Metal Forming Simulation
In metal forming simulation, the forming of sheet metal is simulated on the computer with the help of special software. Simulation makes it possible to detect errors and problems, such as wrinkles or splits in parts, on the computer at an early stage in forming. In this way, it is not necessary to produce real tools to run practical tests. Forming simulation has become established in the automotive industry since it is used to develop and optimize every sheet metal part.
To illustrate the metal forming process, there must be a model of the real process. This is calculated in the software using the finite element method based on implicit or explicit incremental techniques. The parameters of the model must describe the real process as accurately as possible so that the results of the simulation are realistic.
The typical parameters for forming simulation are, for example, part and tool geometry, material properties, press forces and friction. The simulation calculates stresses and strains during the forming process. In addition, simulations allow for the recognition of errors and problems (e.g. wrinkles or splits) as well as results (e.g. strength and material thinning). Even springback, the elastic behavior of material after forming, can be predicted in advance. Forming simulation also provides valuable information about the influence of process variations on stamping robustness.
Forming simulations are used throughout the entire process chain of sheet metal forming. The simulation allows a part designer to estimate the formability of a sheet metal part already during the design phase, which results in the design of a part which is easy to produce. A process engineer can already assess the process during the planning phase and optimize various alternatives using the simulation, which can subsequently reduce the fine tuning of a forming tool. Finally, regarding the fine tuning of a forming tool, simulation can provide useful information on how an existing, not yet fully functioning tool must be adjusted. It is also possible to see how the process parameters must be adjusted in order to guarantee optimal drawing results.
Metal forming simulation enables the fast review of several alternative concepts for quality and cost improvements, which results in huge cost and time savings. Furthermore, simulating the forming process improves development and planning reliability. The number of tool tryouts is reduced and tryout time is shortened. Metal forming simulation leads to the highest quality in part and tool design as well as maximum reliability in production.
Further information on sheet metal forming simulation at AutoForm: