Hadley Industries manufactures cold roll formed products, primarily to the building and construction industries. The company developed and patented a unique cold forming process known as UltraSTEEL which significantly improves mechanical and structural properties of the strip steel by imparting a dimpling pattern prior to the roll forming operation. The geometry is much too complex to determine the structural properties of the end product based on analytical calculations alone, and it could cost $30,000 to $150,000 for tooling to manufacture the part so its properties could be physically measured.
Hadley has worked for a number of years in developing the capability to simulate the dimpling process as well as the subsequent cold rolling forming and secondary operations with the goal of developing the capability to predict the performance of the finished product. The company tried one popular finite element analysis software package only to discover that the result did not correlate well with physical testing. So Hadley assessed three leading developers of nonlinear finite element analysis software by using them to simulate a complex nonlinear problem involving compression of a thin-walled column. “Marc demonstrated its capabilities to solve applications involving highly nonlinear changes in geometry by providing by far the most accurate results on this difficult problem,” said Bac Nguyen, Research and Development Engineer for Hadley.
When evaluating any new cold roll forming application, the potential customer needs to accurately investigate the performance of the finished product by estimating section properties such as stiffness and load-carrying capacity in order to make a buying decision. Standard cold roll formed products have a uniform cross sectional geometry, so theoretical calculations can be relatively easily performed to determine their section properties. The geometry formed by UltraSTEEL process is much more complicated and the material properties vary over the geometry, so theoretical calculations cannot be used to accurately analyze its performance. “In the past, the only way to fully understand the behavior of a section produced by UltraSTEEL process was to invest in a complete set of tooling, produce prototypes and perform physical testing,” said Dr. Martin English, Design and Development Manager at Hadley.
“The reliable and consistent results provided by Marc make it possible to accurately assess the applicability of UltraSTEEL for existing and new products in a short time frame at a low cost,” English concluded. “The accurate simulations have enabled Hadley to make and substantiate technical claims regarding the benefits of the process. As a result the company has increased its sales of UltraSTEEL products and also generated additional revenue by increasing licensing of the process amounting to an estimated 4$ million over the next three years.”