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1. (WO1987003518) PRESS FORMING SHEET METAL
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THE CLAIMS
1. A method of press forming sheet metal wherein a
strip of the metal is progressively advanced
through a multi-stage die and a forming operation is effected in each stage of the die during each closing stroke of the die, wherein, during a first time interval of each closing stroke, one portion of the metal strip is press formed in one stage of the die whilst a further portion of the metal strip is movably clamped in the or each further stage of the die, and wherein, during a second time interval of each closing stroke, the metal strip is clamped substantially immovably in all stages of the die.

2. The method as claimed in claim 1 wherein partial press forming of the metal strip is effected in the or each further stage of the die during the first time interval of each closing stroke as a
consequence of the metal strip being movably
clamped in the or each further stage.

3. The method as claimed in claim 1 wherein, during the first time interval of each closing stroke, said one portion of the metal strip is press formed in a second stage of the die whilst said further portion of the metal strip is preformed in a first stage of the die, the preformation of the metal strip being effected as a result of the metal strip being movably clamped between components of the die in the first stage.

4. The method as claimed in claim 3 wherein said
preformation of the metal strip in the first stage of the die is effected at an angle parallel to the direction of advancement of the metal strip between the die stages.

5. The method as claimed in claim 1 wherein, during the first time interval of each closing stroke, said one portion of the metal strip is press formed in a first stage of the die whilst said further
portion of the metal strip is movably clamped in a second stage of the die, and wherein the metal
strip is subjected to a further press forming
operation in the second stage of the die during the second time interval.

6. A press forming die comprising multiple die stages through which a strip of metal is in use
progressively advanced, each stage of the die
having upper and lower die components which are
movable toward one another and which are arranged to effect a forming operation on the metal strip during each closing stroke of the die, the upper and lower die components in one stage of the die being arranged to effect press forming of one
portion of the metal strip during a first time
interval of each closing stroke and the upper and lower components in the or each further stage of the die being arranged to clamp a further portion of the metal strip in a manner such that the metal strip is movable in a direction toward said one
stage of the die during the first time interval of each closing stroke, and the die components in each stage of the die being further arranged such that, during a second time interval of each closing
stroke, the die components clamp the metal strip substantially immovably in all stages of the die.

7. The press forming die as claimed in claim 6 wherein the die components in the or each further stage of the die are arranged to effect partial press
forming of the metal strip during the first time interval of each closing. stroke .

8. A press forming die which comprises two stages
through which a strip of metal is in use advanced, each stage of the die having upper and lower die components which are movable toward one another and which are arranged to effect a forming operation on the metal strip during each closing stroke of the die, the upper and lower die components in a second stage of the die being arranged to effect press
forming of one portion of the metal strip during a first time interval of each closing stroke and the upper and lower die components in a first stage of the die being arranged to clamp a further portion of the metal strip in a manner such that the metal strip is movable in a direction toward the second , stage of the die during the first time interval of each closing stroke, the die components in the
first stage of the die being arranged to effect a preforming operation on the metal strip during the first time interval, and the die components in the first and second stages being further arranged such that, during a second time interval of each closing stroke, the die components clamp the metal strip substantially immovably in both the first and
second stages of the die.

9. The press forming die as claimed in claim 8 wherein the upper and lower die components in the first
stage of the die are profiled to effect a
preformation of the metal strip in a direction
parallel to that of advancement of the metal strip through the die.

10. The press forming die as claimed in claim 8 or
claim 9 wherein the lower die components in both the first and second stages of the die include spring-loaded pressure pads which are biased in a direction toward the upper die components, wherein the die components in the second stage of the die are carried by a movable platform, and wherein
means are provided for lowering the movable
platform during the second time interval of each closing stroke of the die.