Ansys Forming Simulates the Metal Stamping Process in One Platform

LS-Dyna will be Ansys Forming’s solver, ensuring that engineers get predictive accuracy

Sheet Metal Forming and Simulation

Traditional sheet metal forming practices required lots of physical force and effort to ensure that a sheet conformed to the shape that an engineer, or designer, desired. This work translated into the need to prototype. Try-out tools can provide a good idea of the general fit and function of a stamping process that can be built using less expensive materials and on a shorter time frame. However, the process of prototyping sheet metal components can still be a long lead time item in the development cycle.

Metal flow at the edge of a fender is simulated (Image courtesy of Ansys.)

Metal flow at the edge of a fender is simulated (Image courtesy of Ansys.)

To help update this practice, Ansys announced that Ansys Forming will be released in early 2022 as a “one-stop shop for metal stamping needs.” The release illustrates the company’s commitment to simulating every part of the design process and designing components as early in the design process as possible. Ansys Forming is expected to launch as part of the software’s 2022 R1 release.

What Does Sheet Metal Simulation Look Like Today?

There are several options available today for engineers looking to move their metal forming decisions higher up in the design cycle. JStamp is one of the most notable simulation tools and is built on the LS-DYNA solver. The software gives the user a feel for the entire forming process, including blank holding, drawing, trimming, springback analysis and flanging. Predictions can be made about the possibility of a part cracking or wrinkling. Project management tools help users track manufacturing changes and implement design change control.

Ansys, of course, already has stamping simulation available as well. In 2019, Ansys announced the acquisition of LS-DYNA’s parent company Livermore Software Technology Corporation. The LS-DYNA solver was already regarded as a preferred tool for the automotive, aerospace, civil engineering, defense and manufacturing industries. Coincidentally, all these industries make good use of sheet metal components and structures. LS-DYNA also boasts three decades of experience in sheet metal simulation.

Ansys Stamping vs Ansys Forming

The stamping applications that exist today in Ansys are a part of the Structural Analysis branch of the software. One of the primary areas of focus for the tool is automotive forming, mainly in aluminum alloy and high-strength steel materials. Gravity loading, binder wrap and springback calculations would have required days or weeks of  worker hours to calculate, or trial and error prototype builds to understand the behavior of the sheet metal. Those calculations can be done quickly now in Ansys, with the ability to make design changes at any point in the process and evaluate the results in real time.

The examples in the documentation show several examples of the software’s use. Stress analysis in a component can be run either as a one-time study or as an incremental solution. Un-flanging simulations help users develop the trim curve for a part. Simulation of the process can help users understand where stresses will be generated during the roll forming or hemming operations.

When Ansys Forming is released, there will be an expectation for an experience built specifically around metal forming. Ansys’ commitment to using simulation to optimize both design cycle time and cost is still the software’s focus. The hope now is that everything can be handled in one area of the software using LS-DYNA as a frame, instead of having to move between different areas of Ansys proper.

“Ansys Forming will meet the metal stamping needs of the industry, from the biggest manufacturers and suppliers to the smallest die shops,” said Shane Emswiler, senior vice president of products at Ansys. “With all-in-one stamping software, manufacturing and process engineers will streamline their workflows, increase productivity, and achieve consistent solutions every time.”