5 Ways Advanced Simulations Can Help Improve Product Design
There are thousands of manufacturers that are constantly looking for ways to improve their product’s quality while maintaining or decreasing production cost. Advanced simulations can help evaluate multiple design models quickly and affordably, and can become essential tools when trying to find a new design that meets the requirements. The benefits of using advanced simulations when coming up with new products or trying to improve existing product design are significant.
5 Ways Advanced Simulation Help Improve Product Design
Material spec/grade selection: Every product designer wants to use the latest high strength steel in the thinnest gauge possible to meet efficiency targets. But is it feasible for the given product design? Or is the product design optimized to allow this to happen? Sheet metal forming simulation at the earliest stage will determine quickly whether or not a given product design is feasible in the desired material grade. Often, a product design must be adjusted to make it possible for manufacture in today’s lightweight, high strength steels. The cost of designing a product poorly and using very high strength steel, without confirming in simulation, is prohibitive.
How much material is required to manufacture the product: Product designers usually calculate how much raw material is required to manufacture their product. By assuming the raw material is exactly the same as the volume/surface area of the sheet metal part, a costly mistake could be made. Advanced simulation software will quickly and accurately determine the required material usage to manufacture a complex sheet metal product. Often, the stamping process steps are overlooked at product design stage, and material usage is underestimated when no allowance is made for scrap. For some sheet metal parts, scrap is required to manufacture the part, as might be the case in a deep drawn part OR part that requires multiple forming operations. Simulation accounts for, and precisely simulates all the required forming stages, and therefore correctly calculates the true material cost.
Tonnage requirements: Is the product being designed with press equipment in mind? OR is the product being designed at “any cost”? If the sheet metal product design does not consider forming tonnages at an early stage, it may be found out later that no press equipment in-house can manufacture the part. An investment in a press upgrade OR additional machine cushion may be required if the product is to be kept in-house. Worse still, if this realization is only made during a physical tryout, the job may be lost OR re-sourced to another company. Advanced simulations will correctly determine forming tonnages at any stage of a product design.
Can the new product shape be formed using the same process as the old: Many product designs are based on the previous version of the same part. However, no two product designs are ever exactly the same. Seemingly un-important product shape changes OR addition of small features may significantly increase the manufacturing cost of the new product version. Advanced simulation will determine if the new product design can be manufactured using the old stamping process OR if additional forming stages are required.
Can the product be made in a high-speed stamping process: One of the most efficient and highest speed tooling methods for a sheet metal stamped part is a progressive tool design. Basically, this is a mechanically automated, self-feeding, self-carrying, stamping tool which can manufacture medium size parts at up to 50 strokes per minute and very small parts at up to an incredible 2000 strokes per minute. However, for this to be possible, the product design must “allow” the part to be carried in a progressive strip design. Advanced simulation will show how and where a sheet metal product should be carried for maximum efficiency and therefore lowest manufacturing cost.
Interested in learning more about what is possible with metal forming simulation software? Check out some of our case studies here.