Reducing Manual Labour from 3 Days to 2 Hours

Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), part of the Samsung Group, is a Korean shipbuilder working in a highly competitive marketplace. The welding of a vessel’s sections is a complex thermo-mechanical process that is difficult to simulate analytically due to the problem of material distortion and shrinkage during construction. Accounting for this distortion and shrinkage requires a highly time consuming and manual correction process by experienced technicians. SHI needed to quickly and accurately predict the behavior of the welded materials before assembly to speed up the entire vessel development process.

Over the years, researchers have developed some simplified analysis methods that can more quickly predict weld-induced shrinkage and distortion. Although this produces analysis results far faster than previous methods, the initial model setup is still a long process and prone to human error.

Altair ProductDesign’s engineers worked closely with SHI to automate the weld distortion analysis process, developing a semi-automated analysis setup system from within Altair’s own simulation suite, HyperWorks, that can generate and run models in a few hours. The system automatically creates the FEA model from the geometry and property information imported from the CAD model. This FEA model, in turn, is used to predict the weld shrinkage and distortion based on the type of weld joints, welding process and plate thickness of the weld region. This is all done with a user-friendly interface that ensures consistency and flexibility. The user can define the type of weld for each region (e.g. butt-weld, fillet weld, etc.), the weld process and sequence and the weld dimensions. The system then generates the models with all of the appropriate boundary conditions and input for an accurate, repeatable analysis.

Being able to virtually simulate the weld deformation analysis process has made a difference at SHI. Prior to installation, it was impossible to qualitatively predict the weld distortion of complex parts. In addition, what used to take 40 hours of manual labor for structural modeling has been reduced to two to three hours for the entire process. Engineers can now quickly analyze the effects of different weld processes, fixturing, sequencing and postweld rework operations on the final structure. This is resulting in fewer “surprises” that affect rework and other downstream processes and provides more efficient welding processes and better quality ships.

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