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IDEAL (Integrated Development Routes for Optimised Cast Aluminium Components)

Il principale obiettivo del progetto è l'efficace integrazione dei vari strumenti di simulazione CAE nella filiera progettuale, per estendere l'uso dell'alluminio come materiale strutturale e migliorare la resa e l'efficienza dei processi, comprendendo e risolvendo i problemi legati alla produzione con tecniche di fonderia. L'integrazione software 'orizzontale' porterà il progettista al miglior uso possibile dell'alluminio nei getti destinati al settore automobilistico, rendendo i componenti più leggeri e portando così ad una riduzione del carburante e delle emissioni di CO2. Questo approccio integrato sarà sperimentato su tre componenti 'tester':



  • ottimizzando il processo di colata;

  • prevedendo, attraverso modelli microstrutturali, le proprietà meccaniche nei getti;
  • trasferendo i risultati di processo e la simulazione delle proprietà in codici commerciali ad elementi finiti in commercio per un ulteriore calcolo;
  • dimostrando (e valutando l'effetto di) nuovi e convenzionali trattamenti post-colata che miglioreranno la performance dei getti.



I risultati del progetto saranno:

Migliore capacità di simulazione nell'industria: Questo è il risultato più importante del progetto. Gli end users (compagnie automobilistiche) saranno in grado di migliorare significativamente il grado di integrazione tra la parte metallurgica, di processo, di stress analisys e ottimizzazione, per mezzo di un efficace strumento software 'orizzontale' per la progettazione dei componenti della colata d'alluminio. I risultati sono anche un importante stimolo per la simulazione del crash

Un miglior software di simulazione: Il programma di simulazione è leader europeo nella simulazione del prodotto di colata. In seguito alle sue migliorate capacità esso manterrà la sua leadership e la sua competitività. E' possibile stimare attorno al 15% annuo il tasso di crescita delle vendite.

Un miglior database dei materiali: Lo sviluppo di procedure standardizzate per valutare i difetti del materiale realizzerà dei metodi di front-loading per i processi di colata. I nuovi materiali possono essere valutati dai partner automobilistici e dall'industria

  • Una metodologia nella progettazione che porta il processo di fusione e il potenziale dei materialipiù vicino al progettista, conducendo a un progetto più affidabile ed ottimizzato

Un’ integrazione software tra il codice per la simulazione di colata e i codici per l’analisi strutturale e di crash: una tale integrazione diverrà un potente strumento per la progettazione del componente. Prevedendo le caratteristiche meccaniche dell'alluminio sarà possibile favorire un migliore sfruttamento del materiale, che porterà ad incrementare la rigidezza e la resistenza alla fatica con una simultanea riduzione del peso (una migliore efficienza del combustibile, riduzione delle emissioni e contributo alla riduzione del CO2

Un pacchetto software per l'ottimizzazione dei parametri di colata: la taratura dei parametri del processo di colata sta influenzando in maniera notevole le caratteristiche meccaniche del componente, tanto più in quanto essi hanno una sostanziale ricaduta sui costi di produzione. Ottimizzare la colata in modo automatico e numerico significa ridurre al minimo (o persino di eliminare), il lungo e dispendioso procedimento per 'prove ed errori' per raggiungere la fattibilità del componente.

Elaborazione di un processo di Liquid HIPing, all'interno di una catena di progettazione integrata: gli enormi benefici dell'HIP sulla colata di alluminio sono risaputi, ma questo processo è ancora ben lungi dall'essere implementato su scala industriale. L'HIP liquido è il modo per estendere i vantaggi dell'HIP su larga scala, con il vantaggio aggiuntivo di migliorare grandemente la sicurezza del processo

Parternariato:

FIAT RESEARCH CENTRE (acronym: CRF) is an industrial organisation having the mission to promote, develop and transfer innovation for providing competitiveness to his partners: Fiat Sectors, external SMEs, National Research Agencies and the European Commission
CRF fulfils his task by focusing on the following key finalisations: development of innovative products, implementation of innovative processes (manufacturing & organisation), development of new methodologies and training of human resources.
The core competence of CRF is centred on land transport means: vehicles, propulsion systems, components, and associated manufacturing processes and methodologies for product development. In developing and applying its core competencies, remarkable emphasis is given to the transfer of advanced technologies from automotive applications to other industrial businesses. This allows CRF to actively support the technological growth of SMEs (non-automotive centred) in fields such as business process re-engineering, advanced product/process methodologies, micro-mechanics and optics, IT methodologies, telematics, and others.
The operational scheme is based on 830 employees. 750 among those are researchers, organised in the following major technical areas: Engines, Vehicles, Electronic Systems, Business Information Technologies, Advanced Product/Process Technologies and Product Design. Some of the leading facilities are: Electromagnetic Compatibility and Acoustic Chambers, NVH labs, Laser Centre, Optoelectronics and Microtechnologies Laboratories, Engine, Fluid dynamics and Rapid Prototyping and Reverse Engineering facilities.
To properly cover a very wide technological spectrum, CRF developed a global network with national and international institutes, private and public research organisations, universities and companies, through the promotion of common research activities, associations, conferences and seminars, researchers mobility, etc. CRF has been participating in relevant projects of the National Research Council (CNR), of the Research National Programme (PNR), in EUREKA Programme, and in over 100 projects within the European Union R&TD Programmes.

MAGMA Gießereitechnologie GmbH is a world-wide leading supplier of engineering solutions for the foundry process optimisation, specialised in the numerical simulation of various casting processes by means of CV-FDM methods using staggered grids. Magma's simulation software programme MAGMASOFT® is used by the majority of European and the Worlds foundry industry as a powerful tool for supporting of the casting design and the process layout. According to the numerous casting techniques, MAGMA Gießereitechnologie GmbH offers, as an extension to the standard MAGMASOFT® programme, special calculation modules for all common casting procedures, which are adjusted to the respective process peculiarities. A comprehensive involvement in service, experimental feedback and ongoing customer relations, as well as the skills of more than 20 foundry-engineers and metallurgists among the 80 staff members (world wide) have led to a comprehensive know-how in casting lay-out and design.
MAGMA has developed a lot of activities to support their customers, to optimise processes and to design new parts for a wide range of materials. For this engineering and service activities MAGMA has a team of foundry engineers and their know-how is also the basis for a dedicated and process driven software development. MAGMA is also involved in various different projects dealing with different materials, not only metals.

EnginSoft, is an Italian SME founded in 1984 - but rooting back to 1973 - which operates in the field of numerical simulation, covering most of the areas where such technologies can have practical application (including mechanics, fluid-dynamics, acoustics, metallurgy, foundry processes, porous media, environmental engineering and the like). The company offers services and competence which are strictly interconnected in a 'matrix', both with regard to the key technologies, and to the knowledge required to make the best use of them. The matrix of activities covers: 'vertical technologies' (i.e. software and methods in the above CAE fields), 'horizontal technologies' (i.e. tools and competencies which are required to connect the specific applications, such as IT applications, optimisation, CAD/CAE integration), multidisciplinary knowledge and expertise. The company is also a research centre for numerical methods in engineering acknowledged by the Italian Ministry of University and Research.
As to the present proposal, it has to be pointed out that among the 'horizontal technologies' EnginSoft was in charge of the exploitation of modeFRONTIER, an EC framework IV project dedicated to the development of a multi-objective collaborative design environment. The technologies developed so far in this area are quite suitable for the application to process optimisation. Moreover EnginSoft is in a condition to supply also the necessary engineering and metallurgy background for successful technology application. This means that the role of EnginSoft fits perfectly the requirements of the IDEAL project. Moreover most of people involved in this proposal have a quite well established relationships and good record of participation in common research projects, both funded by the EC and by other agencies.

The Dept. of Management and Engineering of Padova University (acronym: DTG) collects the expertise of several research groups: Industrial Automation, Management of Innovation and of Projects, Operations Management, Metallurgy, Energetics, Production Organization and Management. Being an industrial production oriented Institute, with a Metallurgy Section, DTG has a wide experience in metallurgical processes study, evaluation and simulation, as well as in correlating the results of simulations with the experimental data. European experience of the Department includes the partecipation to BRITE, TEMPUS, ERASMUS and LEONARDO EC Programs.
Inside the Metallurgy group, a strong effort is given Foundry technologies. In detail, with reference to Aluminium foundry, the research is focused on the microstructural (light microscopy, image analysis, scanning electron microscopy, microprobe, etc.) investigations on castings and on the set up of correlation's among processing parameters, microstructure and final properties. The level of this activity is documented by

  • National and International Research contracts,

  • various co-operation contracts with Aluminium Foundries,
  • the scientific responsibility of the Leonardo Education and Training Pilot Project COPROFOUND, on Numerical Simulation of Foundry processes,
  • the conveniorship of the Italian Standard Board for Aluminium Foundry (GL 10 of UNIMET),
  • several courses kept on behalf of the Italian Foundries Association (ASSOFOND) and of the Italian Association of Metallurgy (AIM),
  • the high number of scientific and technological papers published on an International level,
  • the really significant number of students graduating with a thesis on foundry technologies (about 10 each year).

Jonkoping University, School of Engineering, is a higher educational university with B.Sc, M Sc and Ph D studies in mechanical engineering. The main research area is within foundry-, castings- and materials technology. The research activities can be divided into, process technology, relation of process, material and microstructure of the casting and relationship between microstructure and mechanical properties. The research is based on numerical modelling and simulation of the foundry process and cast materials. The research profile examines the whole subject of development, manufacturing, usage and re-cycling of the component. A great part of the work is made within "virtual casting", casting simulation information technology. The modelling of microstructure in cast iron and its role in defect formation and mechanical properties. The micro modelling is extended to other materials.
The Foundry Centre is located in Jonkoping which includes Jonkoping University, Swedish Foundry Association and Scandinavian Foundry School. This is the national centre of shaped castings in Sweden and leading casting organisation in the Nordic countries.

Foundrysoft is a development company working with microstructure modelling for casting alloys. Foundrysoft has since several years a well established co-operation with MAGMA GmbH, and have the main responsibility for developing the add-on module MAGMAiron (before Foundrysoft AB was founded in 1997, the MAGMAsoft activities were performed in the company INGUS HB). In MAGMAiron, all relevant phase transformations in cast irons are described by nucleation and kinetic growth laws, thereby permitting to predict the final as cast microstructure, which thereafter is used for calculation of the mechanical properties. The continuous improvement of the models, and addition of new features in MAGMAiron is today being carried out by Foundrysoft AB together with MAGMA GmbH.
In addition to support, and the development activities of MAGMAiron, Foundrysoft AB also gives training and education in the optimal use of the software.

DANISH TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY (DTU) is the leading centre of engineering education and research in Denmark and the largest technical university in Northern Europe. The University's research and teaching is provided by 16 departments, a number of major independent centres established as joint ventures between DTU and companies and research institutes in the region. Like all modern universities, DTU also operates a number of transient and dynamic centres in which the driving force resides in collaboration across different fields of research and organisations.
The University embraces most of the engineering disciplines, and trains engineers to Bachelor, Masters and PhD level. In addition, the University offers a comprehensive continuing education programme, with a number of courses taught in English. The University has 6000 students preparing for Bachelor and Masters degrees, 600 PhD students and takes 400 foreign students a year on English-taught courses.
The 'Process Modelling Group' at the Department of Manufacturing Engineering and Management at DTU is the national centre of excellence for research and education in numerical modelling of solidification processes. Research within the group focuses on the development and implementation of numerical models for analysis and optimisation of casting and welding processes. The research is genuinely interdisciplinary involving applied mathematics, materials science and process technology. The group's research programme involves a range of strongly interacting themes including 'Thermo-mechanical Process Modelling Applying Finite Volume Methods', 'Modelling Thermal Distortions and Stresses in Welding' and 'Numerical Modelling of Rapid Solidification Processes'.
The research follows two pathways: the first is aimed at understanding and describing the local phenomena such as microstructural formation in casting, welds or spray formed materials. In the second, the complexity of the model is adjusted to a level appropriate for an application-oriented analysis where the demand for fine accuracy is exchanged for the ability to simulate large scale structures. The latter has been carried out in the field of casting simulation for process optimisation with considerable success and the group has been collaborating with MAGMA GmbH, Germany on the development of the CV-method for thermomechanical analyses for a decade. Furthermore, the group has been participating in relevant projects funded by e.g. the Danish Technical Research Council (STVF), Nordic Industrial Fund (NI) and projects within the European Union R&TD Programmes.

TEKSID S.P.A. (TEKSID), which includes Aluminium Foundry Division and Iron Foundry Division, was organised as a separate company in January 1978, when FIAT, which had metalworking operations since 1917, decided to merge them all.
Teksid is a world leader in the production of iron and aluminium castings for the automotive industry with operations spread-out in Europe, North and South America, Asia.
Its strategy is to ensure a fruitful partnership with its customers in terms on codesign and simultaneous engineering and also to investigate new materials to obtain lighter and more reliable components.
Iron Foundry Division is a world leading manufacturer of grey and nodular iron castings, whose quality is continuously tuned with the ever more exacting demands of the automotive industry.
They extensive product range embraces many essential castings:

  • Grey iron: cylinder blocks, cylinder heads, camshafts, bake disks, and drums and parts of for refrigeration industry;
  • Nodular iron: crankshafts, con-rods, camshafts, steering knukles, suspension arms, end brake parts.

The main plants in Italy are located in Carmagnola, Crescentino, and Rovigo.
Aluminium Foundry Division is a world leading manufacturer of aluminium castings for the automotive industry (like FIAT group, other European, North American and Asian leading car manufacturers)
The principal castings of Aluminium Foundry Division are:

  • In permanent moulds: cylinder heads, cylinder blocks, intake manifolds;
  • In pressure die-castings: Cylinder blocks, differential and transmission housings, gearboxes;
  • In lost-foam: intake manifolds, camshaft carrier housings, cylinder heads, cylinder blocks;
  • In low pressure suspension arms, structural components, bed plate.

The main plants in Italy are located in Carmagnola and Borgaretto.

DaimlerChrysler AG (DC) is a stock corporation organised under the laws of the Federal Republic of Germany (Commercial Register in Stuttgart, Abt. B No. 19360). It effected the business combination of Chrysler Corporation and Daimler-Benz in 1998. It is the successor corporation to Daimler-Benz Aktiengesellschaft and now comprises the respective businesses, stockholder groups, management and other constituencies of Chrysler and Daimler-Benz.
DaimlerChrysler provides a wide range of transportation products and financial and other services. It is the third largest automobile manufacturer in the world in terms of revenues (1998: Euro 132 billion). In 1998, the Group operated in seven business segments:
Passenger Cars Mercedes-Benz, smart. DaimlerChrysler is world renowned for its high quality Mercedes-Benz passenger cars which reflect a long tradition of exceptional engineering, performance, service and safety. The smart, a new micro compact passenger car that defines a new market segment, is specifically designed for urban mobility. The Passenger Cars Mercedes-Benz, smart segment contributed approximately 23% of the Group's revenues in 1998.
Passenger Cars and Trucks Chrysler, Plymouth, Jeeps, Dodge. This segment consists of the automotive operations of DaimlerChrysler Corporation, formerly Chrysler Corporation. DaimlerChrysler Corporation manufactures, assembles and sells cars and trucks under the brand names Chrysler, Plymouth, Jeep and Dodge. In 1998, approximately 43% of the Group's revenues were contributed by this segment.
Commercial Vehicles Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, Sterling, Setra. DaimlerChrysler manufactures and sells commercial vehicles under the brand names Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, Sterling and Setra. It is the world's leading manufacturer of trucks over 6 metric tons (t) GVW and of buses over 8t GVW. With world-wide facilities, the Group has the world's most developed network for the production and assembly of commercial vehicles and core components. It also has a world-wide distribution and service network. This segment contributed approximately 17% of the Group's revenues in 1998.
Chrysler Financial Services. Chrysler Financial Services includes the operations of Chrysler Financial Company L.L.C., its consolidated subsidiaries, and managed operations in Mexico. Chrysler Financial Services principally engages in providing consumer and dealer automotive financing for the products of DaimlerChrysler Corporation, including retail and lease financing for vehicles, dealer inventory and other financing needs. It also provides dealer property and casualty insurance and dealer facility development and management, primarily for Chrysler, Plymouth, Jeep and Dodge dealers and their customers. Chrysler Financial Services contributed approximately 2% of the Group's revenues in 1998.
Aerospace. Principal Aerospace activities include the development, production and sale of commercial aircraft and helicopters, defence and civil systems, aero engines, military aircraft, satellites, and space infrastructure. DaimlerChrysler Aerospace is the German partner (with a 37.9% share) in the European Airbus consortium Airbus Industrie G.I.E. Aerospace contributed approximately 7% of the Group's revenues in 1998.
Other. This segment includes the operating businesses Rail Systems, Automotive Electronics and MTU/ Diesel Engines. It contributed approximately 2% of the Group's revenues in 1998.
As of December 31, 1998, the DaimlerChrysler Group had approximately 441,500 employees, approximately 53% of whom were employed in Germany and 27% in the United States. As of December 31, 1998, DaimlerChrysler AG had more than 1.4 million stockholders.

Ford Forschungszentrum Aachen GmbH (short: Ford) was founded in 1994 as the European research centre of the Ford Motor Company in order to support all European brands including Jaguar, Volvo, Aston Martin, Pivco and Ford and to co-ordinate all research activities for the European market. Researchers at the Ford Forschungszentrum Aachen keep a keen eye on the future needs of our customers and have a heightened appreciation for societal concerns. Innovative solutions and a deeper understanding of the environmental impact of our products enable research, together with product development and manufacturing engineers, to incorporate new technology and processes to satisfy both customer desires and societal demands.
Located in the heart of Europe, the Ford Forschungszentrum Aachen is involved in collaborative research with more than 40 universities in 12 European countries. This is also a part of the philosophy called "leveraged research". Through these interactions Ford Forschungszentrum Aachen is able to access to very specific expertise and laboratory facilities.
In addition to working on collaborative projects with Ford locations world wide, the Ford Forschungszentrum Aachen staff work with external European partners via organisations such as the German Automobile Association (VDA), and EUCAR, the European Automotive Industry's pre competitive research organisation.
The Ford Forschungszentrum Aachen currently has approximately 130 regular employees. The European staff represents 14 different nationalities. Of the technical staff, 70% have PhDs and the others have Diplomas or Masters degrees. The Advanced Materials Technology Group major emphasis is placed on light weight component concepts, related high performance material developments and enabling manufacturing technologies.

AUDI AG (AUDI) is a German car manufacturer with major production sites in Germany, Hungary, China, Brazil and CKD plants in many other countries. As an affiliated partner of the Volkswagen group Audi is dedicated to the development and production of premium cars which follow the company's slogan "Vorsprung durch Technik". In 2000 AUDI delivered approximately 650,000 cars to customers yielding a total turnover of almost 20 billion Euro. Currently more than 49000 employees work for the company world-wide.
CAE simulation tools are generally used to shorten the design process. Due to the high claim they are particularly used for crash and occupant safety analysis. AUDI has more than 10 years experience in the simulation of structural crashworthiness. As a leader in automotive Aluminium technology the R&D department is deeply involved in designing future generations of low weight vehicles for a significant reduction of fuel consumption and CO2 output.
AUDI is an end-user of the simulation software and will directly benefit through the planned development of this project. Improved reliability in failure prediction is a critical issue today. The main activities that involve AUDI in the project are; Horizontal integration of process simulation into design chain (WP 1), validation and assessment of material properties (WP 3), and final validations using a die casted aluminium structural part (WP 7). A simulation specialist from the CAE (Simulation) department with almost 10 years experience will be assigned to the project.

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