The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Engineering Mechanics Corporation of Columbus (Emc2) and its partners $1 million to develop a cloud-based tool that will simulate welding processes employed in the manufacture of metallic products.
Small and mid-sized manufacturing firms need improved weld-fabrication processes to ensure improved quality at lower costs to remain globally competitive,” said Frederick “Bud” Brust, Ph.D., senior research leader at Emc2. “A sophisticated high performance computing based tool will be accessible to SMM firms on a supercomputer center to easily permit use of these tools at affordable prices.”
Emc2 seeks to adapt a welding design software package known as Virtual Fabrication Technology, or VFT, to a more accessible “app” format through the Ohio Supercomputer Center’s (OSC) AweSim program. VFT is a mathematics-based computational tool developed in conjunction with Caterpillar in the late 1990s, with improvements since then to permit small- and medium-sized manufacturers (SMM) to take advantage of the benefits of high performance computing. VFT allows designers to “predict weld-induced distortion and residual-stress states so that weld-design strategies can be implemented to significantly reduce or eliminate these undesirable states prior to fabrication.”
For this project, Emc2 has partnered with members of the AweSim program, a $6.4 million initiative led by the Ohio Supercomputing Center. The program kicked off last summer when the Ohio Third Frontier Commission awarded the public/private partnership a $3 million Innovation Platform Program grant to design and deploy easy-to-use advanced “manufacturing apps.” Client partners are funding the balance of the three-year project.