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A Deep Drawing Process by Inverse Finite Element Analysis

Thaweepat Buranathiti1,*
Division of Materials Technology, School of Energy and Materials,
King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), Bangkok, Thailand
Corresponding Author:

Deep drawing process is a means to manufacture a complicated part from sheet
metals. To design a deep drawing process, one has to consider many major factors,
namely tooling configurations, blank configurations, material properties, and forming
conditions. Blank configuration is the focus of this paper. One may simply use simple
geometries (rectangular or circles) or approximate the blank configuration from a simple
observation of the desired part based on experience. Besides experience-based blank
design, this paper presents a systematical means, called Inverse analysis (IA), in
determining an optimal blank configuration for a deep drawing process. Due to the
complexity of mechanics of deep drawing processes, inverse finite element analysis is
needed by having IA incorporate into a finite element scheme. In this paper, IA is
explored by using a commercial finite element software package. A number of numerical
studies on the effect of blank configurations to the part quality in a deep drawing process
were conducted and compared. The quality of the drawing processes from IA and others
is numerically tested by using an explicit incremental nonlinear finite element code. The
initial blank configuration has shown that it plays an important role in the quality of the
product. However, it is observed that if the blank configuration is not greatly deviated
from the one from IA, the blank still can result a good product. IA has clearly presented
its important role in the systematical design process for deep drawing processes.

KEY WORDS: Inverse Analysis, deep drawing process, inverse finite element analysis, blank size

In engineering design processes, trial-and-error method is a traditional means to explore and
optimize process conditions in virtually every manufacturing process. However, the current
competition forces the design processes to be highly efficient. Therefore, systematical design and
process simulations have presented themselves as a vital part in today competitive systems. This paper
focuses on a deep drawing process, which is a means in manufacturing of complicated parts from
sheet metal used in many industries such as automobile, aerospace, appliance and so on. Deep drawing
processes typically involve many complicated physics and boundary conditions. A powerful and
widely accepted means for the sheet metal forming process analysis is finite element method or FEM
(Chenot and Bay, 1998; Belytschko et al., 2000). For example, U-channel forming (Taylor et al.,
1995), wrinkling and tearing prediction (Cao and Boyce, 1997), corner failure (Yao and Cao, 2000),
and many more. It is noted that analytical models such as (Wang et al., 1993; Kinsey and Cao, 2000),
element free method (Li and Belytschko, 2001) and other techniques are also available for sheet metal
forming simulations. For deep drawing processes, the simulation is often computationally expensive
and in the design context is also known as ‘forward analysis’ (Cao et al., 2000). It is typically known
that one has to determine the best manufacturing condition that usually requires optimization by
repetitive process design for both/either deterministic (Koc et al., 2000; Moshfegh et al., 2000) and/or
probabilistic (Chen et al., 2004; Sahai et al., 2004). In optimization of deep drawing processes, the
forward analysis leads to an even more expensive design process, which typically requires a large
number of forward analyzes to search an optimal value. An alternative design approach for deep
drawing processes is inverse analysis (IA).
In deep drawing processes, it is well known that design of tooling geometry and conditions
plays an important role to the quality and success of the production. It is interesting that the

Buranathiti: ASIMMOD2007, Chiang Mai, Thailand

configuration of the undeformed blank is often overlooked by many engineers. This paper conducts a
comparative study on how the configuration of the blank affects the quality of a deep drawing process.
A part configuration is illustrated as a numerical example. The product quality from different setups is
consistently evaluated by using an explicit incremental nonlinear finite element method (LS-DYNA).
A systematical design approach known as inverse analysis (MSTEP in Dynaform5.2) is presented and
conducted to estimate an optimal blank configuration corresponding to the desired part configuration.
The analysis results are then analyzed and discussed.

Inverse analysis
In a deep drawing process, Inverse approach (IA) is a systematical means to offer to estimate
important parameters of the forming process. IA is a method that starts from a given desired
configuration x of a part and works back to obtain the initial configuration X. In most sheet metal
forming processes, a flat blank is X. The problem formulation of IA is set that x, material properties
and forming conditions are given but the X of the part and resulting stress-strain states of the deformed
part are to be determined.
The inverse finite element approach for sheet metal forming has been developed by many
researchers presenting in literature: ideal forming theory (Chung and Richmond, 1992a,b), conceptual
theory on inverse problems (Chenot et al., 1996), sequential design with ideal forming theory [Chung
et al., 1997], initial guess of linear deformation [Lee and Huh, 1998], deformation path iteration
method (Park et al. 1999), multi-step with sliding constraint surface (Lee and Cao, 2001), pseudo-
inverse approach (Guo et al., 2004), an objective function based on forming limit diagram (FLD)
(Naceur et al., 2004), a node relocation technique (Lan et al., 2005). For most cases in deep drawing
processes, IA is basically a result of the principle of minimization of potential energy. The principle of
minimization of potential energy is stated as follows: For conservative systems, of all the
kinematically admissible displacement fields, those corresponding to equilibrium extremize the total
potential energy. If the extremum condition is a minimum, the equilibrium state is stable.
The plastic potential energy Ψ is expressed as the difference between the internal plastic work
(Wp) and the external work (We) as follows

Ψ = W p − We __________________________ [1]

The external force (We) is induced by the friction force and the binder force, and the external
force calculated at the final configuration. The minimum of Ψ corresponds to the solution of the
stationary value of the first derivation to the design variables U as follows;

R (U) = =0 __________________________ [2]
∂U .

This system equation is solved by using the Newton-Raphson scheme as follows;

(n )
⎡ ∂R (U) ⎤
⎢⎣ ∂U ⎥⎦ {ΔU} = −{R (U)}(n ) __________________________ [3]

U (n +1) = U (n ) + α ⋅ ΔU , __________________________ [4]

where α is a correction factor for numerical stability purpose.

Buranathiti: ASIMMOD2007, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Numerical examples
This paper focuses on an example of deep drawing processes to illustrate the influence of blank
configurations to the part quality. A triangular cup desired from the deep drawing process in this paper
is presented in Figure 1. The rough dimension of the part is 40 mm depth and 100 mm for each side of
the triangular bottom. The fillet is set as 20 mm in radius. The blank is CQ mild steel with the material
properties as follows: density ρ of 7850 kg/m3, Young’s modulus E of 207.0 GPa, Poisson’s ratio ν of
0.28, strength coefficient K of 479.3 MPa, exponent hardening n of 0.226, and the Lankford parameter
R00 of 1.45, R45 of 1.10 and R90 of 1.73. The initial blank thickness t is 1.0 mm.

Figure 1: A illustration of the triangular cup as the product in this study.

From the given dimension, the tooling dimension is extracted as shown in Figure 2 and used for
every case throughout this paper. The tooling consists of a die, a binder and a punch. No drawbead is
used. The conditions of the deep drawing process are given as follows: friction coefficient μ of 0.125,
and blank holder (binder) force of 20 kN.

Binder Punch


Figure 2: An illustration of the tooling (die, binder and punch) in this study.
The forming process is analyzed by using an IA to determine an optimal blank configuration
and an explicit incremental nonlinear FEM to analyze the product. Belytschko-Tsay shell element with
5 integration points through the sheet thickness is adopted in this study. The material model of Barlat
and Lian (1989) with anisotropic materials under plane stress conditions is adopted. The exponent m in
Barlat’s yield surface is set as 6.0. An adaptive meshing technique with the maximum of 4 refinement
levels is implemented in the FEA model.

Buranathiti: ASIMMOD2007, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Analysis results
A number of blanks in regular geometries (rectangle and circle) shown in Figure 3 are used in
the FEA model. The responses of interest from the deep drawing process for the comparison purpose
are wrinkle and crack tendency indicated by using strain-based FLD. The ideal shape of the formed
part previously presented in Figure 1 is used in IA to estimate an optimal blank configuration. By
using the same set of process data, the blank configuration obtained from IA is shown in Figure 3 in
comparison with other cases.

Figure 3: Initial blank configurations used in this study: (i) blank from IA, (ii) a circle, (iii) a
rectangle, (iv) a smaller circle, and (v) a smaller rectangle.

For the purpose of this comparative study, the quality of the products from all cases is shown in
strain-based FLD in Figures 4-8. Figure 4 presents a case of the blank configuration obtained by using
IA. It is observed that there is no significant deformation causing cracks. However, a number of
locations (bottom and side walls) indicate insufficient stretch leading to strength problem of the part.
The part also has tendency of wrinkling around the die corner, which is not desirable, but it is not

Figure 4: The elemental strain plot on a strain-based FLD for the blank obtained by using IA.

Figure 5 presents a case of the circular blank. It is observed that there are excessive stress and
strain causing cracks, which is critical to the part quality. However, it has no area with insufficient
stretching since excessive stretching is presented.

Buranathiti: ASIMMOD2007, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Figure 6 presents a case of the rectangular blank. It is observed that there are excessive stress
and strain causing cracks. Also, there is no area with insufficient stretching.
Figure 7 presents a case of the smaller circular blank compared to Figure 5. It is observed that
no significant deformation causing cracks. The bottom of the part also does not indicate insufficient
stretch. Only small area of side wall indicates insufficient stretch. The part also has tendency of
wrinkling around the die corner like before.

Figure 5: The elemental strain plot on a strain-based FLD for the circular blank.

Figure 6: The elemental strain plot on a strain-based FLD for the rectangular blank.

Figure 7: The elemental strain plot on a strain-based FLD for the smaller circular blank.

Buranathiti: ASIMMOD2007, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Figure 8 presents a case of the smaller rectangular blank compared to Figure 6. It is observed
that there is no significant deformation causing cracks and there are insufficient stretch problems. The
part also has tendency of wrinkling around the die corner.

Figure 8: The elemental strain plot on a strain-based FLD for the smaller rectangular blank.

Discussions and concluding remarks

The illustrative examples in this paper have shown that the difference of blank configurations
significantly affects the quality of the part produced by a deep drawing process. A systematical means
for designing an optimal blank configuration in a deep drawing process is inverse analysis (IA). IA
only needs the desired final configuration x* and limited data of forming conditions in the model to
obtain an approximation of the initial configuration X and an approximated stress-strain state at the
final configuration. However, a blank configuration other than the one obtained from IA can still
provide a good quality of the part if the blank configuration does not greatly deviate from it. Based on
FLD, it appears that the smaller circular blank in Figure 7 results a better part than the one from IA
due to insufficient stretching at the bottom. It is also an industrial practice that initial blank
configurations should be smooth and have little trimming cost. It seems arguable that a further
advancement of inverse methods seems to have small effect to the quality in the forming process
design but, on the other hand, it definitely helps design processes that directly need the accurate
prediction of stress and strain during the optimization search. It is noted that the algorithm of IA in
general does not take insufficient stretching problems into account as the objective of the IA model is
to minimize the potential energy. Based on FLD plot of the blank configuration from IA shows some
area at the bottom is not stretched enough.
It should be noted that the nature of the inverse problem is ill-posed. A simple analogy is that
the combination of 1 and 4 is 5. Inversely, the inverse problem is to determine what is the combination
of x and y to be 5 [x +y = 5 ⇒ x=?, y=?]. It can be observed that this problem has multiple solutions
like virtually all optimization problems have. Therefore, the way to formulate the model including
constraints and initial guess values are very important to achieve the optimal solution. As seen in
literature, some advances in IA came from the search constraints.
It is worth noting that the final manufacturing conditions from IA should be eventually verified
by an incremental nonlinear finite element method before a physical tryout can be taken. In addition,
the computational cost of IA is typically a small fraction of that of an incremental nonlinear FEA.
However, the prediction accuracy of stress and strain from IA is still less than that of incremental
FEA. The inverse analysis (IA) clearly offers itself as an important part of the design methodology for
deep drawing processes.

Buranathiti: ASIMMOD2007, Chiang Mai, Thailand

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The authors would like to express their gratitude to KMUTT for providing partial financial
support and Engineering Technology Associates (ETA) for providing the commercial software