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Objectives and research methods of the ACODEPT project

The overall aim of the ACODEPT project is enabling companies to produce faster and more efficiently by implementing electromagnetic forming, welding, and cutting processes. As a prerequisite for this, the companies shall be provided with design strategies for durable, robust and flexible tool coils for specific applications.

To reach this goal the following technical targets are aimed at in this project:

  • Reviewing the current state of the art and gathering the information related to coil design,
  • Developing finite-element models, which will increase the knowledge about the process and which will serve as a tool in the coil design process,
  • Developing methodologies for designing coils for forming and cutting of sheets and forming and welding of tubular workpieces,
  • Providing guidelines for manufacturing, material selection, insulation strategy and other construction-related aspects,
  • Manufacturing and testing of coil prototypes, for the development of industrial applications, and
  • Providing the manufacturing industry with all essential information to make a considered decision about the successful integration of the EMPT-process in their production.

In order to achieve these objectives the following research methods will be used:

  • theoretical studies,
  • conceptual design of flat and cylindrical coils,
  • finite-element modelling,
  • prototyping of new coils and experimental testing, and
  • manufacturing of demonstration workpieces with the developed coils, representative for real industrial applications.

Theoretical studies

All relevant data concerning design of coils and field concentrators for use in electromagnetic forming technologies will be gathered. For the high-current and strong-magnetic field components, the design parameters, the limiting factors and the failure modes will be identified for flat and cylindrical coils. Design measures will be investigated, which lead for example to better efficiency, more uniform or stronger magnetic field, prolonged coil lifetime, lower coil cost, etc. Different coil designs will be investigated. The US patent 6,128,935 gives a first impression of the variety of possible coil winding geometries for sheet metal forming according to.


Figure 1: Selected winding geometries applicable in electromagnetic sheet metal forming processes.


Conceptual design of flat and cylindrical coils

As a first step, a coil design based on analytical calculations will be developed.

This will include calculations of:

  • magnetic forces acting on the coil, also in combination with a field concentrator,
  • thermal stresses and deformations,
  • the desired shape of the coil.

The coil design will be further optimised using (simplified) FE-simulations for the

  • determination of the coil inductance (with and without workpiece) and the magnetic field distribution in the coil,
  • calculation of the forces acting on the coil turns for the prediction of the stability and durability,
  • calculation of the electrical fields for the evaluation of weak points in the insulation and for the development of insulation strategies.


Finite-element modelling

Finite-element models for a detailed analysis of the process will be developed. These models will describe the electromagnetic, thermal and mechanical phenomena interacting in EMF, and will assist in determining the optimal equipment design and operating parameters.


Figure 2: Interactions of different physical fields during EMF. (© Fraunhofer IWU)


Figure 3: Exemplary model of a tube joining process. (© Fraunhofer IWU)

These models will provide additional insight in the process, by calculating variables that are difficult or impossible to determine experimentally. They will also significantly reduce the amount of experimental work required.

In the according Finite-Element-Simulations the input data generated in experimental investigations with the pulsed power equipment of IWU and BWI will be used.

Prototyping of new coils and experimental testing

Based on the results of the results of the analytical and numerical studies and considering the insight gained in the literature review, dedicated coils or field concentrators will be designed and built. These coil systems will be tested systematically to verify the durability and life time. They will also be used to optimise the magnetic field conditions in order to manufacture the proposed demonstration workpieces. For this purpose, coil systems for each process variant will be built.

Manufacturing of demonstration workpieces with the developed coils

The experimental work will be performed with the electromagnetic pulse equipments of BWI and IWU. BWI possesses a 25 kV / 50 kJ pulse generator, capable of deforming large cylindrical parts, up to an outer diameter of 80 mm (depending on the material).

IWU has a 25 kV / 103 kJ pulse generator at its disposal, suitable for forming and cutting flat sheets up to a wall thickness of 5 mm (also material dependent).


Figure 4: Pulsed power equipment available at IWU. (© Fraunhofer IWU)

The experimental research performed at BWI will focus on electromagnetic deformation of tubular products. BWI will investigate the influencing factors of the tube forming and welding process (e.g. materials, electrical parameters, geometries, …). The emphasis of the experimental tests at IWU will be put on sheet metal forming and cutting.

The combination of the two equipments allows addressing a wide field of applications, to exchange knowledge and to verify the results of the numerical models on different types of equipments (robustness of the model).


Expected results

For the participating companies as well as for the involved research institutes, it is of capital importance to get familiar with coil design for electromagnetic forming technologies, on the one hand by experimental research and on the other hand by modelling of the process.

The scientific-technological added value expected from this project comprises

  • Creation of a finite element model for process and coil design
  • Identification of relevant parameters and their influence on forming results, coil efficiency and life time.
  • Determination of suitable materials to be used in coil systems. Also coated materials will be considered in order to combine the properties of different materials (strength and conductivity).
  • Methodology for designing flat coils for sheet forming and cutting, and cylindrical coils for tube forming and joining.
  • Guidelines for the design and manufacturing of these coils.
  • Prototypes of coil systems: the above mentioned items create the basis for the assessment of the quality, stability and durability by experimental testing with coils for typical industrial operations.
  • Publications in which the available knowledge and experience will be described.
  • Lectures on national and international conferences.
  • Encouragement of the use of EMPT in the Flemish and German SMEs and in other companies, through:
    - the preparation of the proposed demonstration workpieces, which are representative for potential industrial applications,
    - guidelines for the integration of the EMPT technology into production.
  • Implementation of the new processes in the Flemish and German industry in order to achieve technical and economical benefits.