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Developer Unveils New Version of Simulation Software

Some new features of the latest version of Qform3D include ability to detect and show laps, improved speed and reliability, and enhanced simulation of dies.

The latest release of QForm3D-Version 3.2-reportedly has significantly improved and optimized computational algorithms and extended functionality. It is the third release of QForm since the simulation package has included a three-dimensional (3D) finite element model for metalforming simulation.

According to the developer, QuantorForm Ltd., offers the following new features:

  • One of the most significant new features of version 3.2 is the ability to accurately detect and show laps. The program is able to automatically treat laps that may happen on the workpiece surface due to buckling of the surface (surface to surface contact). The lap will be visible on the surface of the part as well as the interior of the part, and the lap will not stop the simulation. In fact, the location, size, and depth of the lap will be shown throughout subsequent operations. For instance if a lap occurs in the first impression (buster), the size and location of the lap will automatically be tracked through the subsequent (blocking and finishing) impressions.
  • Improved reliability By modifying the basic data structure, QForm 3D has greatly improved reliability and robustness during geometry data import and simulation.
  • Improved speed during geometry import, preprocessing and simulation. QForm utilizes partial remeshing and has added the ability to utilize dual processor computers. Simulations can be completed in about 60% of the time required with the previous version. With suitable hardware the simulation time for 2D problems is just a few minutes while 3D problems can be simulated in less than an hour for simple simulations, or in the most complicated cases overnight. Performance is based on advanced automatic re-meshing where the program controls the total number of elements reducing the mesh density where it is possible without loosing accuracy.
  • Reduced required RAM size, thus improving speed and allowing simulations with much more complicated shapes.
  • Flow lines have been added to show grain flow within the 3D forging.
  • QForm has the ability to handle much larger and more complex tooling. The tools can have about three times as many nodes as in the previous version.
  • Partial remeshing. Remeshing is performed only in the areas where the mesh is heavily distorted while the mesh in non-deformed areas (rigid zones) is kept unchanged. This feature improves accuracy and speed of the simulation.
  • Enhanced simulation of the dies. Conditions of the die support can be specified interactively and deformed shape of the dies can be displayed.
  • Advanced control of workpiece and tool positioning. The motion of the tools and workpiece can be manipulated by manual positioning between blows. The movement is recorded and stored in the project file.
  • Gravitational positioning of the workpiece is now included as an option.
  • The geometry files now contain the original CAD geometry in STEP, IGES or QSG format that makes it easier to modify by exporting back to your CAD system.
  • Material flow stress data can be specified in the Database using typical formulae or can be imported from text file in table format.
  • The user has access to basic mesh generation control parameters that allows the user to make the mesh finer or coarser depending on simulation accuracy requirements. This operation is very simple for the user and does not require any knowledge of finite element mesh theory.
  • Results visualization and graphics were considerably improved. The user can create AVI animations of flow line distortion, appearance of laps etc. The deformed shape of the workpiece can be exported as STL-file to be imported to CAD/CAM software.

All of these features reportedly have been added without compromising QForm's user friendliness and ease of use.

Setting up a project
Setting up a simulation is very easy and fast via a Data Preparation Wizard. This wizard takes the user step-by-step through the simulation setup, reducing the opportunity for mistakes. Direct and immediate access to the source data structure is provided by a property editor. Thus the process of setting up a new variation of the project can be created in one click.

The project may include several variations of a simulation. Each variation is a complete technological chain consisting of several consecutive operations (forming blows with heating/cooling between them). Due to the complete integration of QForm, the same technological chain may consist of both 2D and 3D forming operations. A simulation can run through several blows in different dies automatically without the users intervention.

Mesh generation is fully automatic and the adaptive self-controlled algorithm keeps optimal mesh density distribution during the whole simulation. This unique feature provides high accuracy of the results regardless of user's expertise in FEM.

The extensive material database includes several hundred steel grades and non-ferrous alloys. The equipment selection includes mechanical, hydraulic and screw presses, hammers and electric upsetting machines.

QForm3D works with the original geometrical entities generated by the 3D CAD system. This means that there is no reduction of accuracy of the geometry that is used for the simulation. Other simulation packages still use STL format geometry that reduces the surface of the geometry into a linear surface mesh that loses detail and important information regarding the original geometry.

Tooling import formats
The die and billet geometry is imported to QForm3D from 3D CAD through STEP or IGES file formats that contain complete information. For some popular 3D CAD systems like Pro/Engineer, Solid Edge, Solid Works, Unigraphics, and Mechanical Desktop, QForm3D offers direct interface that works as add-in.

The accurate transfer of the geometry from CAD to QForm allows the use of finite elements of a higher order for approximation of the surfaces than other metal forming simulation programs allow. QForm uses non-linear (isoparametric) elements with curved faces for both 2D and 3D. This provides a significant advantage when fine peculiarities of the die surface have to be treated. The approach also allows frequent re-meshing without "undercut" of the workpiece surface and provides very good volume constancy of the billet during simulation. The program generates the mesh fully automatically without any users intervention. The mesh density is dependent on die and workpiece shapes, solution behaviour and other parameters that are automatically monitored by the program. This provides a guaranteed quality of solution regardless of the users qualification in FE analysis. As a result, the mesh generated by the program is of a higher quality than one generated under supervision of the most experienced FEM expert. The adaptive self-controlled algorithm provides optimal mesh density distribution, smaller elements are automatically generated in critical areas for analysis of specific effects such as material flow defects, die filling, etc. The results of the simulation are displayed by means of 3D graphics concurrently with the progress of simulation that provides immediate feedback from the program.

For information about Qform 3D, contact Forge Technology, Inc., P.O. Box 1095 Woodstock, IL 60098, Tel: 815-337-7555, Fax: 815-337-7666.

Technical specifications

  • The dies and the workpiece surfaces are approximated by quadratic triangular elements with curved faces. The mesh inside the bodies of the dies and the workpiece is built by tetrahedral finite elements that are based on triangular surface elements.
  • Fully automatic initial mesh generation and adaptive remeshing at each time increment on the surface and in the body of all objects. No user's intervention is required.
  • Self controlled incremental procedure with automatically adjustable time step size
  • Rigid-visco-plastic material (3D) and elastic-visco-plastic material (2D) models for the deformed material and elastic-plastic material model for die material.
  • Flow stress of workpiece material depends on strain, strain-rate and temperature, other parameters (density, specific heat and thermal conductivity for the workpiece and elastic module, yield stress for the dies) are temperature dependent.
Simulation capabilities
  • Non-isothermal two-dimensional and fully three-dimensional deformation of the workpiece
  • Elastic-plastic deformation and stress state in the dies (isothermal)
  • Cooling of the workpiece in air
  • Cooling of the workpiece placed on the die
  • Automated continuous simulation of technological chain consisting up to 99 operations of different type
  • Automatic positioning of the dies in contact with the workpiece while the dies moves straight forward towards each other along Z-axis
  • Simulation of repetitive blows in hammer or screw press in a single action
  • Single technological chain can contain both 2D and 3D simulations with automatic data transfer between them
  • Deformation can be performed in mechanical eccentric or crank presses, gravity, hydraulic and counterblow hammers, screw and hydraulic presses
  • The program provides using up to 3 planes of symmetry. Vertical planes of symmetry can have arbitrary angle between them to provide simulation of periodical structures with rotational symmetry
  • Process parameters (process time, final position of tools etc.) are specified by means of self-explanitory Data Preparation Wizard that eliminates missed data.
  • Piercing holes and trimming flash between forming operations.
  • Removing some parts of the material specified by special contours during simulation. This option allows reducing the size of the problem and avoiding unnecessary simulation of laps in the flash area.
  • Optional manual positioning of the workpiece before simulation of forming process.
  • Simulation of workpiece motion as a rigid body subject to gravity, friction and inertia to find out its stable position before forming simulation (gravitational positioning).
  • Setting final distance between the dies in a point specified by X and Y coordinates.
  • Simulation of the tools for their stress and deformation analysis.
  • Creating log-file with details of simulation.
  • Printing the report of simulation with all source data of 2D and 3D operations of the technological chain.
  • Adding load graphs of the chain and creating single load graph.
  • Creating AVI animations of simulation including workpiece motion during gravitational positioning.
  • Display results of simulation in stereoscopic mode.
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