Spring Symposium of the NADDRG: Pulling Back the Curtain on Industry-Relevant Sheet Metal Research

The recent and accelerating trend towards electrification of vehicle drive trains has added urgency to the automotive industry’s challenge of building attractive vehicles that also satisfy the competing demands of lightweighting and occupant safety. The stamping industry and sheet metal producers have responded strongly with new and innovative production processes as well as new grades of materials – towards improved strength and formability. These new and advanced material grades do, however, come with their challenges, the foremost of these being springback and “local” formability issues such as edge cracking.

While the 3rd Generation steel grades, as well as the newer grades of 5000, 6000, and 7000 series aluminum alloys, have been carefully developed for enhanced formability and very high strength, managing the dimensional compliance of stamped components, and assemblies, requires advanced material characterization, and careful handling of forming processes. Besides material condition, edge cracking is influenced by forming process and tool condition; these are the subject of ongoing research and characterization, towards reliable and systematic countermeasures.

The Spring Symposium of the NADDRG, to be held May 1, 2024 in Troy, MI, will feature presentations from Industry, Universities, and National Labs focusing on Springback and Edge Cracking.

NADDRG, or North American Deep Drawing Research Group, is simply a group of sheet metal “practitioners” with common interest and deep involvement in the current problems challenging sheet metal forming in the stamping industry. Founded as a “working group” in the early sixties by a handful of sheet metal researchers, the NADDRG has provided a vital forum for clearly “defining” these problems, for discussing solution methods and protocols for these, as well as for working towards their standardized and widespread application “to improve stamping plant practices”. Development and standardization of test methods for the n- and r-values, understanding of their influence on drawability and stretchability of panels, development and widespread application of the FLC, evolution and maturation of die buy-off processes based on panel strain measurements and safety assessment relative to the FLC – all of these benefited strongly from the collaboration and coordination facilitated by the NADDRG, as well as it’s more formal global organization, the IDDRG. Check out this brief and interesting note on the early history of the NADDRG, as narrated by Dr. Keeler and Dr. Levy.

The interests and focus areas of the NADDRG have continually evolved over the years to reflect current challenges in the stamping industry, as well as those lurking around the corner – sheared edge stretching and failure, springback, extended material characterization, press shop problem solving, and in more recent years, the application of DIC for material testing, artificial intelligence / machine learning for press shop control and for material characterization… Here is a snapshot of presentations and discussions at the most recent meetings.

For those curious to dig all the way to the beginning, here is the full list.

The NADDRG over the years has also hosted, and / or facilitated the hosting of annual IDDRG Congresses.

NADDRG meetings are held twice a year, and provide an important venue for in-person discussions and exchange of ideas amongst academic, industrial, and National Lab researchers on current and emerging topics of interest related to all sheet metals including but not limited to steel, aluminum, stainless steels, titanium, and copper. It also offers an up close and engaging participation in these discussions to those members and attendees from the industry for their benefit, as well as to have their voices (and pains) heard.

Here is a video overview of the NADDRG’s recent activities and priorities from  Bill Frahm, long-time member of the Executive Committee.

To help facilitate a free exchange of ideas, all presentations at NADDRG meetings are off-the-record, with no recording, handouts, or distribution of contents unless the speaker chooses to do so.  Typically, only the presentation titles are shown on the public website, with no attribution to the presenter or their affiliation.  Many presentations highlight completed projects but some of the most lively discussions come from works-in-progress where leading experts in the field offer their opinions on what the next steps should be.

Cost for attendance at these meetings is typically around $150.00, simply to defray expenses relating to the meeting venue and catering. And membership at the NADDRG is free… asking for no more than your participation and contribution to the discussions!

Please visit http://www.naddrg.org/ to learn more. Email MembershipInfo@NADDRG.org if you want to be put on the distribution list for the upcoming and future meetings; we look forward to seeing you!

On behalf of the Executive Committee of the NADDRG!