5 Ways to Make Sure You are Getting Awesome Sheet Metal Die Designs

Busy? The industry has come alive with a surge of sheet metal tooling projects kicking off in the last few months, and plenty more on the way as companies release new vehicles to comply with new Federal fuel consumption regulations.

The most successful tooling companies are those that seamlessly integrate simulation into their product and tool design phases, earning themselves more cost-effective outcomes in less time. Our clients enjoy repeat work based on their ability to integrate our simulation service into their company as if we were on staff.

sheet metal tooling die design

To keep the shop floor busy with new and successful sheet metal tooling projects, here are our top 5 tips for successful sheet metal die designs:

1. Simulate, simulate, simulate.

I mean from every aspect. In addition to our sheet metal forming simulation services, we also simulate the tooling function via advanced CAD software packages such as SolidWorks, which allows physical simulation of all moving parts in the working die, to avoid serious design errors and interferences that may otherwise make it thru to tool build. Are you using a transfer system? Simulate the tools in the press line, with the transfer system working as intended. Find the problems in simulation, not in reality.

2. Test your material, every coil.

For accurate simulation results, we insist on performing a uni-axial tensile test. But during tool tryout and subsequent production, the material properties may be changing depending on the source of material. Test every coil of steel, know the mechanical properties, record the mechanical properties, and track any changes. Performing a uni-axial tensile test can be outsourced for ~$200 per sample tested OR setup in house testing for a real advantage over your competitors.

3. Avoid one-step simulation results for anything other than a rough quote.

Many companies are spruiking their software as “simulation” as part of a CAD system or even standalone. But calculations are made from the product data alone, and simply flatten the part in “one-step”. These results are often misleading and give only the bare minimum material required to form the part, with zero consideration of a real tooling process OR multi-stage forming. Only full incremental simulation software (such as AutoForm) can provide reliable and accurate simulation results for even the most complex parts.

4. Revise the tool design over and over, until a successful result is achieved.

Time spent revising in the virtual world, is 10x the time saved on the shop floor. Don’t be in a hurry to make the tooling. Simulate, revise, simulate, repeat until every detail is “safe” and satisfactory in simulation. Even the smallest design change should be re-simulated. Build the tooling once.

5. Utilize resources 24/7.

The internet is fast (and keeps getting faster) and this makes the whole world incredibly small. Not many offices can work 24/7, but partnering with a resource in another time zone, perhaps more than one, can fill in the “down time” with high quality and experienced resources to work while you sleep. With resources in the USA, UK, and Australia, StampingSimulation’s customers enjoy fast turnaround and designs that keep evolving around the clock, even while you sleep. Contact us today to get a free project quote.