While welding process simulation has been available commercially for just a few years, the task of projecting and adjusting the anticipated results of welding projects is getting faster and more functional. Each update to welding simulation programs refines the sequences and eliminates excess process steps — and accelerates the time needed to complete the simulation.

With the introduction of Simufact.welding 4 last summer, designers and project planners have available an simpler, and shorter, calculation method, as well as an optional meshing tooling and other new functions that according to its developer improve the usability of Simufact.welding

Available now for about three years, Simufact.welding is a Finite-Element-based software with advanced solver technology for modeling elastic-plastic material behavior. Among its tasks, the software realistically predicts distortions and residual stresses that occur during welding, while considering phase transformations and controlling these in the component.

Also, Simufact.welding accounts for the materials’ microstructural properties in the heat-affected zone. The simulated form allows conclusions about the properties of the weld seam, in particular its strength, and users gain insights that help to identify welding defects such as hot cracks in the simulation to avoid them in practice.

In addition, the software helps the process planners to set clamping devices optimally for a specific welding process, and defines factors that will be used to determine the best welding sequence. Finally, Simufact.welding will predict the final contour of the component and helps to produce precision parts in volume.

In the new release, Simufact.welding has introduced a simplified way to shorten calculation time for long welds, reducing simulation time by 2-5X, the developers claimed. Whereas standard methods of simplification rely on estimates, the Thermal Cycle method is based on calculations by specifying the temperature cycle for the entire weld section. The advantage for the users is that they have the possibility of scaling the degree of simplification directly on the user interface and thereby adjusting the result accuracy to their needs.

Thermal Cycle supplements the Simufact.welding standard method of transient calculation, in which the energy per unit length is input, and which is characterized by exceptional calculation precision and correspondingly longer calculation times.

In practice this extra calculation method offers new possibilities for shortening the development time of welding processes: the user can run a larger number of possible process settings in the simplified Thermal Cycle mode, and then run a more detailed transient calculation of a narrowed assortment.

Thermal Cycle assists in reducing the number of plausible versions quicker and limits the areas of relevant process settings.

As an optional module add-on Simufact now offers Simufact.welding with an integrated meshing tool, which is based on the Altair Engineering simulation platform. The mesher is a streamlined, low-priced version of the well SimLab-Mesher customized for specific requirements of welding simulation.

SimLab automates the modeling of FE-meshes, reducing the time needed to interpret CAD models. So, Simufact opens up a new possibility to the user, with which the complex geometries of hexa-, penta, and tetrahedrons can be meshed on CAD basis.

In Simufact.welding 4 simulation videos can be generated, increment-based or in real time. The user can define by section, at which speed certain processes are shown in the video. For example, the simulation can show processes of long-duration, such as the component cooling in time lapse. In the result, the user can create a cinematic illustration of the welding process, in which all relevant details are shown in one video by varying the illustration speed and angle.

With a streamlined adjustment of database material data to the real material condition –which includes adjusting the flow stress and the values of hardness and tensile strength in dependency of 8/5-time – Simufact.welding 4 promises greater calculation precision.

The flow stress in particular is sensitive for the introduction of internal stresses and therefore also for distortion and springback effects.

The new version also allows a post-processing analysis with the help of user-defined coordinate systems. Newly available is the analysis parameter “area change”, an indicator for buckles. The user can also generate individual post-processing values by mathematical cross-linking of existing results, e.g. to define individual fail criteria.

Practical innovations have also been made in the data management: By rearranging the data management, larger models with up to one to two terabyte of data can now be visualized. For managing simulation results, Simufact has developed a tool for thinning out the result files, which makes the archiving more efficient.