Machine Design

What-if models stamp out trial and error

SimTech in Paris, France, and French automobile manufacturer, Renault, have developed a software tool for metal-stamping process design, simulation, and optimization. Simex2000 is a 3D, objectoriented system that combines a graphical user interface, pre and postprocessing, computer simulation of the stamping operation, process optimization solver, and automatic design of simplified diefaces. It can be used from the earliest stages of component design, through checking and process prove-out, to final production. By encompassing the entire product cycle, including dimensioning, manufacture and assembly, the software is said to speed the time from initial concept to final delivery up to fivefold.

Designers can use the software to provide up-front feasibility analyses and generate analytic meshes. Stress engineers can interface it with other simulations, such as crash and fatigue. Process engineers save time for process design through what-if modeling of modifications, and by optimizing processes. They also avoid the expense of preliminary tooling or trial-and-error manufacturing procedures during development.

The program also reduces the need for physical testing to achieve accurate results. Its digital simulation of metal stamping uses an inverse onestep approach, starting from the final shape, then assessing material deformations, and taking into account forming errors. Finite-element meshing considers the entire forming process, including strain hardening, as the material takes the shape of the finished component. Die detailing and additions are automatically derived from die geometry.

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