Approach to assess a fast welding simulation in an industrial environment — Application for an automotive welded part
Fusion welding processes are widely used for joining metal structures, such as pipes, ships, and cars. In general, these joining processes offer a very good compromise between reliability, safety, cost and maintenance which are important issues in the current economical context. The negative heat effects of welding, i.e. distortions and residual stresses of the welded parts, are well known and many researches in this field have already been done in the last decades in order to minimize them. On the experimental side, many sophisticated procedures have become state of the art to deal with this problem. On the computational side, the improvement of the simulation algorithms and the computing power enables the simulations of many physical phenomena occurring during the welding process. The implementation of welding simulation techniques is nevertheless not an easy task and often associated with expert knowledge which hinders their global application in an industrial environment. This paper is focused on the industrial requirements of a welding simulation software with special respect to the needs of the automotive industry. The necessary information to run a welding simulation and the expectations of a weld specialist without deep knowledge in numerical methods are investigated. These expectations are tested on an automotive welded assembly with a commercially available welding simulation software designed especially for the needs of the automotive industry. A welding experiment is done and the measured temperature distributions and distortions serve as reference to validate the simulation results. The result quality of the simulations of temperature fields and distortions is in best agreement with experimental data. The workflow is well adapted for the considered industrial requirements and the time-tosolution as well as the computational costs are acceptable, whereas the efficient calibration of the heat input model is still a point which will be further investigated in current and future research works.