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Advanced Materials Research Online: 2011-09-02

ISSN: 1662-8985, Vols. 328-330, pp 828-831

© 2011 Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland

Study on the Rapid Progressive Die Design of Sheet Metal with Free
Form Surface

Xiaoda Lia, Xianghui Zhanb

Department of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Zhuhai College of Jilin University, China
liliabc0185@sina.com, bzhanxh_1215@163.com

Keywords: Progressive die, PDW, Free form part, Sheet metal, Finite element

Abstract. The structure of progress die is generally more complex and need higher precision, so it
needs a longer development cycle, especially for the progress die design of sheet metal with free form
surface. In this paper, taking a relatively complex part with free form surface for instance, NX PDW
which has highly automated design capabilities was applied to finish the mold design, and the key
steps and methods of designing such parts with PDW was put forward. In the design process, the
stamping simulation software Dynaform was also applied to simulate the key process to predict
forming defects and assess the formability of sheet metal. The results show that the application of
Dynaform and PDW can improve the design quality and efficiency greatly.

The structure of progress die is generally more complex and the parts require higher accuracy and
reliability. Currently the main technical means is to rely on experiences of designers, some simple
theoretical formulas and the repeated mold testing & repairing. Therefore, the design and
manufacturing cycle of progress die is longer than some other general molds.
It has become the consensus in mold industry that the CAD / CAM technology can significantly
reduce the mold design and manufacturing cycle, reduce production costs, and improve product
quality. Being an effective aid, the CAD / CAM technology can help engineers to design and optimize
product performance, mold structure, forming process, numerical control machining, and production
management. NX/PDW(Progressive Die Wizard) is a 3D design system of progressive die introduced
by Siemens for stamping industry line. It is embedded a lot of mold design knowledge and best
experiences in the mold industry, and guide users to finish the stamping mold design [1, 2]. At present,
the CAE technology is also an indispensable computer-aided tool for the process and mold design of
sheet metal forming [3]. Dynaform is such special simulation software for sheet metal forming. It can
simulate blank holding, drawing, spring back etc., assess the formability of sheet metal, and forecast
all kinds of forming defects, such as cracking, wrinkling, scratching, and spring back. According the
simulated result, designers can put forward revised proposal about mold design. So the design quality
and efficiency can be improved greatly.
In recent years, many papers discuss progressive die and simulation of sheet metal forming, but
there are few papers which combine NX PDW and the CAE technology [4-6]. In this paper, taking a
free form part for instance, the key steps and methods of designing such parts with PDW was put
forward. In the design process, Dynaform was also applied to simulate the key process to predict
forming defects and assess the formability of sheet metal. The application of Dynaform and PDW
improves the design quality and efficiency. The flow chart of progressive die design is shown in Fig.1.

The preprocessing of part

Before the mold design with PDW, the right model of part should be ready. First of all, the model of
part which is shown in fig.2 (d) was created in NX/SheetMetal, its thickness is 0.2mm, and the
material is 08. It is a free form part; the blank can not be obtained by only using Unfolding
performance of sheet metal, and PDW can not identify surface features of part automatically, so the

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Advanced Materials Research Vols. 328-330 829

body family should be built. As is shown in fig.2, the body family which had 4 solids was built;
among them, the initial blank was gotten with the finite element performance of NX and the
semi-finished parts was created with Direct Modeling of NX.

Fig. 1 The flow chart of progressive die design

Process design of PDW

The blank nesting and scrap design. Blank Nesting is designed for determining how to layout the
blank on strip and the relationship of adjacent blank. Therefore, the reasonable nesting is important
for improving material utilization ratio and reducing costs. Blank Nesting of PDW has the following
function: inserting blank, moving blank, rotating blank, coping blank, setting strip width and step,
computing material utilization ratio and minimum distance, etc. The design results of this part: the
step is 25mm; the strip width is 88mm. The outer outline and inner hole on the stamping blank can be
done for once or several times punching, but in the progressive die design, they are always done for
several times, which is so-called scrap design. PDW provides some tools of scrap design; it can pick
up the outer outline and inner hole automatically according to the result of blank nesting. And
designers can also make some lines, and then combine with blank boundaries to get scraps. The result
of scrap design is shown in fig.3.

Fig. 2 The body family Fig. 3 The scrap design

The strip layout. Strip layout is the most important step in the process of progressive die design,
and its purpose is to design the transition process of product. Strip Layout in PDW includes
Initialization which can specify feeding direction, the total number of working stations, and the
number of parts on each station, Strip layout, and Strip simulation. The feeding direction of this part is
from left to right; the total number of working stations is 15. In the process of strip layout, the system
can identify standard sheet metal features and the process feature of Feature Pre-Process, Advanced
Layout can define the undefined forming characteristic. The result of strip layout is shown in fig.4.
Fig.5 shows the strip simulation. For the free-form surfaces, only scraps were simulated firstly, and
then, the solids of the body family were placed in corresponding stations successively by using Body
830 Mechatronics and Materials Processing I

Fig. 4 The strip layout Fig. 5 The strip simulation

Structure design of PDW

The structure design of PDW includes die base loading, standard parts loading, punching and forming
components design, etc. At the same time, the system provides various types and specifications of 3D
assembly structures, which can be managed and edited, such as parameter adjustment, some changes
about structure.
Die base loading. According to mold design requirements, PDW provides the standard die base
library. Designers can choose the die base meeting the parameter request, set the parameter of die base
according design requirements, and add guide posts and bushes which can also be modified
parameters, etc. The structure of die base for this part is 10 Plate, including 4 guide posts and bushes,
and some other standard parts.
Components design. In the progressive die productions, working parts of punching and forming
are easy to be damaged, so they will often be made insert blocks, which can be replaced easily. PDW
provides common process inserts library, and Punching and Embossing inserts were applied for this
part. P9 (Standard Circular Punch) was applied for piloting holes and some small boreholes. The five
holes on the first station shared a standard rectangular die insert. For those non-circular process
scraps, Custom Punch was the best tool. The forming processes on the 9th and 11th station were done
with embossing function. However, for the forming on the 8th station, its design of insert blocks
completely depended on modeling. In the modeling process, NX/WAVE LINK was applied to pick up
free form surfaces, the final models of insert blocks were built by Extrude, Trim, Boolean operation,
etc. The components are shown in fig.6. After the completion of the above design, the main parts of
the progressive die had been finished. Then the structure also needed to be added lifters, pilot
punches, fixing devices of components. At last, the reliefs and pockets were done in the mold plates.
Fig.7 shows the 3D model of progressive die.

Fig. 6 The components Fig. 7 The 3D model of progressive die

The forming analysis of free form surface

The forming simulation process on the 8th station is as follows:
The finite element model. Build up models of blank and die surface with addendum in NX, and
convert the data format of models from .prt to .igs. Import the .igs data into Dynaform, and then mesh
the blank and the die. According to the die surface with addendum, the punch and the binder was
obtained. Models after location are shown in fig.7. the mechanical performance of 08 is: Intensity
K=708.8Mpa, Hardening index n=0.185, coefficient of normal anisotropy r0=1.32, r45=1.05,

Fig. 8. The blank and tools after location

Advanced Materials Research Vols. 328-330 831

Process setting. The simulation of this process was divided into two working steps: blank holding
and drawing. In the blank holding process, the die was set to be static, and the binder worked with
2000mm/s speed. As the binder and the die surface matched completely, the holding process finished.
In the drawing process, the die was still set to be static. The blank holding force can be adjusted in the
light of actual conditions, and it is 0N in this case. The punch drawing with 5000mm/s speed, until the
punch and the die matched completely.
The forming results. Forming Limit Diagram (FLD) can forecast the risk of process planning, in
which the strain of dangerous points will be marked. As is shown in fig.8, the points fall on the place
away from the critical curve, so the simulation result is safe. And the processing plan taken, including
the mold corner, the blank size, and the lubricative situation need only little adjustment in practice.
There exists the problem of insufficient stiffness from the simulation result, but it is normal, because
the next forming processes will increase the stiffness of part. It cannot be discussed here for lack of

Fig. 9. The FLD

In this paper, the progress die of free form part was designed with NX/PDW and Dynaform. PDW is a
3D progressive die design module, and embedded in a lot of mold design knowledge and experiences.
It is fast, efficient, and flexible to design mold with PDW and can improve design efficiency. For
those complex forming steps which are unreliable in progressive die, the finite element simulation
technology can analyze and optimize them, improve the robustness of design, and save development
time and costs.

[1] W.X. Yu, S.Z: UG NX4 Progressive Die Design Training Course. (Tsinghua University Press,
China, 2006). (In Chinese)
[2] C Zhou: UG NX4 Progressive Die Design examples—From Novice to Professional. (Chemical
Industry Press, China, 2007). (In Chinese)
[3] J Lan, X.H. Dong and Z.G. Li: Journal of Materials Processing Technology, Vol. 170 (2005)
No.3, p.624.
[4] H Naceur, Y.Q. Guo and J.L. Batoz: International Journal of Mechanical Sciences, Vol. 43
(2001) No.10, p.2407.
[5] J.Z. Zhou, J Guo and S Huang: Functional Manufacturing Technologies and Ceeusro II, Vol. 464
(2011) No.3, p.146.
[6] Y.Q. Liu, Z.G. Li and Y.K. Yan: Acta Mechanica Solida Sinica, Vol. 17 (2004) No.1, p.36.
Mechatronics and Materials Processing I

Study on the Rapid Progressive Die Design of Sheet Metal with Free Form Surface