Continuous Sheet Folding Machine with Microfolding Technology

Invention Summary:

Folded materials are useful in packaging, sandwich structures, floor boards, car bumpers and other applications where requirements pertaining to shock, vibration, energy absorption, and/or a high strength-to-weight ratio including volume reduction must be met. Folding flat sheets of material into intricate three-dimensional structures may provide a new technology for production of cores and sandwich structures. Currentproduction methods such as stretch-drawing, forging, pressing, casting and fabrication may appear to produce cosmetically similar patterns but the mechanical properties are significantly different. This is particularly so in folding thin sheet materials where variations in sheet thickness and/or mechanical properties are unacceptable. 

Two Rutgers industrial and systems engineering researchers developed a novel approach to folding sheets of materials including metal, paper, plastic and composites which includes the benefits of three dimensional structures while reducing the reduction of mechanical properties associated with current technologies. In addition, they’ve built and tested a prototype machine capable of producing these unique folding structures. 

Market Applications:

  • Corrugated Material Fabrication
  • Continuous Manufacturing of Conventional Structures 
    • Sandwich Structures
    • Cores for laminated panels
      • Honeycomb
      • Composite Material Cores


  • Folded sheet configuration may be adapted by changing scale, parameters of the element geometry and material composition
  • Structures can be generated with customized stress/strain characteristics in predetermined values/directions designed to fit surfaces with any curvature 
  • Produce three-dimensional patterns that are cosmetically similar but the mechanical properties are
  • Can be used with a plethora of materials
    • Papers
    • Metals
    • Plastics
    • Fabrics
    • Composites

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Issued U.S. patents: 8,475,350; 7,758,487; 7,115,089; 7,691,045, and multiple PCTs filed 

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Shu Wang
Licensing Manager
Rutgers University
Machines & Instruments