Deep drawing is one of the most widely used processes in sheet metal forming. Apart from its use in many other sectors, it is applied in the automotive industry for the manufacturing of car body parts.
The deep drawing process is a forming process which occurs under a combination of tensile and compressive conditions. A flat sheet metal blank is formed into a hollow body open on one side or a hollow body is formed into a hollow body with a smaller cross-section.
Deep drawing processes are divided into three types:
Deep drawing with tools
Deep drawing with active means
Deep drawing with active energy
In the automotive industry, deep drawing is usually carried out using rigid tools.
The figure illustrates the deep drawing process. The rigid tools consist of a punch, die and binder. In deep drawing, the plate holder closes after the metal sheet blank has been inserted.
Next the sheet is clamped between the die and the binder. This process slows down the flow of the sheet while it is being drawn and thereby prevents wrinkles from forming under the binder. The punch stretches the sheet over the die radius and forms it in the die. The amount of punch force necessary for forming is thereby continually increased up to the lower dead center of the punch.
Whereas in pure deep drawing there is no reduction of sheet metal thickness, forming is achieved in stretch forming purely as a result of a decrease in sheet metal thickness. Stretch forming is extensively used for the forming of only slightly curved parts with low depth of draw (e.g. roofs, doors).
When drawing complex car body parts in practice, there is usually a combination of stretch and deep drawing involved. It is necessary that the sheet metal is stretched as well as possible without reaching the material’s limits (e.g. splits, wrinkles).
There are approximately 300 to 400 sheet metal parts which fit together to form the body of a car. In order to manufacture high quality sheet metal parts optimally for their particular use, specialized software simulates the complete deep drawing process.