Dassault Systèmes (DS) announced that AutoForm Engineering GmbH, a leading global supplier of software solutions, has become a Dassault Systèmes Component Application Architecture (CAA) Software Partner to deliver sheet metal forming solutions integrated with CATIA.
“The integration of AutoForm capabilities within CATIA will enable our manufacturing customers to compress time in their design-to-production processes, which is especially valuable to the automotive industry,” states Ken Short, VP strategy and marketing, SIMULIA, Dassault Systèmes. “As a DS software community partner, AutoForm will work closely with our R&D teams to enhance the capabilities of their sheet metal forming solutions directly in CATIA, as well as extend their solution through integration within SIMULIA’s realistic simulation product portfolio.”
“The partnership with Dassault Systèmes is an integral part of AutoForm’s strategy, and will provide significant benefit to our customers who are leveraging CATIA for product lifecycle management,” stated Dr. Waldemar Kubli, CEO of AutoForm Engineering. “By integrating and complementing our suite of solutions with the highly-productive CATIA portfolio, we will continue to deliver state-of-the-art solutions that enable our mutual customers to bring high-quality products to the market faster and more cost-efficiently.”
AutoForm’s solutions enable product designers, process planners, and tool designers to quickly and efficiently perform early manufacturability and cost assessments during their design process in CATIA. They are able to set up the entire stamping process, make process modifications, and consider and evaluate different process layouts to identify the best ones within the context of their overall PLM process. As a Dassault Systèmes Software Partner, AutoForm will be able to rapidly deliver innovation solutions fully compatible with CATIA—the leading PLM solution in the global automotive industry.
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
Metal forming, especially for complex automotive surfaces, is a delicate balance of art and science, as is the software to assist the process. Unless you are in the metal forming business, AutoForm Engineering GmbH may not be company that you’ve heard much about, if anything at all. However, in the world of metal forming, it’s well-known for the breadth and depth of its product line with the software it offers for the die-making and sheet metal forming industries. Founded in 1995, and with all of the top 20 automobile producers as customers, AutoForm is recognized as the top provider of software for product formability, die face design, and virtual tryouts to the automotive industry.
AutoForm software is intended to improve reliability in planning, reduce the number of die tryouts and tryout time. The company also touts substantially reduced press downtime and reject rates in production – all of which are huge time and cost savers. AutoForm’s software products solutions are a comprehensive, integrated system with highly specialized functions for analyzing, simulating, reviewing, and optimizing all phases of the metal forming process chain (See accompanying graphic). The level of integration the AutoForm software modules is especially important because concepts and results from early phases can be directly used in later phases. The various software products range from stand-alone modules for SMBs to complete, integrated multi-module systems for larger companies, and are compatible with many CAD systems, although that may change as time goes on for competitive reasons. The products also run under Windows, UNIX, and Linux, again appealing to organizations of all sizes and scales.
AutoForm products are used throughout the metal forming life cycle for the following basic purposes with what the company terms Solutions:
Feasibility – The AutoForm Feasibility Solution is used to ensure the manufacturability of stamped parts early in the part design cycle for reducing development time and costs. Applied early in the part design cycle, it delivers benefits in terms of robust part manufacturability and performance, as well as reduced manufacturing costs. This solution has proven attractive for concept, styling, product design, and production planning departments.
Bidding and Planning – The AutoForm Bidding and Planning Solution is a software package for all planning tasks associated with producing sheet metal parts. It lets users define a production sequence, evaluate part feasibility, determine the minimum blank and the associated material cost, and determine the tooling cost associated with a specific production sequence. The solution enables planners to perform cost calculations in addition to systematically evaluating multiple, alternative manufacturing concepts, determine the cost optimized manufacturing process, and create planning data.
Tooling and Tryout – According to the company, the AutoForm Tooling and Tryout Solution is the most widely used stamping simulation software in the automotive industry. It enables the final validation of the entire sheet metal forming process – from the insertion of the blank into the press, through to binder wrap, draw, trim, restrike, flange, springback, and springback compensation. The entire stamping process can be set up, process modifications can be made, while also considering and evaluating different process layouts to find the best ones. It is a combination of simulation techniques for maximum speed, highest result accuracy and the influence of process variables on a robust stamping process. This solution offers a mix of functionalities for the generation of fully parameterized tooling geometry. A bi-directional integration between a CAD-system and AutoForm software provides accelerated die face development.
Tooling Robustness – The AutoForm Robustness Solution allows companies to address stamping robustness issues during early phases of product and tooling design. Companies can develop the best product and the best tool designs for a robust stamping process. Improving the robustness of sheet metal products and processes is a key factor to success in the sheet metal industry. Today, almost every stamping company is faced with production problems. For example, after stamping thousands of parts that meet quality specifications, the reject rate suddenly rises after changing coils, it becomes impossible to meet part quality tolerances. Missed production targets due to the need to continually adjust the stamping process for slight changes in press parameters (such as lubricant or blank holder forces) or in product features (such as rounder edges) cause an unstable stamping process. These examples all point to the need for addressing tooling robustness.
AutoForm is certainly no stranger to Dassault and CATIA, as it has developed a couple metal forming software products specifically for CATIA. The AutoForm-OneStep for CATIA V5 toolkit was the first AutoForm software module that was fully integrated into the CATIA V5 environment. Embedded within CATIA, the OneStep Feasibility workbench provides functionality for assessing and counter measuring potential splits and thinning on a sheet metal product prior to its release. It also provides detailed strain and thickness evaluations through CATIA V5 GPS module. A second product, the AutoForm-CATIA5 module directly integrates AutoForm software and AutoForm parameters into CATIA V5, making two programs associatively linked. User control of AutoForm and the management of simulation files are partially transferred to CATIA. According to AutoForm, this integration not only improves the speed and efficiency of design and engineering cycles, but also improves the consistency of part data in CATIA and the consistency of process data in AutoForm.
A partner today, an acquisition target tomorrow? Dassault has gotten into a predictable pattern the past few years of first partnering with a company that fills a gap in its product lineup and then acquires that company to continue to makes its offerings more comprehensive. Will that happen with AutoForm? That remains to be seen, but it makes a lot of sense owing to Dassault’s presence in the automotive and aerospace markets.
The Week’s Top 5
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.
Bunkspeed Launches Automotive and Transportation Division
Bunkspeed announced that it has created an Automotive and Transportation Division to strengthen its customer support presence in worldwide markets. The new division will base its operations in Detroit, Michigan. Newly appointed industry veteran Michael Check will lead these efforts as President, Automotive and Transportation Division. Mr. Check will also focus on expanding sales of Bunkspeed's 3D rendering applications into localized markets. With a client portfolio that includes Ford Motor Company, Chrysler, BMW, Pininfarina, Nissan, Honda, and others, Bunkspeed's HyperDrive has opened up access to high quality CG imagery to the automotive industry. Users can apply a vast palette of colors and materials to 3D objects created in CAD programs. They also can experiment with different lighting effects, import multiple models for side-by-side comparisons, and create dynamic animations.
RuleStream Standards-Based Engineering for Custom Manufacturing
One of the driving pressures on businesses today is the need to deliver more “personalized” products to their customers. Customers are demanding that the products they purchase be tailored to their specific needs. The growth of Engineer-to-Order (ETO) products and manufacturing is a reflection of this trend, according to a report produced by PLM market research firm, CIMdata. Delivering individualized products in a cost-effective, timely manner requires that manufacturers be better able to leverage previous designs, capture more knowledge about their products and how they were designed and built, and be able to impart that knowledge effectively to all employees. Capturing product knowledge in a manner that enables sharing and reuse of that knowledge has proven to be very difficult. RuleStream’s SBE solution embodies a number of characteristics that distinguish it from earlier knowledge-based design approaches. These include having a database that contains the definitions of the rules and the how the rules are to be applied. RuleStream’s method of creating rules and capturing knowledge allows different groups within an organization to enter their rules within a common database. Product design parameters and calculations are stored in the RuleStream database to ensure that a proposed design meets customer-specific requirements as well as basic structural quality standards. RuleStream’s integrations to many 3D CAD systems drives product knowledge directly into the 3D CAD too and the dynamic, bi-directional integration keeps an accurate and dynamic 3D model constantly in front of engineers so they can quickly and easily visualize the feasibility of a new design before it is committed to production.
Companies In PLM Market's Fastest Growing Segment Select Siemens PLM Software's Velocity Series 'Repeatedly Over Competitors'
Siemens PLM Software's Velocity Series portfolio is a comprehensive, preconfigured portfolio of digital product design, analysis, manufacturing and data management software for the PLM mid-market, so claims the company. "In the past, we used to think of PLM as a tool for the engineering departments of the 'big boys,'" said Joe Barkai, practice director, Product Lifecycle Strategies Manufacturing Insights, an IDC Company. "But more and more smaller companies are using PLM not only because they are required to do so by their customers, but also because PLM tools are becoming more accessible, and easier to implement and use; all at a lower total cost of ownership. The growth of PLM investment in the SMB market has accelerated over the last several years and is now outpacing the overall PLM market." Siemens PLM Software announced several new customers for its Velocity Series portfolio, several of which selected the company's software over competitors, including The UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, IHC Merwede, Algar Plastics, Verhoeven Oss B.V., G & H Tool & Die Inc., Kunming Precision Mechanics Institute, and Burgmann Industries GmbH & Co.
Oldest Bike Manufacturer in the U.S. Goes Solar
The New York Industrial Retention Network (NYIRN) in partnership with Solar Energy Systems, LLC (SES) announced the installation of a 15.12 kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system at Worksman Cycles, the oldest bicycle manufacturer in the U.S. Worksman Cycles manufactures heavy-duty bicycles used by delivery services and factory workers as well as specialty cycles including adult tricycles and hot dog vending carts. SES designed and installed the solar electric system on the facility's rooftop. It will generate more than 600,000 kilowatt-hours over its expected 40-year lifetime. Combining this production with NYC electrical cost savings programs will reduce Worksman's monthly electric bill by over 20 percent. In addition to the roof-top solar panels, Worksman Cycles also replaced every light fixture in the 100,000-square foot facility with high-efficiency lighting.
Dell Goes Extreme with IT-Friendly Rugged Laptop
Dell unveiled its first fully ruggedized laptop, the Latitude XFR D630. The rugged laptop is available today in the U.S. and starts at $3,899. The Latitude XFR D630 meets MIL-STD 810F standards from the Department of Defense for products that operate in extreme temperatures, moisture and altitude, to name a few. The system shares common components with Dell's current line of Latitude laptops to simplify deployment and maintenance. The Latitude XFR D630 includes several features that keep users productive, including:
Five times more data durability of leading competitors with solid state drives
Latitude ExpressCharge charges batteries at least 30 minutes faster than competitors
Outdoor readable screen at 500 nits
Integrated resistive touch technology for interfacing with the system
Shock isolated mounting to help protect hard drive, LCD, and core electronic elements
Sealed keyboard designed to withstand driving rain and dust.
Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at Email Contact or 408.850.9230.
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