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An Overview Of FEM Applications In Metal Forming Process

By J.Muhammad Thanzeem Ibrahim Manufacturing Engineering Department of Mechanical Engineering B.S.Abdur Rahman University


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INTRODUCTION Finite element simulations are often required to reduce the experimental cost and time by reducing number of trials in the product development cycle. Metal forming is one of such area where a lot of trials are required to arrive at the die design to produce defect free parts.

The term simulation is derived from the Latin word simulare what means to pretend. However, the technical meaning of simulation is the description and reproduction of physical and technical processes by use of mathematical and physical models. In comparison with practical tests, the simulation often is cheaper and not so dangerous. Combined with modern methods of computation, the simulation is a powerful tool which gains more and more importance for describing and developing new processing methods. Because of higher requirements on the quality of products and narrow tolerances of measures, optimizing, planning and simulating of forming processes becomes more and more important. As the computational power has increased during the last years, numerical methods play an outstanding roll. The most important numerical method is the method of finite elements (FEM). Numerous finite element programmes have been developed which are able to solve linear, non linear, static, dynamic, elastic, plastic, elastic plastic, steady state, transient, isothermal as well as non isothermal problems DEFECTS IN METAL FORMING The deep drawing process is applied with the intention of manufacturing a product with a desired shape and no failures. The final product shape after deep drawing is defined by the tools, the blank and the process parameters. An incorrect design of the tools and blank shape or an incorrect choice of material and process parameters can yield a product with a deviating shape or with failures. A deviating shape is caused by elastic spring back after forming and retracting the tools. The most frequent types of failure are wrinkling, necking (and subsequently tearing), scratching and orange peel. Wrinkling may occur in areas with high compressive strains, necking may occur in areas with high tensile strains, scratching is caused by defects of the tool surface and orange peel may occur after excessive deformations, depending on the grain size of the material. The deformation patterns of the sheet material are influenced by the material properties and the processing and tooling variables.

Ways of Preventing Defects:

Generally, sheet material behaves anisotropically which means that the material shows a different deformation behavior in different directions because of the rolling process. An example
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of anisotropy is the development of ears in cylindrical cup drawing. The friction conditions during forming depend on the lubricant, the presence of coatings on the blank, surface roughness of the tools and the blank, blank holder pressure and process velocity. Without extensive knowledge of the influences of all these variables on the deep drawing process, it is hardly possible to design the tools adequately and make a proper choice of blank material and lubricant to manufacture a product with the desired shape and performance. As a result, after the first design of the tools and choice of blank material and lubricant, an extensive and time consuming trial and error process is started to determine the proper tool design and all other variables, leading to the desired product. This trial and error process can yield an unnecessary number of deep drawing strokes, or may even require redesigning the expensive tools. To reduce this waste of time and cost, process modeling for computer simulation can be used to replace the experimental trial and error process by a virtual trial and error process. The prime objective of an analysis is to assist in the design of a product. To design or select the tools and the equipment, such design essentially consists of predicting the material flow, determining whether it is possible to form the part without surface or internal defects, predicting the forces necessary to execute the forming operation and stresses induced during the operation.

Analytical Study of Metal Forming Process

Analytical study of Metal forming processes was started in the mid of 20th century . Later a number of analyzing methods have been developed and applied to various forming processes. Some of these methods are the slab method, the slip-line field method, the viscoplasticity method, upper and lower bound techniques and Hills general method. These methods have been useful in qualitatively predicting forming loads, overall geometry changes of the deformed blank and material flow and approximate optimum process conditions. Numerical procedures (finite difference method) were applied to analyze axisymetric deep drawing process in 1960s Althouh the work contributed to greatly to the development of theory of sheet metal forming analysis, that could not be applicable to the industrial components. However, a more accurate determination of the effects of various process parameters on the deep drawing process has become possible only, when the non linear finite element method was developed for these analyses . Later, three dimensional auto body panel forming process was simulated using elastoplastic finite element method by Arlinghaus and Tang . They simulated the drawing process of and left window outer and binder wrapping process of deck lid. But they were in the state of testing and evaluation. Because finite element analysis by that time is was still extremely time consuming and unreliable tool to the engineers in the press shop

Growth of FEM In Metal Forming:

Rapid developments in computer hardware make the finite element analysis of complex deformation responses increasingly applicable. The finite element method is used worldwide to simulate the deep drawing process and has become a reliable numerical simulation technology.
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For an accurate simulation of a real-life deep drawing process an accurate numerical description of the tools is necessary, as well as an accurate description of material behavior, contact behavior and other process variables. The numerical description of the tools is provided by CAD packages which are generally used by tool designers. The description of material behavior, contact behavior and other process variables evolved from rather simple models in the earlier days to more and more sophisticated models nowadays. Developments have been made in the field of finite element types, mesh adaptivity, material laws, failure criteria, wrinkling and surface defects, springback, contact algorithms, friction, and simulation of new processes (optimization and process design). The conventional finite element codes are based on implicit time integration. This involves repeated solutions of large systems of equations. Furthermore, equilibrium must be fulfilled after each incremental step. As a result, implicit codes are computational time and memory consuming. Hence, a new class of finite element codes based on explicit time integration was developed, resulting in a drastic decrease of computational time. Honecker first demonstrated the deep drawing of an oil pan and a radiator part by explicit method, obtaining deeply drawn shapes including wrinkle on the flange. After this several dynamic explicit codes specialized to the sheet metal forming were developed and many automotive industries started to develop these codes. In an explicit code no system of equations needs to be solved and static equilibrium is not checked after each incremental step, as the algorithm assumes an inertia dominated process. The explicit procedure is conditionally stable with a critical time step, which is proportional to the smallest element in the mesh . However, in most sheet metal forming processes inertia effects can be neglected. In order to apply the explicit algorithms in these processes, it is necessary to assume artificially high velocities and accelerations or artificially high mass density, which seems rather unrealistic.

Coding System
Mean while there were several activities to develop codes based on static implicit incremental approach . But convergence is the basic problem of this approach. To avoid the convergence problem static explicit codes were developed In a nutshell all these codes may be classified into five categories based on the formulation and solution strategy used. These are dynamic explicit codes, static explicit codes, Static implicit incremental codes, Static implicit large step code and Static implicit one step code. The dynamic explicit approach was originally developed for the problems in which dynamic effects are important, such as impact problems and crash simulation, and includes inertia in the equilibrium equations. The reasons for using a method like this in metal forming are two fold. The method is extremely robust and it is very efficient for large scale problems. In this approach the central difference explicit scheme is used to integrate the equations of motion. Lumped mass matrices are used, which implies that the mass matrix is diagonal, and no system equations has to be solved. A typical time step is of the order of a micro seconds and
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the number of time steps in typical sheet forming simulation are normally several tens of thousands. In spite of its success for industrial applications, it has also some intrinsic drawbacks i.e. in order to achieve significant computational advantage several numerical artifacts have to be introduced into the explicit solution procedure. In particular the parameters like mass density, punch velocity, loading history etc are to be modified. Since the maximum permissible time step, as defined by the current stability limit is directly proportional to the square root of the material density, this parameter is increased, usually by at least one order of magnitude. In order to reduce the total number of time steps necessary to model the sheet metal forming process, the punch velocity is increased, again by at least one order of magnitude. Since increase in both the material density and punch velocity results in increased inertia forces, the punch travel must be suitably controlled so as to minimize the inertia effects. Thus, the very nature of the dynamic explicit method, the simulation of forming defects requires a considerable experience on the user side for adequately designing the finite element mesh and choosing the scaling parameters of mass, velocity and damping. Other issues that must be given attention in the dynamic explicit analysis is the simulation of the spring back. One way of improving reliability of spring back is to combine the dynamic explicit analysis with quasi -static implicit simulation. In the static explicit method, the system of equations representing the rate of equilibrium is integrated with a simple forward Euler scheme, involving no iterations. This implies that equilibrium equations are satisfied only in rate form and the obtained solution can gradually drift away from the true one. Inorder to reduce the error involved vary small incremental steps have to be taken.

Significance of FEA
Because of higher requirements on the quality of products and narrow tolerances of measures, optimising, planning and simulating of forming processes becomes more and more important. As the computational power has increased during the last years, numerical methods play an outstanding roll. The most important numerical method is the method of finite elements (FEM). Numerous finite element programmes have been developed which are able to solve linear, non linear, static, dynamic, elastic, plastic, elastic plastic, steady state, transient, isotherm as well as non isotherm problems, during the last years. In this case we have to differ between general purpose and special purpose programs. Today many forming processes are carried out without a previous or accompanied finite element analysis of course. However, if the material flow or the loads of the rolling devices have to be investigated exactly, the numerical simulation is a must, if one does not want to invest too much money and time in practical experiments. Furthermore practical experiments cause a loss of production of a rolling plant, for example. If the material flow and the stresses in the rolling pieces as well as the forming tools are well known, critical forming steps and deformations can be corrected and avoided. From the problem to the model A given technical problem must be expressed by physical terms so that it can be formulated mathematically, what means modelling. The model should reflect the reality as exactly as possible. However, it should also be as simple as possible. Furthermore, the model must be described this way that it can be implemented in computers. Numerical problems like
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divisions by extremely low numbers or poor convergences of iterations, respectively, have to be mastered or to be avoided. Trial runs of the computational simulations and a subsequent check of the results by comparison with reality or physical experiments are a must. A special attention has to be directed to the boundary and initial conditions during modelling, because they have a decisive influence on the extent of the model as well as on its reliability. If the results do not coincide with reality or with the expectations close to reality, the model must be checked and possibly modified, whereby it will become bigger and more complicated. Depicted examples of simulation Parameter studies of rolling At the beginning of rolling heavy plates often bend upwards or downwards in an unexpected way. This development of ski ends shows Figure 1 (Philipp, Harrer, Schwenzfeier, Wdlinger and Fischer, 2002). Furthermore, in practice the rolled stock often warps by changing its bending direction as well as its bending radius. The failures mentioned afore often cause lacks in productivity, bad product quality and sometimes even heavy impacts with expensive downtimes. The status quo of a modern heavy plate rolling mill has been recorded by means of extended measurements. A subsequent FEM-simulation which included the status quo got by the measurements allowed to ascertain the main influences on turn up and turn down as well as on warping. The main disturbance variable which can be influenced very well is the speed mismatch of the work rolls. Important knowledge like the neutral point, where no bending or warping exists, has been gained be use of a FEM-simulation. The drift of the neutral point and the serious differences of the rolling torques due to speed mismatches of the work rolls could also be quantified by the simulation. These results will be implemented into a new concept of automation of a modern heavy plate mill Another example shows the application of numerical simulation for controlling the cross section of rods in a wire rod mill. It is the aim to equalize the failures of the cross section of the rods by tuning the subsequent rolling stands such a way that the final cross section of the wire fulfils the demands of the technical standards. However, the correction of the failures must be immediately during production. As FEMprogrammes work very slowly, one must apply methods which are based on simple correlations that can be quickly computed. A powerful aid for finding such correlations is the FEMsimulation. By means of FEM it is possible to investigate various disturbance variables step by step which occur in reality at the same time. The correlations which have been found can be implemented in a quickly working control programme


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Initially, forging simulation software was used by a small group of companies in the U.S. in the 1980s. The Analysis of Large Plastic Incremental Deformation (ALPID) program was developed at the Battelle Memorial Institute under sponsorship by the U.S. Air Force to support the development of gas-turbine forgings, to be used in the Advanced Tactical Fighter and other USAF systems. At the time, it was a challenge to set up a simulation with very primitive preprocessing tools, extended simulation times, minimum graphics, and technical problems. Realistically, one could expect to spend several days to run a typical turbine disk simulation; with quite a bit of manual intervention. Despite those early challenges, ALPID flourished at companies striving for any edge in a very competitive market. While ALPID was successful as a project code, Battelle staff applied their experience and background to the development of DEFORM. ALPID was limited to two-dimensional (2D) simulation for axi-symmetric (round) parts due to computer speed and software limitations.
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Initial applications included optimizing billet and blocker design, die fill, forging loads, and defects. One by one, companies adopted simulation as a critical element of the design process. In 1991, the former Battelle staff that developed both ALPID and DEFORM founded Scientific Forming Technologies Corp.. The barriers to forging simulation were significant. SFTC executive vice president and co-founder Dr. Wei-Tsu Wu recalls that practical 3D simulation was unthinkable. Problems included computing speed, mesh generation, element performance, and user interface. Fast forward to today. Forging (see November/December 2005, p.16) reports that 80% of the large companies (250+ employees), 75% of the mid-sized companies (100-249), and even 50% of smaller firms (50-99) are using process simulation. These numbers have more than doubled over the last decade, similar to the expanded use of CAD systems in the early 1980s. Computer modeling has become an integral part of the design and development process not only at the leading organizations, but at most forging companies For those not familiar with the subject, forging simulation is a computer program used to predict die fill, load, energy, and defect formation. This is based on the fact that the workpiece flows to the path of least resistance when displaced by one or more dies. The load is based on the forging size, shape, friction, temperature, and material properties. With the die fill defined, simulation can directly calculate critical process information including strain, stress, and temperature. With maturity, the prediction of grain flow, shear banding, and fracture have evolved. Typical forging applications Simulation applications are widely published in conference journals, magazine articles, and marketing material by simulation suppliers. Examples of common applications include: Defect predictionDuring the quotation process, an aluminum component was simulated using DEFORM-3D to evaluate material flow and die fill. A piping defect was predicted prior to finalizing the quote (see Fig. 1). At that time, when little was committed, the supplier and customer were in a good position to discuss and consider alternatives. A trial of the original design confirmed the solution accuracy, as shown.


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Fig. 1Forging of an aluminum component was simulated using DEFORM-3D to evaluate material flow and die fill. A piping defect was predicted prior to finalizing the quote. A trial of the original design confirmed the prediction.

Fig. 2. Process simulation is used today to develop the production of helical gears by cold extruding or hot forging.

Fig. 3. Forged steel bomb lugs were produced with a range of problems including die wear, forging laps, locating the buster in the blocker cavity, and an 11% scrap rate. Simulation led to changing the dies to include roll, bust, block, and finish stations with a resulting scrap rate of only 3%.


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Fig. 4. Image shows the simulation of a forged axle beam before (white) and after (yellow) heat treatment.

Fig. 5-When a part is machined, internal stresses are disturbed, which can result in part distortion. This image shows the machined state (yellow) superimposed over the distorted part (orange). .

Product developmentCompetition and customer requirements have led to the development of more complex parts being produced to tighter tolerances, at a lower cost, and in less time. While most developments evolve over time, some are revolutionary. Ten years ago, helical gears for automobiles were machined from round forgings or bar stock. Today, high-volume gears are cold-extruded or hot-forged with gear teeth in a finished or nearly finished geometry. In these cases, process simulation (see Fig. 2) has been used extensively to develop the process, preform, and tooling. Product optimizationThe Forging Defense Manufacturing Consortiums (FDMC) PRO-Fast Project, sponsored by the Defense Logistics Agency, has been documented in Forging. One of its success stories involved a hammer forging of steel bomb lugs. This high-volume forging experienced a range of problems including die wear, forging laps, locating the buster in the blocker cavity, and an 11% scrap rate. DEFORM-3D was used to test ideas and designs from Delfasco, New Die (the toolmaker), and SFTC personnel. (see Fig. 3) Simulation provided quantitative feedback on the influence of each idea. Studying total energy required to deform the part provided an indication of the number of hammer blows. Process
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stability could be determined by running multiple cases with slight variations in location. At the end of the day, the dies were changed to include roll, bust, block, and finish stations. Fewer hits in the roll station (and overall) were required. The scrap rate was reduced to 3% after 16,000 forgings (48,000 lugs). Simulation was integral to this process improvement. Todays simulation tools provide insight into and information about a design or process. Simulation does not design or develop the process. The mind of an experienced designer is still superior to any computer program for preform geometry, process development, and overall forging strategy. Currently, simulation is used to provide critical information to improve the performance of the designer. As optimization techniques are developed, the contribution of simulation to the design details will continue to increase.

Advanced and future applications While forging simulation continues to mature, software and applications are being developed at a rapid pace. A sampling of interesting developments include: Heat-treatment simulationA wide range of projects have contributed to the development of heat-treatment simulation. This is a far more challenging problem than forging simulation, due to complex material behavior at the microstructure level. Practical requirements include the prediction of mechanical properties and heat-treatment distortion. The image in Figure 4 shows the result of a DEFORM-HT simulation of a forged axle beam before (white) and after (yellow) heat treatment. Most of the volumetric change resulted from a phase transformation to martensite. Machining distortionForming and heat-treatment operations induce internal stresses in metal components. These stresses come to equilibrium as the part distorts. Remaining stresses are called residual stress. When a part is machined, the internal stress balance is disturbed. Thus, a new equilibrium is established, resulting in part distortion. The image in Fig. 5 shows a turbine disk in the machined (yellow) state superimposed on the distorted part (orange). Several companies are running two-dimensional machining distortion simulations for turbine disk applications. Three-dimensional capabilities are under development. Design optimizationA fully automated blocker design program has been envisioned by researchers for decades. To date, the human mind remains the best blocker design system. On the other hand, work is being done with sensitivity analysis, optimization, and other methodologies that will result in a workable system in the future. In January/February 2000, Forging reported on the use of DEFORM-HT and iSIGHT to optimize heat-treatment processes in turbine disks. While this is an advanced application for the typical forge shop, industry leaders were using the technology for a decade or more. The article states, Through the use of the program, residual stresses on the forged disks have been reduced by as much as 60%, and part distortion during subsequent machining has been reduced by as
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much as 30%. Such reductions have allowed every disk to meet machining tolerance. Industry changes Simulation has been accompanied by cultural changes in the industry. Twenty-five years ago, very few designers or engineers even heard the term flow stress, effective (plastic) strain, or strain rate. Today, these are common terms. The Forging Industry Assn. has recognized this important trend and responded by increasing simulation content in their Die Design and Press Design workshops. Initially, there was a onehour lecture on this topic. Today, simulation examples are used throughout the courses. Training of young engineers and designers has been influenced by simulation. The FDMCsponsored Forging Fundamentals 101 was conducted prior to the 2005 Forging Industry Technical Conference. This workshop used simulation extensively to train attendees on the science behind forging. The cultural shift involves the artisan methods of the past being supplemented, and in some cases replaced, by engineering and science. Ease of use is not to be taken lightly. Researchers and analysts have used FEM codes for 25 years. Concepts such as element size, boundary conditions, convergence criteria, and time step are fairly routine. The forging market for simulation consists of designers and engineers that understand this very complex process through experience and intuition. One challenge for code developers is to translate the user requirements into the FEM inputs. For example, SFTC released DEFORM-F3 in 2004. This three-dimensional program can be used easily by the designer or forging engineer. When setting up a forging simulation, there is a trade-off between speed and detail/accuracy. In DEFORM-F3, a slider bar was developed to automate the setup process based on the user requirement in very simple terms. There are also a wide range of intermediate applications for forging simulation. Experienced users are modeling equipment interactions for hammers and presses, and analyzing die failures using die-stress analysis. They are comfortable with the science behind the process, and comfortable with advanced applications. These advanced applications should be kept in perspective. Technically savvy analysts will find a way to take advantage of new capabilities as they are being developed. Designers with less modeling experience would be advised to start with proven applications. On the other hand, when selecting simulation software it can be useful to review the advanced applications to understand if it is on the leading edge of application development or in a catch-up mode. In any case, simulation is useful in a wide range of production and development applications. Information is made available much faster than with shop trials or other experiments. Additionally, it is possible to visualize the process in a way that is not possible on a production forging press or hammer. As applications advance and technology matures, simulation will continue to evolve into a daily production activity, even at the smallest forge shops. Very few forge shops will succeed in the future without the effective use of process simulation


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Conclusions This work shows various possibilities of the application of numerical simulation methods. The exactness of the solution is influenced by various parameters like flowing law, yield condition and boundary conditions such as friction or heat transfer. Material data combine the yield curve, density, conduction and so on. If all parameters are well chosen, the simulation will give reliable results. However, simulation and practical tests must be concluded together succeed in investigating new processes and production methods.

1) Finite element simulation in metal forming by Otto Harrer

2) A Review on Finite Element Simulations in Metal Forming By Dr. P. V. R. Ravindra Reddy, G. Chandra Mohan Reddy, P. Radhakrishna Prasad . Associate Professors, Dept. of Mech. Engg., CBIT, Gandipet, Hyderabad-75; Principal, MGIT, Gandipet, Hyderabad-75 3)


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