Simulation, solidThinking

What You Can Do With Altair Inspire Form

By Emmy Wolfe on December 5, 2018

If your CAD designs are going to be stamped in the long run, you need Altair Inspire Form. Discover how your physical designs can deal with force before production, and avoid a broken or wrongly dented physical prototype.

Altair Inspire Form 

Altair Inspire Form, formerly known as Click2Form, is a complete stamping simulation environment. It allows users to better design products while reducing lead time by enabling early considerations of formability, process parameters, material utilization and cost. Thanks to the fast and easy feasibility module, companies can analyze parts in mere seconds to predict formability early in the product development cycle. 

The software predicts accurate blank shapes that can be optimally nested in progressive and transfer die layouts within manufacturing constrains. 

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Import Geometry and Define Blank 

Import Geometry and Define Blank in Altair Inspire FormWhen using Altair Inspire Form, only surface geometry is needed to assess forming feasibility. The software has great flexibility when it comes to importing die designs from 3D CAD software by allowing native Catia, US, Pro-E, ACIS, SOLIDWORKS or a mutual format like IGS and Step to be used. Once your file is open, Altair Inspire Form uses smart algorithms to automatically check for any geometry errors and prompt you to autocorrect them. After that, the tryout model setup will start with the definition of a blank. The Blank-Tool allows you to select parts in your model, designate them as a blank sheet metal and define the thickness and material. The Altair Inspire Form material library is extensive and covers US, European and Japanese standards, plus, you can create your own materials if you provide the elastic-plastic properties and forming limit curves. The stress string curve can be provided as a power law or an experimental data point.

Quick Setup - Single Stage

Quick Setup- Single Stage in Altair Inspire FormAfter the blank definition is complete, you can move forward and operations can be added to deform the sheet to the desired shape. Altair Inspire Form can automatically configure and create tools from CAD surfaces in the model, and it all starts with you enabling these automatic options in Preferences. After clicking on the Add Operations icon, you will see a pallet with several standard forming processes to choose from. In this instance, you'll want to select the Single Action Draw Operation. Once it has been added to the model, parts of the model will configure to the toolset. If additional forming tools are required they will be automatically created. You can tell which direction the Tool Press Motion is moving in thanks to the arrow. The Tool Action, in the Single Action Draw Operation, previews the tool's motion, from the open position to the closed position and automatically calculates it. To edit the force applied by tools to hold the blank during the operation, simply double-click to open a microdialog and define the force values or spacer gaps. This completes the model setup for the single action draw operation and you're ready to run the analysis. 

Manual Setup and Adding Tools 

Manual Setup and Adding ToolsYou can also accomplish the model setup for a customized Single Action Draw Operation as well. Rather than turning on the automatic configuration, go into the Preference settings and turn them off. You will still want to go into Add Operations and select the Single Action Draw Operation, and the direction of the Tool Press Motion is still shown with an arrow. But now, the selected Single Action Draw Operation has three tools that need to be defined in order to complete the operation. The tools can be configured from the parts in the model or created efficiently through off-setting, duplication or partitioning selected CAD surfaces in a session with a single click. Additional tool attributes, such as force applied and displacement, are defined using the microdialog upon creation. Altair Inspire Form allows you to add as many tools as necessary from the tool pallet to the standard operation and modify many features to allow you to customize it to your specific needs. This includes the ability to quickly modify the top dye with pad to hold sheet while forming and to add Drawbeads to the bottom binder to restrain material flow during forming. The Tool Action, in the Single Action Draw Operation, previews the tool's motion, from the open position to the closed position and automatically calculates it. This completes the model setup for the single action draw operation and you're ready to run the analysis. 

Multistage Setup

Multistage Setup in Altair Inspire FormAltair Inspire Form provides you with the ability to quickly chain several single stage forming operations that deform the same blank into a multistage forming operation and simulate everything at once as it would happen in a serial production stamping process. To begin, you first need to define the blank. The Blank Tool in the ribbon allows you to select the parts of the model and designate them as a blank sheet metal and then define the thickness and material. Click on Add Operations, but this time, the operations are chained in the order that you add them to the model. For every operation you add to the model, the software will automatically configure and create tools from CAD parts and surfaces in the model, with just one click. The starting blank is repeated in all operations, indicating that the common thread gets transferred from one stage to another during the simulation. You also have the ability to import tools and manually configure them for every operation you run as well. Altair Inspire Form allows you to focus on each operation individually, allowing a truly customized experience.

Run Analysis and Post-Processing 

Run Analysis and Post-Processing in Altair Inspire FormOnce your single or multistage operation model setup is complete, you are ready to start the tryout by clicking on the Run button. You can see the progress of the analysis in the Run Status dialog box. In the multistage run, operations are completed in the sequence defined during the setup. Once the run is finished, your Progress Bar will display a green flag. If you click on this flag you will be able to load the results of your test. The Analysis Explorer lists the results of all the defined operations and allows you to switch between them seamlessly. Percentage thinning, formability based on forming limit diagram, plastic strain, major strain and minor strain are available on the top, middle and bottom surface of a blank to contour and check the forming feasibility of the design. The tool force required for performing is plotted in an additional window. The results can also be animated to see how the blank can be incrementally deformed by tool motion to the desired shape. Callouts can be added to locally query the results at locations of interest for an in-depth understanding of the behavior of the blank during deformation between different tools. Using the Legend Context Menu or Preference options legend colors can also be adjusted for more discreet color variation.

Want to see all of this in action? Check out our video playlist to get a walk-through of all the steps above.