Computer simulation of form-roll design
Changes in modern structural design have created a demand for products which are light but possess high strength. The objective is a reduction in fuel consumption and weight of materials to satisfy both economic and environmental criteria. Cold roll forming has the potential to fulfil this requirement. The bending process is controlled by the shape of the profile machined on the periphery of the rolls. A CNC lathe can machine complicated profiles to a high standard of precision, but the expertise of a numerical control programmer is required. A computer program was developed during this project, using the expert system concept, to calculate tool paths and consequently to expedite the procurement of the machine control tapes whilst removing the need for a skilled programmer. Codifying the expertise of a human and the encapsulation of knowledge within a computer memory, destroys the dependency on highly trained people whose services can be costly, inconsistent and unreliable. A successful cold roll forming operation, where the product is geometrically correct and free from visual defects, is not easy to attain. The geometry of the sheet after travelling through the rolling mill depends on the residual strains generated by the elastic-plastic deformation. Accurate evaluation of the residual strains can provide the basis for predicting the geometry of the section. A study of geometric and material non-linearity, yield criteria, material hardening and stress-strain relationships was undertaken in this research project. The finite element method was chosen to provide a mathematical model of the bending process and, to ensure an efficient manipulation of the large stiffness matrices, the frontal solution was applied. A series of experimental investigations provided data to compare with corresponding values obtained from the theoretical modelling. A computer simulation, capable of predicting that a design will be satisfactory prior to the manufacture of the rolls, would allow effort to be concentrated into devising an optimum design where costs are minimised.