sheet section 512 and third sheet section 514 have a longitudinal axis L1 , L2, L3 (Figure 9) extending along the length of the respective sheet section 510, 512, 514 and a curved contoured profile that extends perpendicular to the respective longitudinal axis L1 , L2, L3. The first sheet section 510 and the second sheet section 512 are connected about transverse fold line F' which is angled 45 degrees to the respective longitudinal axes L1 and L2. It should be noted that fold line follows the junction between the first sheet section and second sheet section and follows the contours between those sheets, and is therefore a curved line where it follows those contours at this junction. The first sheet section 510 extends at a 45 degree angle (angle g in Figure 9) relative to the second sheet section 512 from the fold line F'. Similarly, third sheet section 514 and the second sheet section 512 are connected about transverse fold line F" which is angled 45 degrees to the respective longitudinal axes L3 and L2. The third sheet section 514 extends at a 45 degree angle (angle h in Figure 9) relative to the second sheet section 512 from the fold line F". Like the previous embodiment, the uniqueness of each bend is that the repetitive contour of the first sheet section 510 or third sheet section 514 has a symmetrical mirror contoured profile to the second sheet section 512 about the fold line F' or F". As shown, the second sheet section comprises a short segment of sheet, providing a transitory segment between the two 45 degree bends relative to the first sheet section 510 or third sheet section 514. The produced contoured metal sheet element 500 therefore forms a 90 degree angle through the sum of the two 45 degree bends. Uniquely, the contours of the first sheet section 510 or third sheet section 514 are in phase, having the same repetitive contour.

[088] Figure 10 provides a variation of the contoured metal sheet element 500 shown in Figure 9, where the in-phase corner contoured metal sheet element 500A is formed from two overlapping 45 degree bent contoured metal sheet elements 501 (see Figure 10(b)). Like Figure 9, a first contoured metal sheet element 501 A comprises a first sheet section 510 of contoured metal sheet and a second sheet section 512 of contoured metal sheet. Each of the first sheet section 510 and second sheet section 512 have a longitudinal axis L1 , L2 (Figure 10(a)) extending along the length of the respective sheet section 510, 512 and a curved contoured profile that extends perpendicular to the respective longitudinal axis L1 , L2. The first sheet section 510 and the second sheet section 512 are connected about transverse fold line F' which is angled 45 degrees to the respective longitudinal axes L1 and L2. A second contoured metal sheet elements 501 B is formed from a third sheet section 510 angled 45 degrees to the respective longitudinal axes L2 and L3 to a second sheet section 512 of contoured metal sheet. The second sheet sections 512 of each of the first contoured metal sheet element 501 A and second contoured metal sheet element 501 B are overlapped to from a 90 degree corner element having a similar configuration as the element 500 shown in Figure 9.

[089] The second sheet section 512 of each contoured metal sheet element 501 A and 501 B is short (i.e. width of the sheet between fold lines F' and F") compared to the lengths of the first and third sheet sections. The width of second sheet section is typically 50 to 100 mm. It is also noted that the first and third sheet sections (510 and 514) will also typically having a leg length either side of the bend/ fold line F of 200 to 300 mm as the element is preferably formed as a capping piece. However, it should be appreciated that other lengths are also possible.

[090] A tooling arrangement 600 that can be used to form the contour metal sheet element 500 shown in Figure 9 is illustrated in Figure 8. It should be noted that metal sheet element 500A can be formed using the process taught in relation to 5, 6 and 7. However, in some embodiments (described further below), metal sheet element 500A can be formed using one half of the tooling arrangement 600, i.e. used to form a single bend, not two bends.

[091 ] The illustrated tooling arrangement 600 forms at least one, and in some embodiments two, transverse bends in a metal sheet having a contoured profile such as the corrugated metal sheet 100 illustrated and described in relation to Figure 1 . The tooling arrangement 600 comprises a three piece tool which includes three die sections, separated into two sections - a securing section 605 and a forming section 607. In some embodiments, the tooling arrangement has four pieces, with two forming sections 607 situated either side of the securing section 605 having two forming dies 620 replicated on each side of the securing section 605 which can be used simultaneously.

[092] The securing section 605 is formed from an upper clamping die 610 and a seating section 612 of form block 61 1 . The seating section 612 includes a seating surface 615 having a complementary profile to the section of contoured metal sheet 100 that is seated thereon in use. Similarly, the upper clamping die 610 includes a clamping surface 616 having a complementary profile to the section of contour metal sheet 100 that is seated thereon in use. The clamping surface 616 also has a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the seating surface 616. The upper clamping die 610 and seating section 612 of form block 61 1 are configured to cooperate to engage and clamp a section of the metal sheet 100 between the respective clamping surface 616 and seating surface 615 and thus tightly secure a section of the metal sheet 100 therebetween without deforming the contoured profile of that section of the metal sheet 100.

[093] Each forming section 607 is formed of forming die 620 having a forming surface 621 and forming edge 621 A. The forming surface 421 and forming edge 621 A has a contour which is shaped with a substantially symmetrical mirror profile to the contoured profile of the section of metal sheet secured in the securing section 605.

[094] Each forming section 607 also includes a backing surface 622 formed on form block 61 1 . The backing surface 622 has a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the forming surface 621 which is configured to cooperate with the forming surface 621 to engage and compress an adjoining sheet section to the secured sheet section of the contoured metal sheet 100 therebetween. The backing surface 622 is positioned at the selected angle "m" relative to the seating surface 615, in the illustrated embodiment 45 degrees. However, it should be appreciated that those surfaces could be positioned at any desired relative angle to one another between 5 and 175 degrees. In use, the forming die 620 is able to slide over a sheet section of contoured metal sheet 100 placed between the backing surface 622 and pressing surface 636 as described below. Again, the contoured profile of the seating surface 615 and the contoured profile of the backing surface 622 will be symmetrical mirror profiles about the edge 617 where those two surfaces meet. The edge 617 forms a first bend radius R1 about which the metal sheet 100 is bent. At this first bend radius R1 the contours preferably run continuously on both the contoured profile of the seating surface 615 and the contoured profile of the backing surface 622 and merge about first bend radius R1 . The backing surface 622 and the forming die 620 are configured to cooperate to bend the contoured metal sheet 100 about a fold line F and also reform/ transform the contoured profile of the sheet section of contoured metal sheet 100 engaged by the forming die 620.

[095] Each forming die 620 includes a pressing surface 636 having a complementary profile to the section of contour metal sheet 100 that is seated thereon in use. The pressing surface 636 also has a complementary and cooperating profiled surface to the seating surface 635. The pressing surface 636 is configured to cooperate to engage and press on the section of metal 100 use to form a right angled bend at that fold line F2. The contoured profile of the forming surface 621 and the contoured profile of the pressing surface 636 will be symmetrical mirror profiles about the edge 621 A where those two surfaces meet. The edge 621 A forms a second bend radius R2 about which the metal sheet 100 is bent. Unlike the previous described embodiment, a guide die 4 is not utilised.

[096] In use, the illustrated tooling arrangement 600 can be used to bend a contoured metal sheet 100 about two fold lines F1 and F2 to form in part a contoured metal sheet element 500 such as is illustrated in Figure 9. The method of using that tooling arrangement 600 is as follows:

1 ) A contoured metal sheet 100 is provided having a longitudinal axis L extending along the length of the sheet 100 and a contoured profile, in this case having a repeating cross-sectional shape (though in other embodiments, that profile may be irregular or non-uniform) that extends perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the metal sheet 100.

2) A first sheet section 706 of the contoured metal sheet 100 that extends from a second section 705 from fold line F1 is located with the pressing surface 636 of the forming die 620 engaged thereon. A second sheet section 705 of the contoured metal sheet 100 is secured between the clamping surface 616 of the upper clamping die 610 and the seating surface 615 of form block 61 1 . An additional length of metal sheet 100 can extend out from the die 600, in particular the forming die 620 and guide die 630.

3) The forming die 620 is moved relative to the backing surface 622 in the direction of Arrow A'. Movement of forming die 620 in direction A' bends the first sheet section 706 about a bend radius R1 to position the first sheet section 706 at a 45 degree angle relative to the second sheet section 705 about the fold line F1 . The backing surface 622 cooperates with the forming surface 621 to engage the first sheet section 106 therebetween during movement of the forming die 620 in direction A'. 4) Movement of the first sheet section 706 of the contoured metal sheet 100 from between the pressing surface 636, and onto the backing surface 622 about bend radius R2 progressively transforms the contoured profile of the first sheet section 706 into a new contoured profile. The new contoured profile of the first sheet section 706 comprises a symmetrical mirror of the contoured profile of the second sheet section 705 about the fold line F1 .

5) Any excess length of contoured metal sheet 100, for example third sheet section 707 will remain engaged by the pressing surface 636 once the forming die 620 has reached the extent of movement (arrow A'). A second angled corner (in this case 135 degree angled corner) about a further fold line will result.

[097] Where set up, the form block 61 1 may include a symmetrical mirror of the forming die 620 and backing surface 622 formed on form block 61 1 about the upper clamping die 610 which forms the symmetrical opposite 45 degree bend between the clamped second sheet section 705 and a third sheet section 707. Similar steps in forming that bend are as described above for the second sheet section 705 and a first sheet section 705. This then forms the contoured metal sheet element 500 shown in Figure 9. Conversely, the contoured metal sheet elements 501 A and 501 B shown in Figure 10 can be formed using a single bending process as described.

[098] The resulting bent contoured metal sheet element can be cut, chopped parted or otherwise separated into separate parts at any desired location to provide a desired configured contoured metal sheet element.

[099] It should be appreciated that movement of the forming die can be actuated by any number of processes including electric, hydraulic of other suitable drives, piston arms or the like.

[100] Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the invention described herein is susceptible to variations and modifications other than those specifically described. It is understood that the invention includes all such variations and modifications which fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention. [101 ] Where the terms "comprise", "comprises", "comprised" or "comprising" are used in this specification (including the claims) they are to be interpreted as specifying the presence of the stated features, integers, steps or components, but not precluding the presence of one or more other feature, integer, step, component or group thereof.