Sie sind auf Seite 1von 60

CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Contents

Introduction ......................................................................................................2
About This Series ...........................................................................................2
About This Book .............................................................................................2
Supporting Material ........................................................................................3
Product Design vs. Tool Design ..........................................................................4
Design Principles ............................................................................................4
Conflicting Demands.......................................................................................5
Tool Design - Analysis, Design and Optimization ..............................................7
Summary .......................................................................................................8
Metal Forming – An Overview.............................................................................9
Metals – Cradle To Grave................................................................................9
Sheet Metal.................................................................................................. 10
Drawing The Fuller Picture ............................................................................ 12
Critical Data - Material Properties .................................................................. 19
Its (Almost) All About Steel ........................................................................... 22
Numerical Analysis – An Introduction ................................................................ 24
Numerical Models ......................................................................................... 24
Important Terms .......................................................................................... 28
Summing Up ................................................................................................ 32
Finite Element Methods and Forming ................................................................ 33
A Retrospective ............................................................................................ 33
The Tool Designer and The Analyst ............................................................... 35
The Product Designer and The Analyst .......................................................... 37
Incremental Analysis - Numerical Aspects ...................................................... 38
Summary ..................................................................................................... 42
Putting It All Together: HyperForm ................................................................... 43
Process-Centric Modeling .............................................................................. 43
Forming Simulation – What and How............................................................. 44
Summary of Steps Involved .......................................................................... 49
Advanced Topics ............................................................................................. 51
Commercial Terms ....................................................................................... 51
Data Files – What Goes Where ...................................................................... 52
Glossary And References.................................................................................. 54
References................................................................................................... 59
Other Resources........................................................................................... 59
Sample Material Properties............................................................................ 59

Introduction CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

About This Series
To make the most of this series you should be an engineering student, in
your third or final year of Mechanical Engineering. You should have access
to licenses of HyperWorks, to the Altair website, and to an instructor who
can guide you through your chosen projects or assignments.

Each book in this series is completely self-contained. References to other

volumes are only for your interest and further reading. You need not be
familiar with the Finite Element Method, with 3D Modeling or with Finite
Element Modeling. Depending on the volumes you choose to read, however,
you do need to be familiar with one or more of the relevant engineering
subjects: Design of Machine Elements, Strength of Materials, Kinematics of
Machinery, Dynamics of Machinery, Probability and Statistics, Manufacturing
Technology and Introduction to Programming. A course on Operations
Research or Linear Programming is useful but not essential.

About This Book

Of all the books in this series, this is by far the easiest for a mechanical
engineer to understand. The subject is far less abstract than those covered
in the other books, and the immediate relevance of the methods discussed is
remarkable. Like the other books in this series, it is self-contained. Access to
a press-shop, of course, will not only be extremely useful, it’s almost

While a knowledge of FEA won’t hurt, it is not essential. As we will see, the
techniques used are at the very cutting edge of numerical analysis, but
these are so closely aligned with physically meaningful manufacturing
processes that an understanding of manufacturing technology is more than
enough to appreciate, to learn, and to bring this power to bear.

The various references cited in the book will probably be most useful after
you have worked through your project and are looking for ways to increase
the depth of the simulation techniques you have learned.

CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Introduction

Supporting Material
Your instructor will have the Instructor’s Manual that accompanies these
volumes – it should certainly be made use of. Further reading and
references are indicated both in this book and in the Instructor’s Manual.

If you find the material interesting, you should also look up the HyperWorks
On-line Help System. The Altair website,, is also likely to be
of interest to you, both for an insight into the evolving technology and to
help you present your project better.

You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and
the only way, it does not exist.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Product Design vs. Tool Design CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

Product Design vs. Tool Design

Depending on the relative importance of the different
stages of the product’s lifecycle, designers often
Common Design Philosophies
emphasize one or more approaches to product design.
One approach that’s familiar to anyone who has worked Design for …
with a hierarchical solid-modeler is Design for … assembly
Manufacture. In this approach, the designer is urged to … disassembly
pay attention to how the product will finally be … ease of use
manufactured – how the material will be cut, molded, … installation
pressed, cast, welded, and so on. … maintenance
… manufacture
… quality
The tools that are used to manufacture the product
… reliability
must, of course, themselves be designed. This discipline … reuse
is assigned to the tool designer, and the practice is often … speed
assigned to the tool room. This distinction between tool- … cost
design and product-design has one unfortunate aspect … environment
to it. The tools themselves are the critical but under-
appreciated lesser cousins!

As a result, the words “product design” are readily comprehensible to almost

any engineer. They may mean different things to different engineers, but all
these meanings are pretty much always correct since different products
require different design methods.

The words “tool design” are a little fuzzier. Even engineers who find the
phrase familiar are prone to misunderstand it.

Design Principles
Our interest lies not in the differences between tool design and product
design. Our approach is from an entirely different direction: we want to
study how the principles of product design can be applied to tool design.
This is not as radical as it may sound, since the tool itself is a product, of
course: it is the product that’s designed by the tool engineer or tool
designer. From our perspective, the tool that’s being designed is a product
like any other product, except that it may itself be used to manufacture
other products.

This means that the requirements that the tool-designer faces should be
similar to those faced by the (to use the term in its traditional meaning)
CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Product Design vs. Tool Design

product designer. The familiar trinity – time – cost - quality - apply here too.
Tool designers too have to grapple with the problems of designing the tool
faster, making the tool itself cheaper, and improving the quality of the tool.

There are important differences of course, as we’ll shortly see, but from a
simulation perspective, tool designers stand to derive similar benefits from a
successful application of CAE1.

Unfortunately, not all manufacturing processes are amenable to simulation:

we just don’t know enough of mechanics to be able to reliably simulate the
performance of several manufacturing processes using mainstream CAE
techniques. There are other ways to model these processes, of course. For
instance, some are modeled empirically, some use abstracted models, etc.

HyperWorks itself offers methods to simulate several manufacturing

processes - forging, friction stir welding, extrusion, molding and forming.
Metal forming is itself a vast subject – as we’ll summarize in the next
chapter – but there is one process in particular that has shown itself to be
amenable to FEA and gained widespread adoption in the recent past. That’s
the focus of this book.

Apart from the fact that metal forming is well suited for CAE, it’s also a huge
business worldwide. For instance, in the automotive industry a typical
vehicle program averages US$ 500,000 per toolset. Automotive dies
worldwide are a 25 Billion USD business!

Conflicting Demands
Unlike the traditional product designer, the tool designer, like Damocles, has
to contend with a peculiar problem. Remember that time – cost – quality are
the most fundamental objectives of any design. Unfortunately for the tool-
designer, the design of the tool has an impact not just on the cost of the
tool itself, but of the products that are manufactured using this tool. This is
because product-marketing companies recover the price of the tool from the
price of the products. The mathematics is not always simple. The direct
contribution of the tool cost to the cost of each product is easy: it’s the cost
of the tool divided by the number of products manufactured using this tool.

Short for Computer Aided Engineering, usually taken to mean Finite Element
Product Design vs. Tool Design CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

But there are several indirect costs that are harder to account for. For
instance, since the tool is bound to wear, the denominator in the previous
equation depends on the design, which determines the tool life. Further, the
amount of raw material that’s required for each product also depends on the
efficiency of the tool itself. If there’s a high wastage, the contribution of
material-cost to the cost of the final product will rise.

The tool-designer’s misfortune is not complete yet.

Many times by the time the tool-designer gets
involved in the product-design cycle, the product
specifications in terms appearance, function, etc. are
already frozen. This means the tool-designer has to “When I first entered the
live with constraints that make a difficult job even automotive business in 1980,
harder to deal with. And since the clock is already there were approximately 30
ticking – the project is already underway! – the tool original equipment manufacturers
(OEMs) globally. While the exact
designer’s brow is understandably furrowed. The cost
numbers will vary a bit depending
of the tool, the cost of personnel, etc. are often upon the source used, in that
insignificant compared to the cost of delay for the same year, there were
OEM. approximately 35,000 automotive
suppliers worldwide. Fast forward
What all this boils down to is the fact that even to 2006, and we have 13 OEMs
though the design principles are similar for product and somewhere between 6,000
design and tool design, tool-designers and product- and 8,000 suppliers globally.
designers are often at loggerheads. All the aspects North American OEMs concluded
that by tiering their supply base,
that product designers drive for – aesthetically
there would be greater product
pleasing appearance, reduced weight, tightly innovation, better manufacturing
controlled dimensions, … - seem perversely chosen efficiencies, and faster time to
to make the tool designer’s job that much harder. market. The Tier Ones would
maintain their relationship with
One solution is to push for a closer integration the OEM and all of the other
between the manufacturing shop-floor and the suppliers would organize
product-design department. Involving experienced underneath them. Tier Twos
machinists in the design cycle as early as possible would focus on components or
sub modules, Tier Threes would
makes sense, but is not always possible. This is
focus on processes, and Tier
particularly true in the layered-procedure that OEMS Fours would primarily be material
deploy to work with long supply-chains. As a rule, the producers.”
automotive industry, the aircraft industry and the From The New Supply Chain
consumer electronics industry divide the product- by Kim Korth
lifecycle among the various levels of the supply- Automotive Design and Production

Design For Manufacture is intended to make this

CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Product Design vs. Tool Design

easier, but relying on feature-based modeling doesn’t always work

adequately. Given the pressures of product design, too many product
designers end up making unreasonable demands of the tool-designer.

Obviously since both the designers – tool and product – are working towards
the same goal, this is not a happy situation at all.

What, if anything, can simulation do to help? Quite a bit, it turns out.

Tool Design - Analysis, Design and Optimization

The techniques discussed in the other books in this series cover the use of
analysis and optimization in product design, but pay little attention to
manufacturability of the product. It is readily apparent, from the discussion
above, that this is an aspect that needs to be addressed: since careful part
design can help, it makes sense to provide the product designer with
techniques that can help estimate the manufacturability of the product.
Since we don’t expect the product designer to be an expert with all aspects
of manufacture, the simulation-method needs to be easy to use and suitable
for an order-of-magnitude estimate. Further, since product designers are
involved in the early part of the design cycle, the simulation tool should be

The tool designer, as opposed to the product designer, is certainly expected

to be an expert on manufacturing techniques. This means the simulation
techniques must provide the tool-designer with enough coverage to match
the level of expertise. And since the tool designer gets called into the design
process after the product specifications are largely decided, the simulation
technique must be powerful enough to provide the tool designer to
investigate, in intricate detail, the impact of product-design changes on the
cost and performance of the tool. Finally, even if product-design changes
are ruled out, the simulation technique must give the tool designer ways to
drive for a first-time-right tool design.

Analysis of a design is easier than the design itself. An analyst starts with a
well-defined problem and searches for the solution. In contrast the designer
is faced with a problem that is rarely clearly defined, and that almost always
has more than one acceptable solution.

If CAE is used to verify a design, it’s often too late in the design cycle to
implement any changes that the analyst recommends, unless the analyst
predicts failure. Wouldn’t it be great if the designer had a method that

Product Design vs. Tool Design CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

could help suggest designs that are least likely to get rejected by
subsequent CAE? In other words, we would like to put forward our definition
of a “satisfactory” design, and have the software suggest to us a tool-design
that is most likely to pass the subsequent analyst’s verification.

This discussion, then, leads us to a few unarguable points:

• CAE is used more widely for product design than tool design

• tool-design can and should use similar CAE methods

• product designers need a quick and relatively approximate

method to estimate manufacturability

• tool designers need detailed and accurate methods to simulate

the performance of design alternatives

We’ll spend the rest of this book investigating how to convert these wishes
to fact.

If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my
Abraham Lincoln

CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Metal Forming – An Overview

Metal Forming – An Overview

Many design methods can be reduced to formulae – concise and convenient,
if not always easy to work with. Manufacturing topics, by nature, tend to be
much more difficult to encapsulate. Both the width and depth can be
intimidating, and even a cursory summary will take more time and space
than we can afford.

Since there are several books that do the job admirably, we won’t attempt
to reproduce the material here. Our goal in this chapter is to summarize the
metalworking processes that are relevant to our simulation goal.

Metals – Cradle To Grave

In (the) search for lighter cars, the
Of the 88 elements in the periodic table2, 61 automotive industry shows a
are metals, from Lithium to Bismuth. Few of considerable interest in the application
these occur widely enough to be affordable, of aluminum for car body panels.
and even fewer provide the strength that
structural design demands. Almost The basic requirement for those
invariably, mechanical engineers rely on sheets is to have a high formability, so
either Steel or Aluminum. In either case, the the panels can be stamped, while
retaining or preferably increasing their
journey from the ore to the pure metal is
strength when the part is painted and
not of any interest to us. What is important baked.
to remember is that neither iron nor
aluminum is usable in its purest form. The formability and strength are still
Almost invariably, they are alloyed to inferior compared to steel.
provide desirable characteristics.
A Comparative Study of Two Al-Mg-Si
While the methods we will study in this Alloys for Automotive Applications
book can be applied to Aluminum too, our Scripta Materialia
VOL. 35
focus will be restricted to steel, which is
more widely used than Aluminum for 15 Oct 1996
structural purposes3.

When tool-designers talk of the raw material, then, they mean the physical
form in which it is received for further processing.

Excluding the Lanthanides and Actinides
Aluminum is widely used in the aircraft industry, where it is being seriously
challenged by composites.
Metal Forming – An Overview CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

Metalworking starts where the furnace leaves off. Steel is either cast in
ingots and rolled to a more manageable size, or continuous casting delivers
billets or blooms directly from the furnace. Rolling, apart from reducing the
size, also work-hardens the material. Properties of the metal, of course, can
be manipulated by one or more of several heat-treatment processes –
annealing, quenching, tempering, and so on – as well as by surface
treatment processes such as nitriding or carborising. Aluminum is frequently
extruded, unlike steel. Both metals can be cast, using either gravity die-
casting or pressure die-casting, following which machining provides the
necessary finish and dimensional control. From a tool-design perspective, all
the operations above involve the design of a tool – whether it’s the cutting
tool used for machining, the die for casting, or the rolls for rolling.

The raw material doesn’t have to be purchased as billets, blooms or rods:

sheets are usually sold as coils. A sheet of thickness more than 4 mm is
normally referred to as a plate. The word sheet is used if the thickness is
between 0.5mm and 4mm – any thinner, and it is called a foil.

Sheet Metal
Sheet metal is not only inexpensive and lightweight, it can be worked quite
easily. As a result, it’s used pretty much everywhere – from computer
cabinets to roofing sheets. Sheet metal is sometimes specified by its gauge4,
which is not always easy to interpret since the gauge refers to the weight of
the sheet, not it’s thickness. As a result, a sheet of one alloy can have a
different thickness than the same gauge sheet of another alloy.

Sheets are produced by either hot or cold rolling. The latter is more difficult,
but produces stronger steel since it’s work-hardened. Cold-rolled steel is
usually annealed to improve its ductility.

Methods of converting the raw material to finished component involve one

or more operations like bending, forming, stamping, drawing, deep drawing,
punching, piercing, lancing, blanking, trimming, flanging, embossing and
coining. For instance the commonly used beverage cans are first blanked,
deep drawn, redrawn, ironed, domed, necked and seamed!

It’s not always easy to distinguish between stamping, forming, embossing

and drawing. The differentiating factor is usually the depth of deformation –
that is, how much the metal is deformed from its raw state. From another

Sometimes spelt gage
CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Metal Forming – An Overview

point of view, drawing involves a flow of the material while the others do

Piercing, punching, lancing, trimming and

coining involve fracture of the metal, while the The development of the automotive
body represents a major challenge for
other processes only involve plastic flow. From
all manufacturers as they continuously
a stress-analysis perspective, this means that
work to reduce the time and cost of
the metal is deformed beyond the yield point, bringing a new vehicle to market.
so that plastic deformation occurs. While Using practices such as concurrent
elastic deformation vanishes when the applied engineering, rapid prototyping and
forces are removed, plastic deformation is computer simulation, manufacturers
permanent. This is significant. In courses on have reduced their development costs
the Strength of Materials or the Design of and lead-time by integrating process
Machine Elements, we usually seek to ensure engineering and manufacturing into
the design phase or "front end" of
that the stresses are below the elastic limit of
body development. This integration
the metal. In our sheet-metal working process,
has been far less common from the
we want to design the process such that the product and process design phases
stresses are above the yield point. forward into the manufacturing
validation phases.
The mechanics of fracture is not fully
understood. Neither, for that matter, is the Changing a part dimension typically
plastic deformation of steel, but there are requires physical rework to the dies.
several theories that serve adequately well This rework may involve several
iterations making it an expensive and
from an engineering-design point of view. As a
time-consuming process. Moreover,
result, simulation of sheet metal forming is the effects of excessive die rework are
today largely restricted to the processes that not limited to additional construction
involve plastic flow. and tryout costs. Several
manufacturers maintain that numerous
Traditionally sheet metal processes assume rework iterations for a set of
that the raw material has uniform properties. component dies also impacts the
This is reasonable when working with coils, reliability of the tooling. Constant
which are produced in bulk5. In some cases, grinding and welding of dies increases
the likelihood of subsequent tooling
however, the standard-sized blanks are welded
together to provide a non-standard size to the
metalworker. Called tailor welded blanks, these An Integrated Approach to Body
pose a slightly more complicated design Development
problem since the properties of the blank in Auto-Steel Partnership
the neighborhood of the weld are different
from the properties in the rest of the material.

Studies do show variation within strips, but these are often within the acceptable
Metal Forming – An Overview CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

This complication, of course, is the main reason the designer turns to them
– because it allows you to tailor the properties of the blank by choosing
which part of the blank should have which properties.

In any case, the tool designer’s goal is to design both the tool and the
process so as to ensure that after the metalworking is done, the finished
product meets specifications. Specifications themselves can vary widely. In
some cases, notably the outer panels of car bodies, the finish must be good
enough that the product need be subjected to no more work, except
painting. In other cases, dimensional accuracy is critical. Some product
designers demand a thickness that’s close to uniform. The last is often
specified as a permissible thinning percentage.

And in addition to meeting these specifications, the tool designer must also
ensure that the tool-life is adequate, the tool cost is kept as low as possible,
and the process requirements are within the capability of the available press
shops! If, for instance, the tool designer chooses a blank that is too thick,
the press itself may get damaged.

Drawing The Fuller Picture

Bending (using a press brake) is well documented, and easy to design for
mainly because the deformation is along a straight line. The designer’s
prime interest is in understanding the stretch that the bending process
induces. Hand calculations are usually enough to provide engineering
accuracy. Many CAD packages also allow the calculation of the unfolded or
developed shape, given the final product.

It’s when the deformation is along a more complex path that CAE is

This “complex path” is the characteristic of the

three “forming” processes: stamping, drawing
and deep-drawing. (The principal modes of
deformation that characterize forming are
stretching and bending.) In all of these, a
press deforms the raw material or blank. The
blank is held by a blank-holder or binder,
between the punch and die. When the punch
and die are forced together by the press’ ram,
the metal deforms.

CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Metal Forming – An Overview

In some cases the punch is above the blank – the

working principle is the same.

Presses are principally of two types – mechanical

and hydraulic. The latter, as the name suggests,
uses fluid pressure to generate the forming force,
like the Bramah Press that’s used in high-school
physics classes to explain hydrostatics. The press
was invented by Joseph Bramah and patented in

It’s interesting to note that Bramah was principally a lock-maker: the fact
that locks require high-precision components motivated him to develop tools
to assist in the manufacturing process.

There are several differences between mechanical and hydraulic presses,

but the only ones that are important to our study are the speed of the press
and the forming force, as we will see when discussing simulation. Hydraulic
presses are easier to control, which means the designer can choose a force-
vs.-time variation. With mechanical presses, the designer doesn’t have this

Presses are also categorized as single acting, double acting or triple acting.
A double acting die, for instance, has two slides. In addition to the ram the
ejector also moves.

Further methods of categorization exist – based

on the bed size, the shut height, and so on - but
are not listed here as they are not important for
our study.

A closer look at the press itself, focusing on the

die and punch, shows us the parameters that are
important to the die designer.

If the deformation is plastic, the metal remains in this deformed shape. If

the deformation is elastic, the metal regains its original shape – it springs
back to the undeformed shape when released from the die. In many cases
the deformation is largely plastic, leaving some pockets of elastic
deformation. This leads to springback.

Metal Forming – An Overview CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

Remember that after bending, residual compressive stresses remain on the

inside of the bend, while residual tensile stresses are present on the outside
radius of the bend. When the bending force is removed, the metal springs
back until the residual stresses are balanced by the metals ability to resist
deformation. Materials like steel that have a high Modulus of Elasticity (as
compared to tensile strength) spring back less than materials with a lower

One way to account for springback is to provide a compensation – bend the

material beyond the required angle, so that after springback it is in the
required shape.

Of the several questions the tool designer has to answer, one of the most
vexing is how many stages are required to form the component.
Components that have a low draw-depth (relative to the major transverse
dimension – for example, the radius of a cup) can be formed in one stage,
while deeper draw depths require a multi-stage process. That is, the blank is
worked in different dies to reach the final shape.

The goal is to reduce the number of stages as far as possible, since both
cost and time-required are directly proportional to the number of stages. For
instance, the component shown above can be completed in a single stage if
a double-acting press is used, even if the depth demands two stages with a
single-acting press. Sometimes a transfer die is used to automatically move
the component from one stage to the next, reducing material handling costs.

Regardless of the number of stages, the cost of the press and dies often
means that OEMs adopt a hub-and-spoke approach. In this approach, a
single press-shop feeds several assembly shops. If the gap between the time
of manufacture and the time of assembly is large, the component may
deform under its own weight. Remember that we are dealing with sheet-
metal which is thin, and is often quite long and wide, as with a car bonnet.
This is a product-design problem, not something the die-designers have to
worry about.

CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Metal Forming – An Overview

But components like these pose another problem for the die-designer. If the
formed component is thin enough that it will sag under its own weight, the
blank will be, if anything, even more flexible. This means that when the
blank is placed on the binder, the designer needs to account for the gravity-
related deformation that takes place before the punch makes contact with
the blank. This gravity-effect can significantly change the behavior of the
tool, so should not be ignored6.

In some cases the binder is curved, in which case the bending of the blank
when the binder is clamped shut, before the punch contacts the blank, is
called binderwrap. Like the gravity-effect, this too can significantly change
the behavior of the tool.

Hydroforming is a technique that is less widespread, but not only is it often
commercially viable, it is sometimes essential. It is often used to form tubes,
with operations like bending, flaring, beading and bulging.

The press, of course, is hydraulic, but the critical difference with the more
“traditional” hydraulic press is the method of application of force on the
blank. For tube hydroforming, for instance, fluid at a high pressure is forced
into the tube. This pressure makes it deform. Apart from the fact that a
liquid can enter areas that a solid punch or die cannot, the advantage is that
the pressure is uniform all across the component7.

Hydroforming is slower since the fluid pressure has to be ramped up, and
hydroforming presses are more expensive to construct. The effect they have
on the strength of the finished component is sometimes so useful that the
increased cost and slower production rate is acceptable as illustrated by the
table8, in which the “baseline” costs are for a “traditional” forming press:

See CAE And Design Optimization – Basics for methods used to stiffen sheet-metal
components after assembly.
As Pascal’s Law tells us it should.
See Lightweight SUV Frame – Design Development, May 2003, on the Altair
Metal Forming – An Overview CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

Baseline Hydroformed

Annual Sales – 220,000 units $58,400,000 $72,200.000

Tooling $19,400,000 $17,500,000

Capital $1,800,000 $2,600,000

Component Cost per vehicle $265.65 $328.18

Process Parameters
Now that we are familiar with the general machine and tool related aspects,
let’s take a closer look at the process of forming itself.

We know that the tool-designer’s job starts from where the product-designer
left off. Decisions or choices made by the part-designer will obviously have a
significant impact on the tool-designer, of course, but there are some
aspects that can be decided entirely by the tool designer. These aspects,
specific to the manufacturing process, are what we call the process

From what we have studied so far, we know that the tool designer’s goals

• to reduce the tool cost

• estimate the blank shape and size

• decide the number of stages

• calculate the required press tonnage

• to maintain the specified thickness of the formed sheet

• to achieve the required finish – wrinkles and tears must be


The tool designer has to choose a combination of process parameters that

will yield a component that matches these specifications. And this is where
simulation shows its power!
CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Metal Forming – An Overview

Sheet metal behavior during actual press production is difficult to define and
measure. Production involves the interaction of many variables, which
means that the impact of one variable on the process outcome can be
difficult to even observe, let alone measure9!

Current research10 holds that there are about 30

parameters that must be specified to define the “Stamping processes have so many
forming process. input variables affecting variation,
with some estimates at well over
This is bad enough from a manufacturing 100, that even world-class stamping
perspective, since it means that all these factors operations routinely operate outside
should be controlled if the manufacturing of statistical control, with non-stable
process means between die sets,
process must be repeatable. From a tool
especially on larger flimsy parts.
designer’s perspective, it is even worse! Even if
the 30 parameters had the simplest possible Manufacturers experience difficulties
binary form, that is if each is restricted to being estimating mean part dimensions,
either “on” or “off”, this leaves the designer with relative to nominal and process
designer with 230 possible combinations – that’s variation because these attributes are
1,073,741,824 combinations. In reality, of product and process co-dependent.
course, most of the parameters can vary Potential attributes affecting variation
continuously, making an already difficult problem include material properties (steel
variations in gauge, grade, and
almost impossible to tackle.
coatings), part geometry (size and
shape), die engineering and
Fortunately, research has shown that the construction, and stamping press
parameters are, like most other things in the variables. The infinite number of
world, subject to the Pareto Principle. That is, design and process possibilities make
there are a vital few parameters that have the it nearly impossible to accumulate
most effect on the outcome of the process. The sufficient historical knowledge for a
same work cited above classifies these into designer to accurately assign
seven categories: blank condition, blank tolerances that consistently meet
future process capability.”
lubrication, stamping press variables, metal
properties, die condition, miscellaneous, and
from Automotive Sheet Steel –
interactive variables. For our purpose, the Stamping Process Variation
process variables that are important are: The Auto-Steel Partnership, 2000
• velocity of the tool – direction of

See CAE and Design Optimization – Advanced for a discussion on the Design Of
Experiments (DOE) to study such affects.
Siekirk,J., Process Variable Effects on Sheet Metal Quality, Journal of Applied
Metalworking, American Society for Metals, July 1986
Metal Forming – An Overview CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

motion and variation with time

• properties of the material

• thickness of the sheet

• lubrication

• binder force

• punch and die radii

• clearance between the punch and die

This helps reduce the problem to a more tractable level, and allows
remarkably accurate simulation of the complex process, as we will see in the
subsequent chapters.

Before we go on, though, it’s important to note that in some cases the
product design specifies the material to be used, while on other cases the
tool designer has some room to maneuver. This is a mixed blessing since
not all parameters of steel improve in tandem. For instance, as hardness
rises toughness (or shock resistance) usually falls.

Either way, the tool designer needs to estimate the formability of the
material – that is, how is it likely to flow within the die under a given set of
process parameters.

Of all the process parameters, lubrication is one that merits a special
discussion. In the first place, friction is poorly understood even today. The
“laws” of frictions should really be called “theories”. In the second place, the
lubricants are not easily quantified.

What is a lubricant? In general, it’s a substance that is interposed between

two surfaces in relative motion. The purpose is to reduce friction between
the surfaces, and thereby reduce wear.

In the context of sheet metal forming, lubricants have multiple origins and
multiple effects. In several cases, a coating is applied to the sheet at the
steel mill to inhibit rusting. This often remains on the sheet, and can be used

CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Metal Forming – An Overview

to aid forming. In other cases, a lubricant is applied in the press shop after
the blank has been cut from the coil or sheet. Alternately, a lubricant may
be applied selectively to assist flow in critical areas of the die.

Lubricants should be cleanable, compatible with all subsequent treatments

the component will undergo such as the application of an adhesive or a
surface coat, cost effective, storable, weldable, non-toxic, and so on.

From an impact-on- formability perspective, the lubricant principally affects

the coefficient of friction between the tool surfaces and the blank. A low
coefficient of friction encourages flow, while a high coefficient of friction
retards flow. The lubricant also helps by preventing accumulation of metal
on the tool - called galling. If galling occurs, scoring, the plowing of the
metal, will follow.

Critical Data - Material Properties

Steel is a material that engineers have worked with for long years now, so
its elastic properties are familiar to every undergraduate engineer – the
density, Poisson’s Ratio and Young’s Modulus or Modulus of Elasticity.

Forming, as we have seen, involves plastic flow, so we must expand our

lexicon a little.

The yield stress and tensile strength of the material are easily obtained from
the stress-strain curve.

If the stress exceeds the tensile limit, the material will fracture, which means
our sheet-metal will tear. Between the yield point and fracture, the material
undergoes plastic deformation. There are several theories of plasticity, but
one has been found to work well for the simulation of sheet-metal forming –
power-law hardening. Under this theory, the stress strain dependence is of
the form

σ = K ∗ (ε 0 + ε ) n

where K is the strength coefficient, ε0 is the pre-strain coefficient and n is

the strain-hardening exponent.

n is given by

Metal Forming – An Overview CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

(d [ln σ T ])
d [ln ε ]

where ε is the strain

K can be calculated using the equation

σ u ∗ en

where σu is the tensile strength, e is 2.718 (the base for natural logarithms)
and n is the strain-hardening exponent.

Once we have K, we can use the equation

σ  n
ε 0 =  y 
K 

to calculate ε0.

Some materials exhibit strain-rate sensitivity. That is, the stress-strain

relationship is given by

σ = kε n • ε& m
In this case, we calculate m using the equation

(d [ln σ T ])
d [ln ε& ]

where ε& is the strain rate, , and σT is the true stress

(Recall the difference between engineering stress / strain and true stress /
strain: the former uses the original dimension while the latter uses the
instantaneous dimension.).

CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Metal Forming – An Overview

Finally, we commonly assume that steel is isotropic, which is reasonable

below the elastic limit. Sheet metal forming, however, needs to account for
a form of anisotropy because of the way the sheet is manufactured – the
rolling process results in a different “flow-ability” in-plane and out-of-plane.
The Lankford coefficient11, also called the anisotropy ratio, is defined as the
ratio of the width-plastic-strain to the through-thickness plastic strain. The
higher the value, the easier it is to draw the material.

The value of r is direction dependent, so often we calculate r - the average

of the r in the 0, 45 and 90 degrees directions and ∆r using the equations

(r o +2r45 + r90 )

∆r =
(r o −2r45 + r90 )

A high value of r and a low ∆r indicate better formability.

In effect, therefore, we can characterize the plastic-behavior of the steel by

specifying the strain-hardening coefficient n.

To sum up, the data we require is

• the Poisson’s Ratio – typically 0.3

• the Modulus of Elasticity – typically 2.07E11 N/m2

• the density – typically 7,830 kg/m3

• yield stress – for example, 390 MPa for a High Strength Steel

• tensile strength – for example, 469 MPa for a High Strength


• strain-hardening coefficient n – for example, between 0.2 and

0.3 for steels with a yield stress < 345 MPa

Named for Lankford W.T. Published with Snyder SC and Bausher JA, Trans. ASM
1950; 42:1197
Metal Forming – An Overview CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

• anisotropy ratio r – for example, 1.0 to 1.4 for cold rolled

rimmed steel

All this is from a theoretical perspective, but it doesn’t tell the complete
story. The tool-designer has to actually get these values!

One option is to measure it, while the other – and more reasonable – option
is to get it from the supplier of the steel and verify it by testing a sample. It
is important to pay attention to quantifiable parameters, as opposed to
descriptive terms. For example, the terms “stronger” and “harder” are not as
useful as the yield-stress and Rockwell hardness respectively.

Its (Almost) All About Steel

It would be foolish to claim that sheet metal is only about steel: applications
that demand good electrical conductivity, for instance, use copper or brass.
Specialty applications or areas where the cost of production is not the most
critical factor – such as aerospace – work with more exotic metals, often in
the form of sheets. Metal itself, of course, is often challenged by composite

In this book, however, we will restrict our attention to steel, as we have

already noted. This is not just because steel is still very widely used. It’s also
because, despite the steady inflow of worthy challengers, the champion isn’t
done just yet.

As a recent review12 observed:

"In North America legislative pressure to reduce fuel consumption has

sparked the search for a lighter car. Aluminum and plastics can indeed
produce vehicles that are lighter than current steel models. And these
lighter vehicles also have other benefits, such as fewer parts, by using
space frame construction though steel could also do this.

An aluminum panel weighs about half as much as a steel panel of

equivalent strength, and using more aluminum could, it is claimed, also
meet other criteria, although the past 15 years have seen considerable
savings (albeit offset by luxury fittings and safety features) achieved

CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Metal Forming – An Overview

through rationalization of car body structures and the use of lighter gauge,
higher strength steels.

At present, alternative materials are most competitive in low volume

production where tooling, rather than materials, most affects unit cost.
Aluminum could reduce body weight by up to 40%, but new steel
technologies promise reductions of up to 35%, leaving aluminum only just

Euclid taught me that without assumptions there is no proof. Therefore, in any

argument, examine the assumptions.

Numerical Analysis – An Introduction CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

Numerical Analysis – An Introduction

The simulation technique we will study is based on the Finite Element
method. But just as you do not need to know thermodynamics to use an
internal-combustion engine, our study of Finite Elements will be restricted to
specific items only. We will study enough that we can use the method,
rather than the underlying theory in depth.

Read this chapter and the next with this in mind. In this chapter, we outline
the basics of FEA as relevant to our application – the modeling and
simulation of sheet-metal dies, punches, and the blank. We will complete
our study of the FE method in the next chapter13.

Numerical Models
As a designer, you need to anticipate the behavior of the product you’re
designing. You will need to guess at the conditions it is likely to be exposed
to, and then to predict how it will respond to these conditions.

In some situations, the behavior is independent of time – these are called

steady state problems. In others, the solution varies with time – these are
called transient problems.

In some situations, the response of the body to stimuli is linear. That is,
there is a linear correlation between input and output. Such a model is,
obviously, called a linear problem. Other situations are non-linear because
there’s no linear dependence between stimulus and response.

It’s important to remember that the product you’re analyzing does not know
whether it is “linear” or not. You, as the analyst, can choose to model it as
linear or as non-linear, depending on which is more likely to give you useful
results. Since we are designers, not mathematicians, we are not interested
in results that are “exactly correct”. We are willing to settle for
“approximately correct” provided we get the results in time and at a cost we
can afford.

As you know from your courses on Linear Algebra and Differential Equations,
linear equations are far easier to solve than non-linear equations. Therefore,

A Designer’s Guide to Finite Element Analysis, a part of this series, covers FEA in
more detail, and from a more general perspective.
CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Numerical Analysis – An Introduction

we very often choose to model behaviors as linear even if a non-linear

model is more precise. We tend to choose non-linear models only if there’s
no linear model that’s even reasonably accurate.

Non-linear models are of several types – the materials used, the geometry
involved, or conditions on the boundary can cause the “non-linear” nature.
Examples of material non-linearity are plastic deformation, melting and
solidification – the stiffness of the body changes as the material properties
change. Other problems involve geometric non-linearities - the stiffness
changes as the body deforms even if the material’s properties do not change
– take for example the reduced rigidity of a plastic bottle as it is crushed. An
example of boundary non-linearities is contact, because the stiffness of the
part or assembly changes as sections come into contact with each other.

Some models, such as those required to simulate metal-forming, involve

several of these types of “non-linearities”.

What is FEA
Finite Element Analysis (FEA) simulates a physical part or assembly’s
behavior by dividing the geometry of the part into a number of elements of
standard shapes, applying loads and constraints, then calculating variables
of interest – deflections, stresses, temperatures, pressures, etc. The
behavior of an individual element is usually described by a relatively simple
set of equations. Just as the set of elements would be joined together to
build the whole structure, the equations describing the behaviors of the
individual elements are joined into a set of equations that describe the
behavior of the whole structure.

One way of looking at it is to recall the approach you studied in Engineering

Mechanics14. There, you drew free body diagrams of each member in the
structure, wrote equations that related the unknown forces in each member,
then wrote equations that had to be satisfied for the forces between
members if equilibrium is to be satisfied. Solving these equations gave you
the forces in each member.

Elements themselves are defined by specifying the nodes, which are the
vertices of the element. Just as 4 corners define a rectangle, the nodes
define the shape of an element.

A more complete discussion is presented in A Designer’s Guide To Finite Element
Numerical Analysis – An Introduction CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

When you choose an element to represent a part of the product, you are
also specifying the parameters that define the behavior across the element.
For instance, in a stress analysis, if you know the 6 components of
deformation15 at any point, you can calculate the strain from this by taking
the first spatial derivative. And once you know the strain, you can use the
material properties to calculate the stress. For the Finite Element Method,
every node has these parameters associated with it, just as in a truss-
structure every member has forces associated with its end-points. From the
values at the nodes, you can interpolate for the values between the nodes.

Suppose you were asked to digitize a surface, using a Coordinate Measuring

Machine. Unless your surface were absolutely flat, you would not space the
measurement points evenly. Since you have to interpolate between
measured values, you would naturally choose to have more measurement
points at areas where the surface curves sharply. In mathematical terms
these areas have a high derivative, or rate-of-change.

In a similar fashion, for an FE analysis you would create smaller elements

(which means more nodes) at areas where you expect the stress to be
high16. The choice of the sizes of elements depends on many things - the
anticipated stress levels of a certain area, the detail wanted in the results,
the stability of a solution algorithm, the available computational power, and
so on.

A Finite Element program takes the elements you have defined, lists the
equations for each unknown value, puts them together as a matrix equation,
then solves all these for the values of the unknown parameters.

The equilibrium equation is of the form

[K ]{u} = { f }
Since it’s analogous to the equations of spring-deflection, K is often called
the Stiffness Matrix, u is called the deformation vector, and f is called the
load vector. K is a square matrix, with one row (and column) for each

The 6 components are the translations along the 3 axes, and rotations about the 3
A high stress means a high strain, from Hooke’s Law. Strain is the first derivative
of deformation. Hence a high stress area is one where the deformation has a high
derivative. And this, of course, means the rate-of-change of deformation is high in
areas of high stress.
CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Numerical Analysis – An Introduction

unknown variable in the problem-definition. If, for instance, you have used
100 nodes in your model, and each node has 6 unknowns17, your stiffness
matrix would be 600 x 600. u and f are each column-matrices. In our
example, each has 1 column and 600 rows.

A computer is required because of the large number of calculations needed

to analyze a part or assembly. It is not uncommon for a model to have more
than 1,00,000 unknowns (called degrees of freedom). The power and low
cost of modern computers has made Finite Element Analysis available to
many disciplines and companies.

What are Finite Difference Methods?

The Finite Element method is applicable to spatial-variations – that is, it can
be used to calculate the variation of our quantities of interest over space.
What if the quantities vary with time too? Such problems are called dynamic,
and require transient analysis as opposed to static or steady-state analysis.
For a problem in dynamics, the matrix equation above turns out to be

[M ]{u&&} + [C ]{u&} + [K ]{u} = { f }

For transient problems, the Finite Difference method is usually used. In this
method, derivatives are represented as differentials. For instance, the

u& = v =

is approximated by the familiar difference equation

ut + ∆t − ut

While the approach is logical and simple, there are some subtleties to this.

In a transient analysis, we must know the initial conditions. In this example,

then, we must know ut and vt. From this, we can use the difference equation
to calculate

The 6 components of deformation are the translations along 3 axes and the
rotations about the 3 axes
Numerical Analysis – An Introduction CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

ut + ∆t = vt • ∆t + ut

Since we have ut and ut+∆t, can we estimate vt+∆t? If we can, we can apply
the equation above to estimate ut+∆t. And by stepping forward in time, we
can calculate the solution at any required instant of time. But estimating the
value of vt+∆t is ambiguous. As shown in the figure, it is not clear to us
whether the tangent (which is what v is) that we can calculate using the
u t + ∆t − u t

is more correct at time = t, or time = t+∆t or somewhere in between.

Clearly, unless the time variation is linear, our calculated derivative is likely
to be wrong at any point. Which should we choose?

Without going into the detail, we will simply note that the choice leads to
different finite difference methods – the backward difference method, the
forward difference method, the central difference method, and so on.

&& .
Similar logic is applied to the calculation of the acceleration, u

Important Terms
As with any technical subject, Numerical Analysis has a wide range of terms
that have very specific meanings given the context. Here, we’ll review those
that are particularly relevant to our task.

An element is a shape for which the Finite Element program can write out
the equations relating the unknown and known quantities. An element is
defined by its nodes – the unknowns at each node are called the degrees of

Shapes that are accepted in most finite element programs are triangles,
quadrilaterals, lines, tetrahedra, pentahedra and hexahedra.

The sizes of and the number of elements usually have a bearing on the
accuracy of the solution. As problems become more complex (advancing in
complexity from linear-statics to nonlinear-dynamics), the requirements on
shapes and sizes of elements become increasingly stringent. These
CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Numerical Analysis – An Introduction

requirements are often referred to as mesh-specifications, and these are

usually strongly analysis-program dependent.

In most analyses, the more the number of elements, the better the results.
However, the computer time and disk-space required to solve the equations
also goes up. Most analysts have to settle for a quality of results that they
can afford, given the available computer resources.

Element Types
Choosing the element type is an important part of any Finite Element
analysis. Elements are categorized based on their shape or topology, the
number of nodes needed to define them, and the mechanics or behavior
they represent.

Element types are usually solver dependent – they vary based on the solver
used. The elements listed below are specific to OptiStruct, but are available
in almost every commercially available analysis package.

Categorization based on Mechanics

Beams and Bars (or rods or trusses) are represented by one-dimensional
elements – lines or curves – but can lie in 3D space. Plain Strain, Plane
Stress and Axi-symmetric elements are two-dimensional shapes that can be
used only if the entire model lies in one plane only. Plates and Shells
represent surfaces that are two-dimensional in the sense that they have no
volume, but lie in 3D space. Solid Elements represent volumes.

Categorization based on Topology

Standard 2D Elements (plane strain, plane stress, axi-symmetric, plate and
shell) are either triangular or quadrilateral.

Standard 3D elements are either tetrahedral, pentahedral, or hexahedral. A

pyramid with a rectangular base is a pentahedron, as is a wedge. However
the two are different element types: the pyramid has 5 nodes while the
wedge has 6. Not all solvers support pentahedral elements, and some
support only one of the two pentahedra.

In most stress-analysis problems, quadrilateral and hexahedral elements are

preferred over triangular and tetrahedral elements. For reasons that you can
find in the references listed at the end of this volume, they give much better
results: more accurate and less CPU intensive.

Numerical Analysis – An Introduction CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

1D elements are all (topologically) curves – either straight lines or arcs,

depending on the number of nodes. Typical applications are as beams, bars,
rods, pipes, springs, cold- or hot-runners, and axi-symmetric shells.

Categorization based on Order

The variation of the unknown quantity between nodes is assumed (by the
analysis code) to be linear, or quadratic, or cubic, etc. Linear and parabolic
elements are the most common. Linear elements have two nodes along each
edge, while parabolic elements have three nodes along each edge.

Further refinements do exist – for instance, parabolic quadrilateral elements

can have either 8 or 9 nodes.

Geometry Preparation
While it is possible to build a model directly using elements and nodes, this
is not often done today. The geometry that defines the area to be analyzed
(also called the “domain”) is usually created first using a CAD program, and
elements are created to encompass that boundary or represent the volume.

CAD designers create models for manufacture. As many details are included
as possible. For a numerical analysis, we often choose to ignore aspects that
we think will not significantly affect the solution. For instance, a single hole
of 1 mm radius in a plate that is 2 meters wide can probably be ignored
safely when calculating the deformation of the plate.

Therefore the first task that most analysts are faced with is that of preparing
the geometry for analysis. This involves tasks like removal of features,
extraction of mid-surfaces, extrapolation of surfaces, etc.

Further, the CAD world has an abundance of data exchange formats, since
most CAD applications use proprietary data storage formats. A transfer of
data from the CAD package to the FE preprocessor sometimes results in a
loss of accuracy – gaps are introduced during the import process, for
example. Also, CAD assembly models are sometimes made up of parts that
were created in different CAD applications.

Therefore a cleaning-up of the geometry is often required. This involves

filling gaps, eliminating small edges or surfaces that will mislead the
automatic-mesh-generation routines, eliminating dangling faces, and so on.

CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Numerical Analysis – An Introduction

Mesh Creation
Once the geometry is more or less ready for discretization, you then start to
subdivide the geometry into elements or grid points. The collection of
elements is usually referred to as a mesh. Meshes that consist of triangular
or quadrilateral elements can often be generated automatically, while
tetrahedral or hexahedral meshes usually require considerable manual

Mesh Editing
Once a mesh has been created, the analyst checks if it meets the
specifications – several measures of quality are checked, depending on the
analysis requirements. Usually, some editing of the mesh is required.
Depending on the complexity of the mesh, this can be done either semi-
automatically or manually.

Preparing for Analysis

Once the mesh is ready, additional data is specified – the properties of the
materials used, the thickness or cross-sectional properties of shell or beam
elements, the conditions on the boundaries (restraints, loads or excitations),
initial conditions, data for the specific solution algorithm to be employed,
kind of output required for text and graphics records, and so on.

Once this is done, the data is turned over to the solution program for the
next phase – solving. Data is often written out in the form of a text file,
which is referred to as a deck. Each line of text in the deck is commonly
referred to as a card. A card image is the format followed by the analysis
program to interpret the text on the line.

The procedure of building the Finite Element Model is sometimes referred to

as FEM – short for Finite Element Modeling. Some books, however, use FEM
to refer to the Finite Element Method.

The model created in the earlier steps is now taken up for solution – the
computer program reads the data, calculates matrix entries, solves the
matrix equations and writes data out for interpretation.

Numerical Analysis – An Introduction CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

This task is CPU-intensive, and is often called processing18. Most of the time,
very little interaction from the user is required. In some cases, the analyst
periodically monitors results to check that they are indeed on the right track.
If the solution seems to be evolving in an unexpected direction, the analyst
can stop the solver and modify the model, thereby saving valuable time.

After the program has evaluated the results, the analyst examines and
interprets the data – looking for errors or improvements in design.

As with pre-processing, this calls for substantial interaction from the analyst.

Guidelines on Element Choice

Learning which element to choose is a little like learning driving. Guidelines
exist, but can’t be applied blindly. You need to adapt them to specific

In the specific context of sheet-metal, we most often use shell or plate

elements. In other words, our finite element modeling task is much simpler
than the problem the general finite element model has to contend with.

Summing Up
This last aspect is comforting, since model preparation usually takes up to
80% of many analysis tasks. Unfortunately for us, there are no free lunches:
our challenge lies in the complexity of the solution. Remember that the
simulation of sheet metal forming is not only a transient problem, it involves
all three types of non-linearities – material, geometric and boundary. In the
next chapter we’ll look at the strictures imposed on us by methods used by
today’s analysis techniques, and how to deal with them effectively.

I don't think knowledge should be an obstacle to understanding.

Maurice Biot

Hence the term pre-processing for the preceding steps, and post-processing for
the subsequent steps.
CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Finite Element Methods And Forming

Finite Element Methods and Forming

Forming is a complex process, and the Finite Element method is often
difficult to apply correctly. It’s logical, then, to conclude that the application
of finite element methods to sheet metal forming will be even more

Somewhat surprisingly, this is not the case.

First, we have seen that a relatively small subset of the forming process
parameters is adequate – this simplifies the first part. Next, the finite
element method’s strength comes from its generality. It is applicable to a
wide range of problems. Our focus, however, is very narrow – this helps cut
out a lot of the complexity in the second part of the package.

If even this reduction in complexity is not enough motivation, a review of

the historical methods of design brings home the fact that CAE is

A Retrospective
Since metal forming is a lot older than computers or the Finite Element
method, it’s logical to ask how designers managed before the advent of
numerical simulation. That’s a little like asking how people handled
transportation before the advent of the automobile: they managed, but it
wasn’t elegant and it wasn’t efficient.

Arguments between designers and engineers were all too frequent. “The
engineers may say the design is too difficult to execute; it's going to add
weight or cost. They ask if they can move something an inch.” said
automotive legend Bob Lutz in an interview19, “We say, No, the whole
vehicle concept depends on the integrity of the design. Try to work with it,
without watering it down."

Die design was based on heuristics to estimate the die-face. This was
followed by tryout, which meant the die and punch had to be manufactured
and experimented with. The experimentation almost always led to
considerable rework. Worse, the time taken to arrive at an acceptable
design and suitable process parameters could rarely be forecast.

See the Corporate Design Foundation -
Finite Element Methods And Forming CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

Estimation of the blank shape and size was another source of concern. In
the first place, procedures to estimate the blank size were reliable only for
single-stage draws. Further, such estimates were less accurate than desired
(remember that wasted material adds to material cost) since graphical
methods were used in the main. These methods are roughly similar to the
development-of-surfaces methods covered in basic engineering drawing
courses. They take into account the shape of the object, but do not allow for
the flow of the material. This explains why these methods are not suitable
for deep-drawing: as the flow of material increases, the method’s accuracy

Tool and Die making was, in the good old days, largely an art. Simulation
has helped turn it into a science. The pressure exerted by consumer demand
has helped drive the push towards more reliable and accurate forms of
design. The changes in the shape of cars is an excellent example – in the
interview cited above, Bob Lutz explains

“In the teens, cars looked like horseless carriages. In the late '20s
and '30s, they became very boxy, and in the mid-'30s, they
became boxes with rounded corners. Toward the end of the '30s,
streamlining came in. In the '50s, we got into the "pontoon" shape
where the fenders disappeared. Then we moved more and more
toward pure aerodynamic shapes.”

The conclusion is clear: pre-CAE methods of tool-design left a lot to be


But history is not all bunk. Two methods that tool designers have long relied
on are instructive: circle-grid analysis and the Forming Limit Diagram20

Circle-grid analysis involves electrochemically etching small circles onto the

surface of the blank. After the tryout, the deformation of the circles is
examined. Since a deformed circle is an ellipse, the direction of the major
and minor axes of the resulting ellipses indicates the direction of maximum
and minimum deformation. Further, the percentage stretch can be
measured, which in turn indicates the engineering strain.

Also called the Keeler-Goodwin diagram.
CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Finite Element Methods And Forming

A high stretch of the circle indicates forming problems, but we can do even
better than this. Each material has a particular failure-strain ratio under a
given set of process parameters – the limit depends mainly on the sheet
thickness, the strain-hardening exponent, and so on. That is, if the ratio of
major and minor strains exceeds this value – the forming limit - the metal
will tear.

To use this measure of failure, we first plot the forming limit curve on a
graph, with the minor-strain on the x-axis and the major-strain on the y-
axis. Now using the values measured from the circle-grid analysis, we check
whether the various points on the blank are under or over the forming limit
curve. If all circles are under the FLD, the forming process is safe.

Note that this method does not remove the need to tryout. Instead, it
improves the utility of the tryout by providing a quantitative measure of the
results of the tryout. Remember that the FLC itself has to be determined
experimentally. If the specimen has local defects (tearing, thinning, etc.),
the FLC is obtained by measuring the major and minor strains in areas that
have defects and neighboring areas that are defect free. This boundary is
plotted as a solid line on the FLD.

The Tool Designer and The Analyst

Now advances in computing capabilities have been faster than advances in
basic mechanics. Accordingly, simulation techniques today tend to use the
FLD to estimate formability: the mechanics is the same, but the tryout can
be done numerically. Instead of physically building and testing under various
combinations of process parameters, we run the simulations on the

What this means is that the analyst today cannot dispense with the tool-
designer. The tool-design experience and insight guides the combinations of
parameters to simulate. In the absence of such guidance, the analyst is
faced with literally infinite combinations! Optimization techniques can help
address this issue, but these are beyond the scope of our discussion21.

One of the main reasons for this dependence on tool-design experience is

that metal-forming is very much a manufacturing process. Industry practices
and local conditions must be accounted for. There is little use in specifying a
process that is not achievable by the available press-shop!

See CAE and Design Optimization - Advanced
Finite Element Methods And Forming CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

Consider, for example, the choice of the addendum. As shown in the figure
(the exploded view is shown on the right), this is the region between the
undeformed blank and the finished component – it’s trimmed off after the
forming is complete.

The product designer specifies the final component, which is what you get
after trimming. Assuming the blank is a flat sheet (as it will be for the first
stage of any drawing operation), what should the shape of the addendum
be? Obviously this is a decision related to the die-face itself. One way to
construct the addendum is to use blends, fillets and other CAD operations to
fill the area between the trim-line and the flat sheet. However, the
addendum design itself can critically impact the flow of material. Proper
addendum design ensures uniform panel stretch, since it affects the balance
of material movement.

On a related note, consider the design of the blank-holder. If a material

does not flow evenly, it will either wrinkle (because the material is flowing in
too fast) or it will thin, and perhaps tear (because it isn’t flowing in fast
enough). The blank holder pressure can be adjusted to ensure looser or
tighter gripping of the component. But what if the component is not

In the first figure on the left, since the section A is the same as section B,
the effect of blank holder pressure is the same on both. But in the second
figure, the two sections are unequal. If the same blank holder force is used,
side A will wrinkle or the other side will tear.

Controlling blank holder pressure locally is not always possible. To deal with
the situation shown, the designer has to slow down the flow of material on
one side – this is done using a draw bead. Just as a speed-bump on a road
forces vehicles to slow down, the bead retards flow of material in the blank.
The designer has to specify the location of the bead, its radius and height,

CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Finite Element Methods And Forming

after which the analyst can check the performance of the die in a given

The Product Designer and The Analyst

The discussion above is relevant to the tool-designer, but what of the
product designer? If analysis shows that the part as-designed is hard to
manufacture, chances are the part design itself may need to be modified.
Early in the product life cycle, many parameters are still open to change. As
the design cycle progresses, it becomes harder and harder to implement
changes, since other disciplines are involved.

An early-warning system that can help identify extremely-hard-to-

manufacture products will certainly be useful. Several CAD packages offer
some checks for this – one such check is the search for an undercut, the
presence of which can complicate the die-design considerably. If the part-
designer can avoid an undercut, the subsequent tool-design becomes easier.
Several such guidelines are available for the product designer: avoid unequal
draw-wall depths, avoid drastic shape changes, minimize the depth of the
draw, design for trimming in one direction, provide reliefs at the flanges,
and so on.

Most of these guidelines are qualitative, not quantitative. The tool-designer

must work with the actual values, while the product designer only seeks to
follow a general approach.

Applying the same logic, the tool-designer needs a quantitative measure of

the formability, while the product designer can benefit from a qualitative
measure, provided it is quick and convenient.

Using Finite Element models to carry out a non-linear finite element analysis
allows a detailed simulation of the draw process. This approach is called
incremental analysis, since the analysis program steps-forward in small
increments of time, and is ideal for the tool-designer.

An inverse-method, similar to the manual blank-size calculation method is

better suited for the product designer. Not only is it extremely fast, it also
provides order-of-magnitude estimates of the various parameters of interest
– the blank size and shape, the FLD and so on. As with the manual-
calculation method, the inverse method is reasonably accurate for single-
stage draws, but loses accuracy and relevance rapidly as the number of
stages rises.

Finite Element Methods And Forming CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

Incremental Analysis - Numerical Aspects

The forming process is quite rapid, often finishing in a few milliseconds22.
The duration, in fact, is of the same order as the duration for which car
crash-tests are conducted. It’s not surprising, then, that the numerical
techniques used for the simulation of sheet-metal forming have drawn
heavily on the methods perfected by vehicle-safety analysis software.

Events of such a short duration are inherently hard to simulate – both the
numerical methods and the theories of mechanics are not as general as
desired. As a result, several FE modeling decisions are governed by a
combination of theory and practice.

In this section, we will review the modeling approaches used specifically for
the simulation of sheet-metal forming. These are not applicable to FE
analysis in more general circumstances. This has one very useful side-effect:
the availability of these guidelines makes it easier for the analyst to simulate
forming even without an in-depth understanding of the mechanics and the

This is a remarkably useful aspect. Metal-forming is one of the most

challenging problems in solid mechanics. It involves all three types of non-
linearity (geometric by virtue of the large deformations and strains involved,
material by virtue of the plastic deformation, and boundary since contact is
involved). Since the guidelines address the most critical aspect of simulation
– modeling – even this challenging task can be carried out with a high
degree of confidence.

Choice of Elements
Finite element modeling involves two important choices at the mesh-
preparation stage. The first is the type of elements to use, and the second is
the size of the elements. Since the blank is a sheet, shell or plate elements
are appropriate. Automatic mesh-generation for shell elements is quite
advanced, which this makes this stage quite easy.

The punch and die must also be modeled, of course. But our interest lies in
the force they exert on the blank, not in the deformation they themselves
undergo. Accordingly, we can model the punch or die using shells too and

The velocity of the ram of a mechanical press is of the order of meters / second,
while the draw depth is of the order of millimeters or centimeters.
CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Finite Element Methods And Forming

then tell the analysis program that they are to be treated as infinitely rigid
elements. This avoids one of the more time consuming aspects of general FE
modeling – the construction of hexahedral elements.

In either case one guideline is to ensure that there are no fewer than 6
elements for each quadrant of a circular arc.

Explicit vs. Implicit

Time-integration methods are categorized as implicit or explicit methods.
Without going into the mathematics, we will simply state the relevant

• it is faster to calculate the solution for each step using an

explicit method

• explicit methods are conditionally stable – that is, the time limit
must not exceed a specific value. As a result, explicit methods
require more time steps than implicit methods for the simulation
to reach the same elapsed-time.

We know that the forming itself is fast, of the order of milliseconds.

Accordingly, we invariably use an explicit time integration method to
simulate this.

Springback and gravity-analysis are slower – so we use an implicit method

for these parts of the simulation.

Time Step Size: The CFL Criterion

But what is the maximum permissible time-step size for an explicit
integration method? The step-size is limited by the Courant-Frederick-Levy
criterion. This imposes a theoretical limit on the maximum time-step, based
on the time it takes for a stress-wave to propagate across the element.

For a shell element, the maximum time step time is given by

∆te =

Finite Element Methods And Forming CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

where c is the speed of sound in the material and Ls is the characteristic

length of the element23.

We can calculate c for any material using the Elasticity Modulus E, density ρ
and Poisson’s Ration ν and the formula

ρ (1 − υ 2 )

For a given mesh, the time step is limited by the smallest element in the
mesh. In other words, the finer the mesh, the smaller the time step. A finer
mesh size will give more accurate results, but the time for analysis will go up
not just because the number of elements has increased but because the
number of steps will also rise – because the time step size reduces as the
element size reduces.

This doesn’t seem very helpful, in itself, particularly when we remember that
forming involves large deformation. That is, the element shape itself will
change considerably as the analysis progresses.

One option is to start with elements that are small enough that the
deformation will not change the element’s shape appreciably, but this is
hard to decide before carrying out the analysis. And the analysis cannot be
carried out until the elements are chosen. The answer to this impasse lies in
the use of adaptive refinement.

Adaptive Refinement
One remarkable facet of the finite element method is that the error in the
analysis can be estimated from the approximate solution itself. Programmers
can use this characteristic to adapt the mesh based on the estimated error.
This is of enormous help, since it frees the analyst from the burden of
choosing the “right” element size. You can specify a reasonable size and let
the program itself correct the mesh as the analysis proceeds.

There are several different ways in which the mesh can adapt – the
elements can be reduced in size (h-adaptive), the order of interpolation can

The characteristic length can be calculated in several ways, as explained in the on-
line documentation. One option is to use the altitude of the element as the
characteristic length.
CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Finite Element Methods And Forming

rise (p-adaptive), nodes can be relocated (r-adaptive), or a combination of

these (hp-adaptive, for instance).

If the program uses adaptive refinement, it must also check and change the
time-step size as the analysis proceeds, of course, using the CFL criterion as
a limit. At each time step, the program checks the maximum time step
permissible, as decided by the smallest element in the mesh.

The smallest element, then, works as a bottleneck – it limits the time step
size. What if there are only a few elements that are so small? Mass-scaling
provides a way out.

Energy Balance
Non-linear analysis, particularly when it involves friction (which is a non-
conservative force) is more of an engineering tool than a numerical science.
In a precise calculation, energy is always conserved. In many explicit
analyses, we tolerate some imbalance in energy in return for a reduced
analysis time. Depending on the problem, some level of loss of energy from
the system is usually tolerated. The actual tolerable level depends on how
much time and effort you can afford, but 10% is often deemed acceptable.

Mass Scaling
In a similar vein, we are often willing to artificially boost the mass of
elements in order to increase the time step size. The justification for using it
lies in the fact that we may be unwilling to let a small section of the model
penalize the rest. Accordingly, we may tell the program to increase the
density of elements by a particular factor, provided the mass of the whole
model does not rise by more than (for instance) 10%.

Mass scaling helps since the mass of the element appears in the numerator
of the CFL criterion, so an increase in mass increases the time step. Of
course, this increase in mass is physically meaningless, and does degrade
the accuracy of the analysis.

As the punch approaches the die, the program must check whether or not
contact has taken place. It must then track the deformation of the blank and
the movement of the punch, using the die face as the limit. Depending on
the lubricant used, the coefficient of friction determines the friction forces
and consequent energy loss. Implementing this search-and-solve process is
computationally expensive, and difficult.
Finite Element Methods And Forming CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

Contact algorithms today are much more robust than they were even a few
years ago, and by and large are fairly reliable.

Simulation of forming requires powerful computing resources, a working
knowledge of the finite element method, access to process and material
data, and an excellent understanding of the manufacturing processes

It is challenging, there’s no doubt about that, but is remarkably accurate

when applied right. With these techniques, verification of designs for
forming, stamping, drawing and deep-drawing can be modeled reliably and
accurately, taking into account binderwrap and gravity-deformation. Further,
springback can be calculated so that compensation can be provided at the
design stage if necessary.

Operations that involve fracture (like trimming and piercing) cannot be

simulated in themselves, but can be included in the simulation flow. For
instance, we can predict how holes will change shape as the metal is
formed, and whether the component will change shape after trimming as
residual stresses are released.

Implicit in all this, of course, is the fact that the simulation is only as good as
the data: if the material data is unreliable or if the process parameters are
incorrectly specified, it is foolish to expect the results to be realistic!

Several other aspects like design of the die face, optimization of the die, and
estimation of the affect of residual stresses on the strength of the part are
also possible using current simulation techniques, but are beyond the scope
of this book.

If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts.

Albert Einstein

CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Putting It All Together - HyperForm

Putting It All Together: HyperForm

After all the discussion of how careful we must be to get the process
parameters right, to get the material data right, and to setup the numerical
analysis right, HyperForm can seem like an anticlimax. It is entirely possible
for a beginner to setup, run and present the results of an analysis in a
fraction of the time it takes to conduct a more general finite element

This is not because our earlier discussions were off track: it is indeed true
that simulation of metal-forming is indeed difficult to conduct and it’s all too
easy to generate wrong results. It is HyperForm’s modeling approach,
coupled with the relatively focused demands of the task, that make it so
easy to get going. In this chapter we

• summarize the tasks HyperForm can be used for

• review the data required for complete definition of the problem

• how to review results

Process-Centric Modeling
Many design-and-modeling tools are hard to learn because they provide a
combination of depth and breadth. HyperMesh and HyperView, for instance,
can be (and are!) used for an extremely wide variety of very demanding

Our goal is much less general: we are restricting our attention to one
specific type of product (sheet-metal) and one specific process (forming).
Accordingly, we do not need a modeling application that can be used for
general requirements; we need an application that talks the language of
metal forming. Further, we expect the application to be used either by tool
designers or by product designers. As we have seen, there are some
common approaches and some differences between the approaches that
tool and product designers take.

HyperForm addresses exactly this process: starting from the designed

product, it provides options for the product-designer and the tool-designer.
And it is this aspect, this tailor-made application for the specific product and
process, that makes it so easy to setup and perform the analysis.
Putting It All Together - HyperForm CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

But don’t let this ease of use lull you into feeling secure. While it’s easy to
use HyperForm, and results can be remarkable accurate, it is also extremely
easy to generate results that are off-track. After getting comfortable with
HyperForm, in fact, it’s a good idea to go back and review the earlier
chapters to recall the areas that are absolutely critical!

An extract from a recent article24 serves well to drive home the limitations
and strengths of simulation, and to stress the importance of design know-

Initial claims for forming simulation were probably exaggerated: (the)

reality is that running simulation will generally add time to the
development program – the time and cost savings result from avoiding
problems later which can throw the intended program off track. It is clear
that applying simulation effectively has the potential to avoid major
problems and save huge amounts of time and money.

There is (an) issue to resolve regarding who is responsible for the die
design. If the (product designers) uses Die Face Engineering to create a
full tooling model they can examine formability of their own designs.
However the simulation results will only be valid for this die face – if the
product is then sent to an external tooling engineer there is no guarantee
that the same process will be adopted. On the other hand, is the (product
designers) issue their tooling process to the tooling engineer they will
potentially be taking responsibility for the tool design, with major
implications if the process does not, after all, make an acceptable part.

Remember this difference in roles – tool designer and product designer -

since it is central to the approach HyperForm takes.

Forming Simulation – What and How

The product designer’s goals are to check whether the tool is formable. This
is quite a hard task, since early in the design stage the material itself may
not have been frozen. Further, a design that is hard to manufacture in a
single stage may be eminently manufacturable if multiple stages can be
used. So the product-designer’s analysis is not so much to identify the
process parameters that are best suited for a design proposal: instead, the

Dutton, T., Review of Sheet Metal Forming and Simulation – Progress to Date,
Future Developments, 8th International LS-Dyna User’s Conference
CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Putting It All Together - HyperForm

product designer’s requirements will be met if the simulation shows that the
product is easy to manufacture in a single stage.

Such a product, it is reasonable to expect, will pose few problems for the
tool designer later in the design cycle.

Tool designers, of course, need to run what-if-analyses to check the various

alternatives available to them. This analysis must be accurate, even if
demanding. But there’s another problem tool-designers have to deal with
that’s less technically demanding but no less important for the impact it has
on cost.

Remember that the tool designer is often requested to commit to a cost-of-

manufacture for a given product. That is, the tool designer not only has to
design the tool, but also has to estimate the cost-per-manufactured-part,
and agree to supply the parts at that price if the order is awarded. The tool
designer cannot be sure that the order will be won, so cannot afford to
invest heavily in simulation. The time for that will come after the order has
been won. At the same time, the tool designer must respond rapidly, since
the enquiring customer is shopping for a reliable and reasonable price. How
can the tool designer deal with this? Remember that there are two costs:
the cost of design and the cost of manufacture. The former is a one-time
activity. The latter is a running cost. It is directly proportional to the number
of parts produced, since costs like labor and raw-material cost are incurred
for every part that’s produced. Errors in the estimation of the raw material
required, that is the blank, can be expensive indeed!

The need of the hour, obviously, is to get an estimate on the size of the

Going one step further, the blank itself is cut from a coil or strip of sheet
metal. The problem is to choose an arrangement of blanks on a given width
of coil so as to minimize wasted material. The two products shown clearly
show that one necessitates a higher wastage than the other.

It makes sense, then, to introduce discuss HyperForm separately for each of

the three tasks: one-step inverse simulation, incremental analysis, and blank

In any case, HyperForm starts where CAD leaves off – data from a CAD
package is essential to get started with simulation. The product itself is

Putting It All Together - HyperForm CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

essential, and depending on the role played by the analyst, additional data
may be required too, as we will see.

One-Step Simulation
The only data we require is the CAD model of the product itself. If the
component has holes, we can investigate both alternatives – one where the
holes are made prior to forming, and the other where the holes are made
after forming. To simulate the latter, we just fill the holes up before carrying
out the analyses.

The component is first checked for undercuts – that is, whether it can be
ejected properly from the die. To check this, we need to set the draw
direction (the axis of relative travel of the punch and die). The convention in
HyperForm is that the tool travels along the “Z” axis. If an undercut is
detected, in some cases it can be fixed by altering the orientation of the
product relative to the draw direction. This is called tipping.

Once the product has been oriented correctly, we generate a finite element
mesh. The elements only need to be fine enough to satisfy the requirements
of the “inverse” method (described earlier) that’s used to estimate the blank
shape. Automatic mesh generation is usually adequate.

Then we specify the material used and the thickness of the sheet. This can
be selected from a library of data that comes with HyperForm or, if accurate
data is available, can be entered explicitly.

That’s it – the model is ready for analysis. Given this data, HyperForm
calculates the blank shape and the FLD diagram.

The latter serves to check whether the product is likely to wrinkle, tear, or
exceed the maximum permissible variation in thickness.

The approach above is reliable for parts that can be formed using a single
stage, and that do not require post-forming trimming. If the part requires
trimming, the flange that is to be trimmed off can be added to the mesh
before simulation, of course. This method requires a little more caution,
since the size of the flange can affect the formability. It does offer the
advantage that the impact of drawbeads can be investigated: you can run
the simulation with and without drawbeads to determine whether t his
impacts the results.

CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Putting It All Together - HyperForm

Since the analysis is not very detailed, the normal approach is to use
analytical drawbeads. That is, instead of actually modeling the bead itself, a
line or curve that represents the center of the draw bead is specified, and
the analysis carried out.

Blank-size estimation and Nesting

Once the blank size has been calculated, how do you calculate how to lay it
out on a specified strip? HyperNest, a part of HyperForm, is the module you
would use for this. Our focus in this book is on the simulation of formability,
so we will not discuss this here – look up the on-line documentation for

Incremental Analysis
Setting up a problem for a more detailed analysis – using the incremental
solver instead of the one-step solver – is similar, except that there are a few
more parts to be modeled, and a few more process parameters. Once you
understand the principle, the same approach can be followed regardless of
how complex the forming sequence is. So we’ll first segregate the processes,
then look at the steps.

• Gravity analysis, binder-wrap analysis and springback analysis

are all similar in that they can be treated as static events. That
is, the time-variation of deformation or forces is insignificant: all
we want to calculate is the shape of the product and the stress-
distribution when it reaches steady-state. Accordingly, we use
an implicit time integration scheme for these steps. Since we do
not expect large stress variations in these steps, we can also
use a relatively coarse mesh for the analyses.

• Actual forming – when the blank undergoes plastic deformation

under the effect of the punch and die – is very definitely a
transient analysis. Here, we use an explicit time integration
scheme given the short duration of the calculations. Since the
component deforms quite dramatically, we must either start
with a mesh that’s fine enough to capture the worst state, or
use adaptive refinement. While a fine mesh is undoubtedly
better, practical considerations mean that adaptive refinement is
normally used.

• The last step that is important for our simulation is trimming.

This is an operation that involves metal fracture, not flow, and

Putting It All Together - HyperForm CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

we have already said that this is hard for us to simulate since

the mechanics is poorly understood. But trimming releases
residual stresses, so if we are to carry out springback analysis,
we have to include trimming if the analysis is to be realistic. The
approach we use is a workable compromise. We don’t simulate
the cutting process itself. Instead, before springback analysis we
remove the elements that represent the regions that are
trimmed off. Since the remaining element free boundaries are
stress free, this allows us to allow for the release of residual

From a logical perspective, we can view each of these 3 steps as

independent analyses. This allows us to build complex processes by simply
performing them in the sequence that a particular process may require,
regardless of how many stages are involved, how many times the
component is trimmed, and so on. And this is exactly what HyperForm does,
except that it takes care of the book-keeping and administrative work
involved in transferring data from one step to the other.

Unlike the one-step analysis, however, incremental analysis can be

exceedingly computationally intensive. Analysis times of several hours are
not uncommon!

Data Required
HyperForm makes it easy for us to setup the analysis, but the reliability of
the results depends strongly on the quality of the data. Data required is of 4
principal types:

• Material properties – Elasticity Modulus, Poisson’s Ratio, Tensile

Strength, n, r, Density

• Geometry of the blank, punch and die

• Process specifications – lubrication, blank holding force, tool

kinematics (velocity) and drawbeads

Material data is best obtained either from the steel-suppliers, or from actual
tests. The geometry of the blank, punch and die are best obtained as CAD
data from the die designer – remember that the addendum, for example,
can significantly affect the performance. It’s up to the analyst to ensure that
the mesh is fine enough, as discussed earlier.

CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Putting It All Together - HyperForm

Experience has taught us that some process specifications allow us a little

more liberty. The friction coefficient, for example, can rarely be estimated
reliably, so order-of-magnitude assumptions from previous successful
simulations are usually adequate. The punch velocity is almost always scaled
up to reduce simulation time. Many presses do not allow for accurate control
of the blankholding force which means we cannot estimate the actual forces
reliably. So even if we know that the force is not uniform across the blank,
we often assume it is.

Summary of Steps Involved

For one-step analysis:

• import the CAD model of the final component

• fill holes if they are to be created after the forming

• generate a shell mesh of the component

• orient the component so the draw direction is along the z-axis

• check for undercuts and tip the component if necessary

• specify the material properties – indicative values are adequate

• specify the thickness of the component

• identify areas that are to be trimmed, if any, so that the solver

can take these into account when estimating the blank size

• specify analytical drawbeads, if any

• run the analysis

• inspect the results – thinning, formability and press tonnage.

Thinning percentage is best viewed as a contour, while
formability is best viewed as the FLD

For incremental analysis:

Putting It All Together - HyperForm CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

• import the CAD model of the punch and die, if available, else derive
it from the component model25

• orient the components so the draw direction is along the z-axis

• mesh the blank, punch, die, binder (and ejector, if present) with
shell elements. The mesh should be created at the mid-surface of
the blank, and the clearance between the punch and die should be
captured accurately. Drawbeads are best modeled explicitly, instead
of using analytical definitions.

• specify material properties for the blank – this should be as accurate

as possible

• specify material properties for the tool – punch, die, binder and
ejector. Since we treat these as rigid (undeformable components)
the values are not critical

• specify the tool motion by assigning the velocity and maximum

travel to the punch

• specify the blankholding force

• use the multi-stage manager in case multiple steps (gravity,

springback, multiple-stages, etc.0 are involved

• run the analysis

• inspect the results – thinning, wrinkling, tool motion and the FLD.
Thinning is often viewed as an animated contour.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I
have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common

Remember that this is convenient, but not recommended since it means the
analyst is making assumptions that are best left to the die designer
CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Advanced Topics

Advanced Topics
The simulation of metal forming is a little like car-racing: extremely
satisfying when it works, but it can easily go off the rails. Few of the items
listed in this chapter are essential – they can be ignored unless you are
faced with a problem that requires that little extra.

Commercial Terms
Several steel alloys are designed specifically for their forming characteristics.

Steel’s properties are strongly dependent on the phase-composition –

martensite, bainite, austenite, pearlite, etc. Alloying elements affect the
properties too, as has been long recognized. Micro-alloyed steels increase
the hardness of the steel because of the presence of carbides of micro alloy
elements such as Titanium and Vanadium. Phosphorous-alloyed steel also
has increased hardness. Nitrogen and Carbon are used in Bake Hardened

Aluminum, Silicon or Manganese are added to molten steel (in the furnace,
before it solidifies) to reduce the oxygen content. Called killed steels
because the metal is less chemically active when cast, these have more
uniform properties than rimmed steels. Rimmed steels, which usually have a
carbon content below 0.15% (as against killed steels which have a content
> 0.25%) are formed because incomplete deoxidation allows the formation
of bottom and side rims that are purer than the rest of the ingot.

Steels are further classified as

• HSLA – High Strength Low Alloy

• HSS – High Strength Steel, with a yield strength from 210 to

550 MPa

• UHSS – Ultra High Strength Steels, with a yield strength > 550

• AHSS – Advanced High Strength Steel

• DP Alloy – Dual Phase Alloy steels that contain mainly ferrite

and martensite
Advanced Topics CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

• TRIP Steel – Transformation Induced Plasticity Steels that are

mainly austenite and martensite

• DQ – Draw Quality steel

• CQ – Commercial Quality steel

• DDQ and EDDQ – Deep Draw Quality and Extra Deep Draw
Quality steel

• AKDQ – Aluminum Killed Draw Quality steel

• CRDQ – Cold Rolled Draw Quality steel

• IF – Intersitial Free steel

HSS, AHSS and UHSS are more formable, as evident from the low ratio of
the yield strength to the ultimate strength.

Data Files – What Goes Where

Since HyperForm can take care of the data management for multi-stage
analyses, you’ll probably need to read this section only if you plan on
manually setting up the different stages.

The model you create using HyperForm is stored in a binary file with the
extension “.hf”. If the one-step solver is used, no other files are involved or

The incremental solver, though, is “external” to HyperForm. This makes

sense if you consider that since incremental analyses can take hours to run,
in some cases it is more useful to submit the analysis to the solver and exit
from HyperForm.

In these cases, the data in the HypeForm file is written out to a plain-text
file that’s sometimes called a “data deck” since each line in the text file is
the equivalent of the computer cards that were used to submit data to the
computer in the early days of computing26. The incremental solver in turn

See, for example,
CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Advanced Topics

writes a set of files which you should load for post-processing – to view the

.parm HyperForm input deck.

.out Model and run information.

.dat Input data summary.

.err Error file.

.res Results files.

_thk.nas NASTRAN deck with stamped thickness


opt.dat Input deck for optimization runs

I didn't fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.

Benjamin Franklin

Glossary and References CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

Glossary And References

Bed The main foundation and supporting structure upon which the
operating parts of the machine are mounted and guided.

Bending The shaping of sheet metal by straining the metal around a straight
axis. A bending operation compresses the interior side of the bend
and stretches the exterior side.

Binder Bounce On initial contact, the blank holder can bounce. As a result, the
material flows faster for this brief period – it’s not being held as
designed. Faster flow can lead to wrinkles.

Binder The upper and lower holding surfaces (part of the draw die) which
press the metal-sheet against the draw ring to control metal flow.

Blank A flat, precut metal shape ready for subsequent press operation.
The piece of sheet metal, produced in cutting dies, that is to be
subjected to further press operations. A blank may have a specific
shape developed to facilitate forming or to eliminate a trimming
operation subsequent to forming.

Blank The process of determining the optimum size and shape of a blank
for a specific part; the resultant flat pattern.

Blank Holder Same as binder.

Blanking A shearing operation that creates a hole in sheet metal by separating

an interior section. The removed piece of metal is the desired

Bolster plate A plate that is designed to hold in place the lower die shoe. The
bolster plate is attached to the top surface of the press bed.

Clearance The amount of space between the outer edge of the punch and the
inner edge of the die cavity. A proper amount of clearance is
necessary for an effective shearing operation.

Combination Die A die that performs more than one operation (e.g. blanking and
piercing) for each stroke of the press.

Compound Die See Combination Die

Deep drawing The drawing of deeply recessed parts from sheet material through
plastic flow of the material when the depth of the recess equals or
exceeds the minimum part width. A drawing operation where a part
CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Glossary and References
exceeds the minimum part width. A drawing operation where a part
is produced from a blank by the action of a punch in which the sheet
is pulled into a die cavity and the flange of the blank is compressed
in the circumferential direction. The area directly under the punch
remains undeformed.

Die A complete tool consisting of a pair or combination of pairs of mating

members for producing work in presses, including all supporting and
actuating parts of the tool. The upper member or members are
attached to the slide or slides of the press and the lower member is
clamped or bolted to the bed or bolster with the die members being
shaped to cut or form the material placed between them when the
press makes a stroke.
The main tool is typically attached to the lower portion of the die set.
The die contains a recess that provides space for the shaping or
shearing of sheet metal.

Die Holder Another term used for the lower die shoe.

Die Retainer A hardened steel block containing machined impressions or cavities

that shape the metal as the punch descends from above. The die
retainer also holds the die button.

Die Set The collective assembly of upper and lower die shoes, guide pins and
bushings, and punch and die retainers.

DQSK steel Drawing Quality Special Killed Steel, a highly formable grade of mild
steel usually aluminum deoxidized and sometimes referred to as
DQAK (Drawing Quality Aluminum Killed).

Drawbead A ridge constructed around a portion of a die cavity to control metal

flow. A groove in the mating blank holder allows die closing.

Drawing A sheet metal deformation process in which plastic flow results in a

positive strain in one direction in the plane of the sheet surface and
a negative strain at 90 degrees. The process of cold forming a flat
precut metal blank into a hollow vessel without excessive wrinkling,
thinning, or fracturing.
For sheet metal, a forming operation that transforms a flat disc of
stock into a hollow cup with an enclosed bottom. Drawing operations
can also create boxes and more intricate shapes as well.

Elastic limit The maximum stress to which a material may be subjected, and yet
return to its original shape and dimensions on removal of the stress.

Elongation The amount of permanent extension in a tensile test specimen.

Glossary and References CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

Engineering strain The unit elongation given by the change in length divided by the
original length. Preferably called nominal strain.

Engineering stress The unit force obtained when the applied load is divided by the
original cross-sectional area. Preferably called nominal stress.

Forming Limit An empirical curve showing the biaxial strain levels beyond which
failure may occur in sheet metal forming. The strains are given in
Diagram (FLD)
terms of major and minor strains measured from deformed circles,
previously printed onto the undeformed sheet.

Guide Post A hardened rod positioned in the lower die shoe that fits into a
bushing in the upper die shoe to guide the punch during operation.

Guide Post A hardened steel tube that slides over the guide post and directs the
upper die shoe during operation.

Hardness The ability of a material to resist permanent penetration by a much

harder body.

High strength steel By Auto/Steel partnership definition, any sheet steel product whose
initial yield strength is specified 30 KSI or higher. These include bake
hardenable steels.

Lock beads Draw beads designed to allow no metal flow.

Lower Die Shoe The lower plate of a die set that supports the die retainer and die

Lubricant Any substance interposed between two surfaces in relative motion

for the purpose of reducing friction and/or wear between them. Any
surface which has the specific property of reducing friction between
two surfaces in contact.

Major strain Largest principal strain in the sheet surface. Often measured from
the major axis of the ellipse resulting from the deformation of a
circular grid.

Metal clearance Depending on the stock thickness being used to make the part in the
die, it is the running clearance on the bottom of the press stroke
between flange steels or male and female form steels.

Minor Strain The principal strain in the sheet surface in the direction
perpendicular to the major strain. Often measured from the minor
axis of the ellipse resulting from deformation of a circular grid.

n value The work-hardening exponent derived from the relationship between

true stress and true strain. It is a measure of stretchability. Often
called the work-strengthening exponent.
CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Glossary and References
called the work-strengthening exponent.

Necking Localized thinning that occurs during sheet metal forming prior to
fracture. The onset of localized necking is dependent upon the
stress state which is affected by geometric factors.

Pilot A long, slender punch with a rounded tip used to position the metal
sheet by entering a previously formed hole. Pilots are longer so that
they enter the sheet before other tools form the metal.

Plain-carbon Steel A basic grade of steel, which contains less than 3 percent of
elements other than iron and carbon.

Plastic strain ratio A measure of the normal plastic anisotropy as defined by the ratio of
the true width strain to the true thickness strain in a tensile test.
(r value)
The average plastic strain ratio ( r ) is determined from tensile
samples taken in at least three directions from the sheet rolling
direction, usually at 0, 45 and 90 degrees.
It is a measure of deep drawability.

Press Brake A type of press with an open frame and very wide bed. Press brakes
are often used for bending operations, and they are typically
manually operated.

Brake Press See Press Brake

Progressive Die A die containing a series of stations that perform one press operation
after another in series. A progressive die gradually forms a part as it
moves through the die, and the last operation separates the part.

Punch The tool typically attached to the upper portion of the die set that
shapes or penetrates the sheet metal.

Punch holder Another term for the upper die shoe.

Punch press A machine with a stationary base and an upper ram that moves
along a vertical axis to shear, bend, or form sheet metal.

Punch retainer The device used to mount the punch on the upper die shoe.

Punching A shearing operation that creates an open hole in sheet metal by

separating an interior section. The removed metal section is
discarded scrap.

Ram The main upper portion of the press that slides up and down within
the press frame. The upper die shoe is attached to the ram.

Glossary and References CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

Slug The discarded section of scrap produced by a punching operation.

Station A position within a progressive die where a punch and die perform a
single metalworking operation. Progressive dies consist of a series of

Stripper A plate designed to remove sheet metal stock from the punch as it
pulls away from the die during the operation.

Stroke The distance marked by the farthest ends of reciprocating vertical

movement of the press ram.

Tensile strength The maximum stress that a material is capable of withstanding

without breaking under a gradually and uniformly applied load. The
strength calculated at the maximum load, in a tensile test, by
dividing the maximum load by the original cross-sectional area. The
ultimate strength of a material, measured in pounds per square inch
in tension on the original cross section tested, which, if exceeded,
causes sectional deformation leading to ultimate rupture.

Thickness strain Thickness strain is the change in thickness of the material due to
forming. Thickness strain or metal thin-out can be measured using
an ultrasonic thickness gauge. It is necessary to do some circle grid
analysis to determine the location of the thickness strain on the
forming limit diagram, but then this technique can be used as a
quick non-destructive test. Since this variable can be most closely
linked to breakage it will provide the primary comparison to setting
the level of critical process variables.

Tool Steel A type of steel designed for excellent wear resistance, toughness,
and strength. Tool steels are typically variations of high-carbon

Toughness The ability of a metal to absorb energy without breaking or


Upper Die Shoe The upper plate of a die set that secures the punch retainer.

V-bending A bending operation performed by compressing the sheet metal

between a V-shaped punch and die.

Wiping die The tool used in an edge bending operation that provides the corner
over which the extended portion of sheet metal is bent.

Work-hardening An increase in hardness and strength caused by plastic deformation.

Yield strength The stress at which a steel exhibits a specified deviation from the
proportionality of stress to strain. Generally, the yield strength is the
measure of the stress at which a steel sample will begin to
CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming Glossary and References
measure of the stress at which a steel sample will begin to
permanently deform under a tensile stress.

Yield stress A stress at which a steel exhibits the first measurable permanent
plastic deformation.

Eary, D.F. & Reed, E.A. (1997). Techniques of Pressworking Sheet
Metal: An Engineering Approach to Die Design

Ostergaard, D.E. (2000). Advanced Diemaking
From the American iron and Steel Institute – wealth of information
about steel.
From the American iron and Steel Institute – wealth of information
about steel.

Other Resources, which is periodically updated, contains case
studies of actual usage. It also carries tips on software usage.

Sample Material Properties

Be careful when using these properties. Some properties vary widely with
alloying elements or processing parameters, so treat these as indicative. It’s
probably safe to use them in exploratory design efforts, but not in designs
that will be manufactured. For those, you should look for values from the
material supplier.

Material Grade Yield Strength Tensile Strength n value r value

(MPa) (MPa)

HR DQSK 234.42 330.95 0.20 1.1

HR DQ 246.14 338.5 0.19 1.1

HR CQ 268.2 386.1 0.19 NA

Glossary and References CAE for Simulation of Metal Forming

CR EDDQ 137.9 303.34 0.26 1.9

CR DQSK 182.7 310.2 0.23 1.8

CR DQ 186.16 315.78 0.22 1.6

CR CQ 208.22 324.05 0.20 1.3

Also remember to check the units in your model – they must be consistent!
The recommended units for incremental analyses are:

 Length mm

 Stress MPa

 Blankholder force N

 Drawbead force N/mm

 Density mg/mm

 Time s

 Velocity mm/s