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More Realistic Virtual Prototypes by means of Process Chain Optimisation

This paper is concerned with closing a gap in the process chain of metal forming. Tools for simulating the metal forming process like LS-DYNA® produce output geometries and stress information which cannot be easily re-imported in CADSystems or structure analysis programs for further processing. A concept has been developed and implemented with a corresponding program which allows the re-importation of parts with certain topologies (tube, plane) from LSDYNA® into any STEP-conformant CAD program. This method is mainly based on using the interconnection information which is contained in the LS-DYNA® output file. This information allows the construction of interpolating cubic B-Spline surfaces which can be represented in the STEP standard format. Thus, it is not necessary to reinvent general purpose surface reconstruction programs but rather to harvest the additional information available in the given situation. Furthermore, a method to make the strength hardening information available in structure analysis is represented. This hardening results from the forming process and should be considered to obtain a more realistic virtual prototype and is of assistance to save weight and material costs. Introduction The forming simulation by means of finite element analysis (FEA) is becoming more and more important in the field of process quality assurance and process design of mechanical and fluid media formed components. Using the finite element simulation in the development process of hydroforming components from the first draft through to the serial production of a component provides an enormous saving of development time and costs. However, due to the constantly increasing competition in terms of costs, development time and quality, a further reduction of processing time and costs is necessary. Moreover, there is the demand for even more exact predictions and results in the area of the virtual component, in order to reduce the weight and to ensure that the component produced will have enough stability and low material costs. Due to this demand the integration of the forming simulation into the process chain must be improved. In order to point out the optimisation potential, the sequence of the processes from the design phase to the finished component is represented in Figure 1.