Getting in shape – the right shape for each application

Forming Processes


Comprehensive forming process services via our diverse combination of experimentation, testing methodologies, many years’ experience in numerical simulation and expertise in material modeling.

We find and clarify the physical reasons for weak points in manufacturing processes, thus enabling our clients to avoid problems in the initial design phase. By identifying optimization potential in a given production process, we provide our clients the means to more accurately produce components while reducing faulty parts.

We focus upon describing forming processes, evaluating forming limits and predicting the development of relevant material properties within forming processes.

We describe interactions between the parts and components to be formed and forming tools while determining friction and wear.

Through our "Virtual Lab" we link the microstructures in materials with macroscopic material properties in order to simulate property changes during processing.

In cooperation with various other departments at the Fraunhofer IWM such as tribology, fatigue, joints and crash dynamics, we address target-oriented, far-reaching issues concerning sheet metal processing and forming.



Experimental identification of characteristic values for forming simulations

The latest simulation methods help us to help our partners to design and assess their sheet metal and solid material forming as well as cold and hot working processes. As a matter of course, we describe anisotropy as a result of texture, incorporate thermomechanical coupling phenomena, describe the tribological properties of contact objects and model damage with the help of micromechanically based damage...


"Virtual Lab": Numerically determining characteristic values for forming simulations

The crystalline structure of metals in forming processes can have a significant influence on mechanical behavior, thus effecting the forming process: for example the development of grain orientation (crystallographic texture) and grain morphology through plastic deformations and thermally-activated phase formation and recrystallization processes in metals. We simulate such changes in the... 


Thermophysical and thermomechanical characterization

The modern equipment and procedures in the Fraunhofer IWM thermophysical and thermomechanical labs enable us to determine temperature dependent material properties. These properties provide the essential basis for evaluating the effects of thermal loads on components. This substantiated data is necessary for FE- simulation in order to optimize production processes, contour accuracy and energy...



Process simulation and forming simulation for components

Using the most modern simulation methodologies, we optimize forming processes for our clients who require bulk forming, sheet forming, hot forming and cold forming. We identify and clarify the physical reasons for weak links that may exist in manufacturing steps - as well as the causes for these - and manage their effects and impacts in the design phase and when in actual use. On the basis of experimental testing, we analyze, determine and...


Dimensioning connectors and electrical bonds

On the basis of continuum mechanical models and cutting-edge simulation methodologies, we analyze, evaluate and optimize design processes and forming processes for connectors, including tools and manufacturing steps. We identify the physical causes for potential problems in manufacturing processes. The material microstructure can be linked with material properties, enabling us to simulate changes that occur in material properties during...


Publications regarding Forming Processes

Contributions to newspapers, books and conferences as well as dissertations and project reports...

© Photo Fraunhofer IWM

TWIP-Steel simulation for sheet metal forming

TWIP-steel features a tensile strength of approx. 1000 MPa with a breaking elongation of 40-50 %. By using TWIP steels, both the energy absorption of components and the structural safety of the vehicle can be significantly improved. The strength of this material allows for a reduction of the sheet thickness used in components and contributes to a more efficient use of resources. Scientists at the Fraunhofer IWM have developed an appropriate material model so that the mechanical properties of TWIP steel can be accurately described. An essential characteristic of this model is the physically based description of microstructural properties and especially the development of the twin volume fractions depending on deformation and state of stress.

More about TWIP-Steel simulation for sheet metal forming

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© Photo Fraunhofer IWM

Process chain simulations

The entire process chain can be virtually described through the linking of either very similar or quite different simulation methodologies. At the Fraunhofer IWM we develop methods for the linking of subsequent process steps: cold rolling simulations realized via the finite element method (FEM) are combined with heat treatment descriptions. The ensuing results are then used in microstructure simulations to predict macroscopic, mechanical characteristics which are incorporated into material models for component forming simulations. This enables us to test the influence of individual process parameters on material properties.

More about process chain simulations

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© Photo Fraunhofer IWM

The "Virtual Lab"

The "Virtual Lab" is a simulation tool for the numerical determination of macroscopic material properties which takes the microstructure into account. Data produced through our "Virtual Lab" can be used in exactly the same manner as experimental data and is especially applicable to the complex material models which are required when working with modern, high-strength sheet metal materials. These complex material models utilize many parameters which can be identified by the additional data obtained from the "Virtual Lab".

More about the virtual determination of parameters for sheet metal forming simulations

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University lectures

Forming technology process simulation
Dr. Dirk Helm
at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT

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