The goal is to develop and validate a virtual design platform for products in formed sheet material. This will reduce both the weight of and testing costs for such products.
A closed loop between the modelling and optimisation of the sheet material forming process on the one hand and product performance on the other does not yet exist. As such, it is not at all easy to integrate the following important aspects into the virtual design and optimisation of such products in terms of their final performance attributes:
- Effect of forming process on thickness distribution and properties of formed sheet material products;
- Inherent uncertainty and variability of the forming process itself.
Consequently, high safety factors are applied for defining the initial sheet thickness so as to avoid risk of failure. This implies that the lightweight potential in the design of sheet material structures is not optimally used, which goes against the growing need in many sectors for reducing the weight of their products. In the transportation industry, for instance, lower emissions and reduced fuel consumption are top priorities.
Besides, the absence of a closed loop and particularly the lack of a global optimisation loop establishing a direct connection between initial sheet properties and process parameters on the one hand and product attributes on the other lead to a trial-and-error approach. Which in turn results in an expensive and time-consuming development and validation process.
Connecting process and product modelling is of great importance as this will enable to
- make maximum use of the lightweight potential;
- minimise the risk of failure;
- reduce costs connected to a trial-and-error process.
The objective of this project is developing and validating a virtual design platform for formed sheet material products that will enable to
- predict the product attributes according to both the initial sheet properties and the production process parameters;
- optimise the initial sheet properties and production parameters so as to achieve certain final attributes and;
- take into account the effect of variations in the initial sheet properties and in the forming process itself.
The virtual design platform that is developed in this project will be applied, deployed and validated on a number of industrial use cases.
The results of this project will help to improve the industry’s competitiveness because
- companies will be able to meet the weight reduction requirements by making maximum use of the lightweight potential;
- using this methodology will do away with the trial-and-error approach, which will reduce development costs and time.
Want additional information on this project? Or do you have a specific question? Contact project leader Suzanne Van Poppel.