"What If" Scenario Assessments
So you've been running production for 18 months or more, but wonder "what if" we change steel supplier? Or change steel grades? Will this upset the quality of our part or introduce an unexpected problem? Using simulation we can easily simulate multiple variations in steel sheets or properties of steel from different suppliers. Further more, we always perform a uni-axial tensile test to determine the exact properties in the steels we simulate. Apart from material properties, any forming parameter can be varied in simulation. Common parameters that may be studied include: blank hold pressures, pad pressures, lubrication values, change in sheet thickness, decrease in blank size, change in blank shape, removal or addition of draw beads, etc.
Root Cause Analysis of Existing Production Problems
It is not uncommon to use simulation to determine the cause of a problem that is occurring production. Using simulation, we replicate almost any forming or dimensional problem by setting up tooling and parameters exactly the same as reality. If the simulation matches the real world parameters, then simulation will show the same problem as experienced on the shop floor. Using this base line, we can then determine what change caused the problem and better still, what change is needed to remove the problem.
A typical example maybe a splitting problem, which did not surface during the first 6 months of production. But worn tooling or small changes in setup over time are now causing a splitting problem. Using simulation we replicate the problem and identify the same split. Then by performing further simulations we determine what change caused the splitting. Often we find that the splitting area was already in the "danger zone" so a small amount of tooling wear OR a small change in material supply quality uncovered the splitting. The root cause may have been a sharp product radius OR incorrect draw radius and simulation will help us address the true root cause of the problem, such that it does not re-occur even if the material quality varies.