How Tube Bending Simulations Can Help Solve Common Metal Forming Issues


All types of metal work can face unexpected setbacks, and this is especially true for tube bending. Tube bending or tube forming is very different from working with sheet metal, and poses its own set of benefits, setbacks, and accepted techniques. Effective simulations can help address some of these issues and mitigate circumstances that result in lower production costs and higher quality parts.

Although tube forming simulations must be conducted in a separate FEA module, AutoForm caters for the most complex tube forming problems and allows setup and simulation of all tube bending/forming/hydroforming operations.

metal fabrication

Solving Common Tube Bending Issues with Simulation

Tube bending and forming operations are setup and simulated in AutoForm-Hydro, the module which caters for all tube based operations. Although tooling and process shapes are somewhat different to sheet metal operations, the setup and simulation process has many similarities and thus StampingSimulation and AutoForm can design and simulate a successful tube bending or forming operation for any complex tube forming project.

In many cases, a tube forming project may involve multiple forming modes, such as:

  1. Bending
  2. Press Forming
  3. Hydro Forming

It may also be the case that a tube project may involve just one of the above forming modes OR a combination of any three modes. Examples are:

  1. Bending
metal fabrication pipe

Luggage Lid Hinge bent from a square tube in a CNC tube bending machine.



  1. Press Forming
metal fabrication pressing

Tubes may be pressed with external tooling, usually on the ends.


  1. Hydroforming
hydroforming metal fabrication

A product (such as this) is bent, press formed and then hydroformed, to convert round tube into a varying square section.


In all cases, the tube forming simulation process will identify areas that wrinkle, buckle, split and springback. Once identified, any defect found in simulation can be analyzed further and values such as thinning/thickening, stress/strain and dimensional change can be interrogated to fully understand the problem at hand.

The most important aspect of any simulation service, beyond initial recognition of the forming defect, is to proceed further and propose possible solutions to the defect. This is always done by designing a possible solution, and re-simulating to determine if the defect has been improved or removed, often many, many times until the desired outcome is achieved.

autoform metal fabrication

Most recently, improvements in AutoForm-Hydro allow for further ease of use, with regards to compensating springback of tube bending operations.

auto form metal fabrication

StampingSimulation can provide accurate and dependable simulations of tube bending operations, and then apply advanced springback correction methods to reduce tube bending springback to acceptable levels.

Any defect found during the simulation process, which is then subsequently corrected, results in significant time and cost savings during tooling manufacturing. The more time spent in simulation, the more significant the cost time-savings in reality.


Learn More

Interested in learning more about what is possible with metal forming simulation software? Check out some of our case studies here.