Streamlining Tooling with AutoForm-ProcessDesignerforCATIA
Gestamp Chassis began developing its processes with the support of AutoForm’s incremental simulation software solutions more than a decade ago. It now applies a new AutoForm solution for the design of tool surfaces in the Catia environment: AutoForm-ProcessDesignerforCATIA. In this post, you’ll see how.
The Gestamp Chassis unit is responsible for analysing, developing and optimising all the parts that make up vehicle chassis. The aforementioned unit has production plants, offices and R&D centres across the world. In Spain, it has two centres in Abrera (Barcelona) and Boroa (Biscay).
The Forming Team of the Gestamp Chassis office in Boroa, is faced with demands related to quality, delivery times, costs and functionality, decided to test AutoForm-ProcessDesignerforCATIA.
After almost a year of assessment during which AutoForm was actively put to the test the Gestamp Chassis Boroa team concluded that their newly implemented software had indeed contributed to the streamlining of day-to-day work and affirmed they have obtained the design of deep drawing and formed tools in a simple and swift way, notably increasing their productivity.
Figure 1 – Re-engineering Surfacing Tools
“Due to the short time frames and excess work, we tried to find a solution that allowed us to work in a swift and effective way. We started to use this AutoForm solution and we were able to affirm that it is a tool that has allowed us to reduce time spent in constructing tools for simulation, and helped enable us to work in a simpler manner,” said Beñat Sedano, from Gestamp Spain.
Largely, different products (used either singularly or in combination) are available on the market to support users in accomplishing tool design tasks, but as AutoForm’s founder, Dr. Waldemar Kubli, points out “The initial problem engineers used to face before AutoForm-ProcessDesignerforCATIA was launched was due to the lack of dedicated functionalities. Despite the widespread use of different CAD systems in engineering, none of them is fully and efficiently suited to support all necessary phases of the sheet metal forming engineering process. This is particularly evident during the tool design phase when the die layout for the complete forming process must be defined and validated. AutoForm-ProcessDesignerforCATIA represents the strategic missing link that allows users around the world not only to complete designs for drawing dies but also for all secondary operations tools without leaving CATIA environment; and this is really something new.”
Figure 2 – Some example unique features
“What really makes the difference for them is the fact that our software is developed specifically for tool makers of automotive part designs. Where they save a lot of time is at the point of extrapolating surface. Other software has tools that extrapolate individual tasks, but AutoForm has a specific tool which is able to combine all of them in the easiest and simplest way in one environment. This makes their life easier but not only in terms of speed, also in quality, as it is a must for them.”
The evaluation and subsequent implementation of this solution in the work flow of Gestamp Chassis has been so successful that they decided to quadruple their number of user licenses.
AutoForm is a software integrated into the Catia V5/V6 environment, tailor made for process designers, supporting the customisable workflow standardisation of all the parts involved. It combines the experience of AutoForm in sheet metal forming processes with powerful tools for the creation of surfaces designed according to the requirements of the manufacturer. Users can quickly create a die face layout, including all the operations necessary for deep drawing, cutting or secondary operations with various types of cutting or deep drawing tools.
“It is a very intuitive tool for creating processes and the commands that are used are very versatile. Since it is a program designed specifically for the metal Stamping sector. It allows us to save time at the same time as optimizing the design.”
“With just two AutoForm editors we are able to extend facets creating most of the draw die,” confirms Beñat Sedano. The aforementioned editors are the Boundary Editor and the Connect Editor (see video below). “With the former we extend the surface through segments and with the latter we are able to join them.”
Based on the geometry of the desired part, users benefit from the standardized process of the Catia tree. This guides users with methodology based on the steps followed in AutoForm, adjusted to the Catia environment and customized according to the way each client works. The tools and commands are intuitive and boast analytical functionalities for verifying results are consistent and feasible at any moment. Ultimately customers are provided with a predefined standard methodology applicable to any process. This sequence of previously applied and interrelated commands allows for an automatic update of the complete process and prevents errors. Surfaces can also be compensated with the same environment according to the elastic return of the metal sheet.
“So far AutoForm has become a huge tool which the user can benefit from standardized tool design to unique features as Compensator, Clearance or Drawbeads Editor. It is therefore worthwhile using unique features or surface extrapolation as they mainly highlight. In this new R8 version we can design drawbeads with exactly the same geometry as AutoForm Forming or compensate tools not only for inner parts but also for outer parts.”
The geometric results that are obtained meet Class A requirements can be used for machining. This solution is the result of an innovative approach that is unique and oriented towards the quality of the design process, which improves and facilitates everyday work in tool design departments.
“For us the most important benefit is the speed of construction as part of the required quality. In addition, the solution provides a standard methodology facilitating the exchange of designs between the team,” said Beñat Sedano.
AutoForm-ProcessDesignerforCATIA is a solution that is relatively new on the market for AutoForm, compared to its solutions for the incremental simulation of sheet metal forming processes. The technology requires an implementation period within any company structure and, at the end of the period, provides a customizable standard approach to the design of the process, a consistent methodology and, as Gestamp Chassis has seen, a significant increase in productivity.
Watch this video to see inside the software here:
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