Partnership between GeonX and Imperial College London in Additive Manufacturing
London (UK), September 27, 2017:
GeonX and the Metal Forming and Materials Modelling (MFMM) Group of Imperial College London agreed to collaborate on the application of Additive Manufacturing (AM) for tooling design of forming processes.
Under this collaboration framework, the MFMM Group will use GeonX's software, Virfac Additive Manufacturing. Virfac Additive Manufacturing has the capability to simulate AM processes efficiently. Thanks to its powerful GPU solver running on conventional machines and an original multi-scale approach, Virfac offers the user with the capability to optimize the build-up orientation, the support configuration and verify the influence of process parameters on the distortion and residual stresses.
MFMM Group’s researchers will use Virfac in order to design advanced tooling for the Fast Warm Stamping process and achieve “Right First Time” Additive Manufacturing. Imperial’s researchers and experts will provide valuable feedback to GeonX S.A. regarding VIRFAC and demonstrate the software’s capabilities to the area of tooling design for forming processes.
About the Fast Warm Stamping process
Fast warm stamping is a novel forming process developed for manufacturing complex shaped panel components from ultra-high strength steels (UHSS) and high strength aluminium alloys, which enables several benefits when compared against cold stamping, the most significant of which is improved formability of the material allowing the manufacture of complex, single piece deep drawn panels which would otherwise be infeasible using conventional stamping methods. In addition to the improved formability, solution heat treatment and post forming artificial ageing treatment will be eliminated and this disruptive technology ensures the aluminium pressing achieves full strength mechanical properties, enabling a potential reduction in panel thickness leading to vehicle mass reduction.
In the Fast warm stamping process, a blank is rapidly heated up to an elevated temperature to enhance the ductility. The hot blank is then formed and quenched in the cold dies.
The current press tools used in this forming process is designed and manufactured with internal water-cooling channels to enable desired cooling rate to be achieved. These tools are made by machining with drilled water cooling channels. The bottleneck of these tools is obvious that the shape of the water-cooling channel cannot follow the profile of the part and thus the desired cooling rate cannot be achieved in some regions.
Additive manufacturing (AM) has shown great market potential in tool manufacturing industry. In the past years, the tools for die-casting made by AM have led to great savings in time and cost in comparison with conventional tools made by machining. The use of AM to make advanced press tools for sheet metal forming processes will enable the flexibility in water-cooling channels designs to achieve the most desirable cooling efficiency.
Since 2012, GeonX has been developing and providing to its customers best of class scientific software for the simulation of Virtual Manufacturing processes in welding, machining, heat treatment, damage tolerance and additive manufacturing. Our main product Virfac combines a very intuitive CAD-based user interface with a powerful parallel non-linear finite element thermo-mechanical-metallurgy solver based on more than 100 man-years of developments.
Systematic use of process simulation with Virfac® drastically reduces the number of prototypes to be built in the development phase while improving the quality and lifetime of the manufactured products. This directly minimizes the time to market and development costs, providing Virfac® users with a key competitive advantage.
GeonX is headquartered in Belgium with offices in France and in the USA and major representatives in Korea, China and Japan.
About MFMM Group of Imperial College London
Following slip field theories developed by Professor Sir Hugh Ford, FRS, FREng, in 1950s, which have been successfully used for cold rolling in 1950s and 1960s, the Metal-forming and Materials Modelling (MFMM) Group has expanded its research activities into a wide range of areas, which include:
- - Hot rolling, forging and extrusion for aerospace and automotive alloys;
- - Hot stamping for aluminium and boron steel panel components – lightweight forming technologies;
- - Creep age forming of extra-large aerospace components;
- - Forming of micro-size components.
The multidisciplinary team is well equipped with experimental facilities for the manufacture, characterisation and testing of materials and the performance of formed components. The finite element and analytical modelling work ranges from the microstructural scale to the performance of components have been developed. Specifically, theories for the formulation of unified constitutive equations have been developed within the Group for the modelling of microstructure evolution in metal processing, particularly for hot/warm forging and stamping.
The Group has significant contribution in the development of new forming technologies (led by Dr LiLiang Wang) and novel materials modelling methods (led by Dr Daniel Balint), recognised by the award of Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering for Professor Jianguo Lin.