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Case study for welding simulation in the automotive industry

: Perret, W.; Thater, R.; Alber, U.; Schwenk, C.; Rethmeier, M.

Welding in the world 55 (2011), No.11/12, pp.89-98
ISSN: 0043-2288
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IPK ()
automobile; distortion; simulating; temperature; welding

Welding is one of the most widely used joining processes in structural applications, like in car body production in the automotive industry. It is well-known that distortions and residual stresses occur during and after the welding process. Many procedures exist to decrease these negative heat effects of welding, but are often coupled with highly cost intensive experiments. For several decades, simulation models have been developed to understand and predict the heat effects of welding and to reduce experimental effort. In the production planning of various Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), some simulation tools are already well established, e.g. for crash test, forming or casting simulations. For welding, the demand is high but the implementation of welding simulation software is sti ll not established yet. Welding is a complex process and the development of a flexible simulation tool, which produces good simulation results without expert knowledge in simulation, is not an easy task. In this paper, a welded assembly from the automotive industry has been simulated and compared to experimental data. Temperature fields and transient distortion distributions have been measured with thermocouples and with an optical 3D deformations analysis tool, respectively. The simulation has been run with a commercially available welding simulation software. The simulated temperature fields match the numerical ones perfectly. The simulated distortions are also qualitatively in best agreement with the experimental ones. Quantitatively, a difference of approximately 20 % between the simul ated and the measured distortions is visible; this is acceptable considering the simplifications and assumptions of the simulation model. The global time to solution to get these results without expert knowledge in welding simulation was between 4 and 6 weeks, which is a reasonable time frame for an industrial application of welding simulation.