Advancements of Virtual Prototyping in the World of Demanding Regulations
Regulations in safety and fuel efficiency are putting more and more pressure on the Automotive Industry to move towards lightweight solutions. Consequently, innovative research and a 3G engineering approach (gage, grade and geometry) has led to a number of alternatives for commonly used steels and designs. Aluminum alloys, press hardened steels, advanced and ultra-high strength steels (AHSS and UHSS) and carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) have displaced commonly used materials and require new designs with different grades and manufacturing methods. Unfortunately, this causes many new challenges with respect to design, manufacturing process, and production cost or production cycle. In contrast, the development time of car platforms has shortened dramatically, meaning that reducing the number of real prototypes is essential to ensure goals are still reached on time. In order to be able to replace real prototypes, virtual prototypes must obviously be as precise as the real ones.
To answer this challenge, sheet metal forming has moved on to die face design based on B-spline geometry in order to save time in the interaction with CAD, in the iterative process of part development and tooling. Any possible hold due to required changes in geometry must be removed. Tool surfaces, and tool and blank meshes must be precise to guarantee an accurate description of contact surfaces and accurate simulation results – and this as early as possible in the process. There must be no trade-offs with the time needed to set up a simulation model nor simulation time. (Multi-operation) compensation should be as precise as possible and cosmetic defects need to be discovered at the beginning of the development process, not at the end.