Achim Egner-Walter, MAGMA GmbH, Aachen, Germany
With the production of thin-walled, complex structural components made of aluminium and magnesium alloys, the foundry industry has succeeded in substituting many classical sheet metal components by castings. These structural components do not only feature complex geometries but also superior strength and ductility properties, which make for a good safety performance in a crash event.
Due to the fact that the section thicknesses are very small in relation to the overall component sizes, compliance with dimensional tolerances used to be a manufacturing challenge that could often only be achieved by straightening. However, such straightening operations are costly and impede to the process flow. Therefore, the objective must be to control the development of distortion throughout the complete manufacturing chain in order to avoid the straightening step.
This requires profound knowledge of the mechanisms that control the development of distortion in all stages of the manufacturing chain as well as knowledge of how these mechanisms interact. Due to the wide range of parameters to be considered and taking into account a reasonable effort in terms of time and cost, this can only be accomplished by means of process simulation.
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