Digitalisation Shortens Planning Process for Forged Parts
In the forging industry, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular, have to manufacture quickly due to competitive pressure. They often do not have the time or capacity to plan the resource-efficient design of the forging sequence for a new component. In individual production steps, the raw material, the so-called semi-finished product, is formed into the required component. Process efficiency depends on the experience and skills of the designer. The Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover (IPH) translates this experience and collected expertise into mathematical formulae. With the aid of the boundary conditions described in mathematical terms, a software demonstrator should enable the creation of operational sequence plans high in material efficiency.
"The old planning method meant that this planning process used to take weeks in some cases, but in future it can be completed in minutes," says Yorck Hedicke-Claus from IPH, explaining the advantage of the new method. The finite element method (FEM) has up until now been used to model the forming of geometrically complex bodies and to design the process accordingly. Using a computer program, designers have been able to plan the sequence from the semi-finished product to the required component. The new method reverses this process: the reverse sequence from the component to the semi-finished product is calculated according to technical forming rules, and this creates the individual stages of the forming process. Optimal planning reduces the amount of flash and the energy needed to shape the semi-finished product. The starting point of the method is a 3D sketch of the required component in CAD format, from which the researchers determine the size, contour and other geometric data.
Once programming is complete, comprehensive testing and adaptation phases are carried out. The method is first tested on complex component shapes, i.e. tested for feasibility and adapted accordingly. In the next step, the researchers compare the new program with the FEM simulation used so far and check the quality of the results. Finally, they carry out validation with experiments and compare the forging sequence created in this way with methods already used in industry.