Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Advanced simulation tools for sheet pressing industry

Tailor welded blank (TWB) technology is widely used in vehicle manufacturing to create a single part (a TWB) made of different strengths or thicknesses of metals welded together. Optimal use of metals for their technical characteristics with no need for reinforcement of seams, reduces parts, processes, weight and time.
Advanced simulation tools for sheet pressing industry
The EU-funded ‘Accurate simulation of tailor-welded-blanks to reduce process design time for the sheet pressing industry’ (SIM-TWB) project was undertaken to advance simulation technology used by the TWB manufacturing industry to achieve dramatic reductions in cost, weight and time-to-market while improving quality, thus significantly enhancing the competitiveness of the European TWB manufacturing sector.

The research team developed a simulation tool to achieve a nearly ‘right-first-time’ design with the potential to solve more than 80 % of problems prior to manufacture of the first prototype. They included extensive numerical tools for weld seam and weld process modelling that concurrently reduced the number of parameters required for accurate prediction by as much as 90 %, the engineer time for preparation of an initial model by at least 70 % and the CPU time required for one simulation by approximately 20 %. Thus, an engineer was able to double the number of simulation scenarios previously evaluated in a given time period resulting in enhanced optimisation of products and processes.

Overall, the simulation tool developed for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) facilitated effective use of new manufacturing techniques enabling the use of high performance steels and aluminium without a reduction in production time, reduced trial-and-error resulting in reduced time-to-market, enhanced working relationship between clients and providers and reduced overall cost of manufacture. In addition, the easy-to-use interface could help manufacturers use engineers without specialisation, increasing job opportunities within the sector. Finally, the improved designs have the potential to reduce vehicle weight and fuel consumption while increasing safety, providing obvious benefits to consumers as well.

In summary, the advanced simulation tools produced by the SIM-TWB project researchers should significantly enhance the competitiveness of European SMEs, increase job opportunities for engineers and provide important consumer benefits.

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