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Neuheiten : [ Schweiß-/Fügetechnik | Berechnung/Simulation ]

Simulating complex manufacturing processes using Virfac®, the Virtual Factory

GeonX is proud to announce the official release of Virfac 1.4 including a major new feature: Virfac® Additive Manufacturing. This module allows predicting distortions, residual stresses and potential defects during the Selective Laser Melting.

1) What problems is Virfac® meant to solve?

The development of Virfac® was prompted by the need of the industry to optimize costs and to increase the “Return on Investment” when doing numerical simulation of processes. After nine years developing the FE solver Morfeo on a massively parallel basis, GeonX was then founded with the ambition to make this powerful software accessible within a demanding and challenging industrial environment. Virfac® is indeed developed to shorten the time to market when designing new processes or parts to manufacture. After a bit more than three years of incorporation, Virfac® encapsulates not only one but three FE solvers: Morfeo (massively parallel), Barracuda (GPGPU-based) and JWELD (JSOL). This converges to the development of a Virtual Factory as close as possible to the real manufacturing chain.

Virfac® is meant to allow companies to improve the quality of their product by optimizing their manufacturing processes at the preliminary phase of design. For complex manufacturing processes and expensive parts, the possibility to simulate what-if scenarios offered by Virfac® gives the ability to cut the expenses and shorten the time to market. Moreover, Virfac® offers the great ability to evaluate, modify and optimize the design before making. This open-innovation is particularly important today when one observes the quick expansion of the additive manufacturing technology which is already well present within Virac®.

2) What are the benefits of using Virfac®?

Virfac® can be used for the simulation of welding (fusion and friction), additive manufacturing, machining, heat treatment, surface heat treatment and fatigue damage tolerance (crack propagation based on the XFEM). Providing the operating conditions, doing a minimum of simplifications thanks to the powerful embedded FE solver, Virfac® predicts the metallurgical quality as well as the residual distortions and stresses. Automatic optimization can be run to minimize distortions by finding out the best sequence of welding or verifying the influence of a heat treatment on the complete chain of manufacturing.

The main benefit in using Virfac® is the highly specialized features that were tailor-made to address industrial requirements in terms of (i) quick learning curve, (ii) short setup time, (iii) short computation time and the last but not least, (iv) high fidelity in accuracy.

3) How much time does it take to learn and start using Virfac®?

Virfac® was developed with a focus on the user. Our interface is intuitive and the user is guided through the different steps of his analysis making the setup of a project very simple and efficient. We typically perform 1 day training for our customers.

Of course, after their training, our users can count on our support team to follow and assist them with their projects. Our team includes experts in numerical simulations but also experts in materials and manufacturing processes. Our people are one of our strong assets.

4) What’s next for Virfac®?

The latest version of Virfac® (V1.4) was released on June 1st. It includes a new module for additive manufacturing. This new module benefits from our technology and experience gained during more than 12 years in welding simulation. This allows GeonX to come on the market with a fully functional solution integrated in Virfac. This also means that Additive Manufacturing can be chained with our other solutions and that our customers will be able to simulate the 3D printing of their product but also the impact of subsequent steps including machining (removal of supports, milling) and thermal treatments.

5) Describe a typical workflow of Virfac®.

Virfac® is designed to be straightforward and user-oriented without being a black box for experts. Here is described a typical workflow for the Virfac® Welding Designer module:

a) The model set up on its different modules is rapidly done thanks to the different automatic tools available within our software. A typical workflow starts by the creation of a new project where the user chooses the modules and the unit system.

b) Then, one or more CAD geometries (solid or shell) or a mesh (done with Hypermesh for example) have to be uploaded into the project. Virfac also offers a large panel of tools that help the user in cleaning and modifying the imported CAD models.

c) The second step consists of creating parts as workpieces or jigs, group them into one or more assemblies and assign the materials to each volume of each assembly. Materials can be defined through various constitutive laws. It is also possible to perform strong or weak metallurgical coupling and define the microstructure of the material, which is especially important in welding simulation and heat treatment modules. Also, an access to a material characteristics generator has been added to Virfac recently.

d) In the next step, the user selects the boundary conditions and defines the process parameters with an intuitive and fully-automated interface. At the end of this third step, lies an interactive sequence manager to easily set up and try different welding sequences for the Virfac Welding Designer module.

e) After that, comes the numerical models manager which automatically creates an optimized mesh from the CAD model that takes into account the different complex shapes and singularity of the geometry. The user simply has to click on the generate button. Of course, the meshing parameters remain editable by the user.

f) Once all these steps done, it is time to generate the run package and launch the computation either on a local computer or on a HPC.

For more information about Virfac, visit the following page:

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